Live by the Sword

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Amazee Dayzee
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Re: Live by the Sword

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

Hope that Suicune knows the way his actions are coming off and that they will eventually turn the media against him. Especially if the mother WASN'T abusive as its only a rumor. :|
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Re: Live by the Sword

Post by Obbl »

Turon sounds delicious :D
And yeah, really love how grey Suicune is
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Re: Live by the Sword

Post by NHWestoN »

Poor, dear Sasha.
... and Happy Year of the Tiger, by the way.
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Re: Live by the Sword

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

One of these days I will do research on why the Lunar New Year is a month after the Western New Year. It could be interesting.
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Re: Live by the Sword

Post by Krytus The Dreamer »

D-Rock wrote: Tue Feb 01, 2022 1:26 pm Also, turon sounds really good! I’ve been curious about fried fruits for a while, with bananas being the most commonly heard, just never had a chance to try them.

Definitely need to get the new Pokémon game, too.
Obbl wrote: Wed Feb 02, 2022 1:12 am Turon sounds delicious :D
And yeah, really love how grey Suicune is
Turon's great, especially since there are a ton of variations that can be made with the recipe.
Amazee Dayzee wrote: Tue Feb 01, 2022 1:42 pm Hope that Suicune knows the way his actions are coming off and that they will eventually turn the media against him. Especially if the mother WASN'T abusive as its only a rumor. :|

who knows, well I mean I do but I'm not gonna tell you yet. :twisted:
NHWestoN wrote: Wed Feb 02, 2022 9:26 am Poor, dear Sasha.
... and Happy Year of the Tiger, by the way.
Yeah, the poor dog's been through a lot in the canon comics. Not like I'm helping though but still.
Thanks! I'm planning to make the most of it.


I was originally gonna make this one an extended chapter to close the episode but decided against it cause it would mess with the flow and be really long cause I wanted to add an extra bit for the ending. ooooohhhhh foreshadowing ooooohhhhhh

Episode 02: Echoes
Chapter 07

Fox panted hard.
It had been so long since Fox had to push himself to the utmost of his limits. The last time he could remember doing so was during his retraining course, and that was after a long endurance run. Due to his physiology, Fox was naturally inclined towards endurance at a steady pace, but an all-out burst right from start to finish was something Fox couldn't keep up with. However, thanks to his training in the academy, he could only barely keep up.

Suicune was a monster in his own right. Not only was the dog keeping up the intense speed, but he was also vaulting over fences, cars, and sometimes even running from rooftop to rooftop. Fox had to seriously consider what this dog had to do to get so monstrously fast.

As they ran, Fox noticed that Suicune was directing both of them deeper into Babylon Gardens. Of course, Fox knew Babylon Gardens like the back of his hand, and there were no roads anywhere near where they were. The only significant landmark was the flatlands usually reserved for fairs and the like. But, even then, it was too early for anything to be out in what was practically the wilderness. Although any doubt Fox had disappeared instantly when his vision adjusted to the darkness to reveal a truck haphazardly parked sideways in the transition zone of the forest.

Now that the two were at the site, Fox almost immediately fell to his knees, gasping for air. However, Fox knew his priorities and tried to make his break short despite his run being a personal best. He wasn't about to be outdone by Suicune, especially when the dog was already sniffing about the truck like he hadn't just sprinted across most of Babylon Gardens.

"Come on. Come on." Fox muttered to himself as he dialed up a conference call, "pick up."

It took a bit but eventually, the first line connected "Fox?" It was Mungo

"Thank goodness." Fox breathed a sigh of relief. "I've got a read on the truck."

"What where are you?" Mungo's voice suddenly shifted into a panic as his feed was mixed with the sound of him running down the stairs

"Officer Lindberg, we are in a state of emergency. This had better be important." The second line connected with Sergeant Ralph.

With his conference call fully set up, Fox surveyed the scene. "Okay, Sir, I followed Suicune to the truck."

"Are you out of your mind Officer Lindberg!?" Ralph suddenly blurted out, "I thought I told you no risks!"

"This was the only way, Sir. The kidnapper didn't leave Babylon Gardens; his vehicle is at the fair site."

"W̴̪͍͋̎h̷͎̹͌͋a̸̛̖͋t̶̘͑̅?̴̨͙̃̕" came Mungo's voice garbled and difficult to understand. “F̴̞̏̀o̸̪̐͆ͅx̸̩̅ ̴̛͚I̴̞̍̿ ̸͔̝̓̀c̵̰̿̕ä̶͈̱́͆ņ̸͕͆'̴̪̣̀̍ṫ̶̩ ̶̟̎͘ǔ̷͇͙n̸͙͍̚d̷̳̣̓e̶͚̤͆r̴͔̊͝s̴͔͈̑̒t̷̻̜͗a̶͔̒n̵͖̣̈́d̸̖̈͌ ̴̡̦́̊ŷ̸̫͎ò̴͍̇ų̵̘̃.”

“1̷̡͕̕0̵̮͐.̷̮́.̶̺̀.̵͚͝.̶̗͑͑.̸̻͒͜.̴̬͖͗9̵̘̈̃”

Fox's eyes widened when he realized something was wrong with the signal "I'M AT THE BABYLON GARDENS FAIRGROUNDS! I REPEAT~!

Too late. The conference call ended, and the phone revealed it had zero bars. Now left with no means of communication, Fox could only ponder his options. Aside from his collar and bandana, Fox was literally naked. Protocol dictated that his gear remained in his locker when he wasn’t on the clock. That meant no vest, no radio, no gloves, and cuffs.

Fox couldn’t even survey the scene because the academy had drilled it into him to preserve the crime scene. Nor could he run back to Babylon to get help since it would take too long. So strategically, Fox’s only advantage was that he was a dog with police academy training.

Fox needed a game plan; he couldn’t just run away and ignore Sasha. However, as the husky wracked his brain for options, Fox noticed the lack of Suicune’s presence. Granted, the dog had never spoken before, but Fox couldn’t hear the ambient noise of him walking around or taking a sniff.

Switching on the flashlight function of his phone, Fox tried to search for the vigilante. Unfortunately, His search only led Fox to a trail of footprints leading into the forest. Fox decided it was best to press on with a deep sigh and no other choice.

Using his phone to lead the way, Fox carefully made his way through the woods. Despite his love of reading, Fox was no stranger to the outdoors. He grew up around the woods; heck, he had gone camping with his dad numerous times. Yet, despite all that, Fox could tell something was different.

It was too quiet. Where was the rustle of the leaves in the wind? Where were the occasional forest critters? Even his footsteps on the soil seemed more subdued than usual. It was also too dark. The moon should be illuminating patches of light through some of the canopies, yet somehow the shadows were more pronounced, and the light from his phone didn’t reach as far.

Save them.

Fox’s ears perked up at the sound.

You’re the only one who can.

“Hello?” Fox called out in a hush to not alert the kidnapper, “Who’s there?”

One more has come to seek your guidance.

Fox’s eyes widened before he felt rope wrap around his torso and arms. In an attempt to fight back, Fox tried to swing his leg around to kick whoever was behind him. Unfortunately, that only ended with his foot getting caught in a rope followed by his other foot. Left with no way to balance himself, Fox quickly toppled over when given the slightest push.

The fall had given Fox a slight daze, but it was over in a second when he felt himself get dragged through the soil. Not a moment later, Fox felt like he had been hit with his own flashlight. Suddenly the forest had gotten brighter, and the ambient sounds had returned.

When his eyes finally readjusted to the light, Fox found himself in a clearing of the forest littered with white flowers. The autumn crescent moon hung above their heads, providing ample light that seemed to be missing before. However, what stood out the most was Sasha sitting among the flowers tied up in the same manner as him.

“Foxie!-bon!” she yelled, concern written on her face.

“See,” a new feminine voice spoke out, “I told you I’d let you see your friends.”

When Fox craned his head to catch a glimpse of the kidnapper, Fox found a woman wearing a post officer uniform on the younger side. She had blond hair tied up into a ponytail that reached down to the middle of her back. The most striking detail about her had to be her green eyes.

“I didn’t mean it like this! Please just let us go!” Sasha argued back

The lady lumped Fox in with Sasha as she petted Sasha’s head. “Aw, you poor creatures, I can’t let you go back to that hellscape.” she then pulled her hand away when Sasha tried to bite her.

"Lady," Fox began but winced when his restraints tightened without her even moving.

"Call me Kara!" she smiled cheerfully "we're gonna be here for a while, so it's best to get to know one another."

Fox suppressed the urge to growl at her "Kara. With all due respect, I love my life. I love my dad, I love my friends, and I love my family. So why would you take that away from me?"

"Yeah!" Sasha cried, "I finally got away from da~ Travis. The wolves treat me nice; they don't lock me out; they feed me and let me sleep on the bed."

“You fools!” she cried all of a sudden “Your home amongst those wolves is nothing but a lie. All pets are in danger because of those stupid ferrets!”

She reached into her messenger bag and tossed out various clippings of the Milton Ferrets, all with multiple forms of vandalism etched onto their likeness. However, the articles were untouched as most of them depicted the members of the wolf house in their everyday lives. Miles teaching, the Darryls working in the food industry, even some of Miles’ cubs going to school.

“Equal Chance!? Give me a break.” She laughed as she kicked the papers around, “Why would you ever want to stoop to our level!? This society uses you up for everything you have and then spits on you as if you didn’t even contribute anything. I can’t just standby while you blindly walk towards slavery!”

she then leaned in closer to the duo, once again showcasing her freakish green eyes. “They’ll take advantage of you, just like they did to me. But I can help!”

Kara then held out her hands which contained two seeds. They spouted and bloomed into red and blue flowers a mere second later. “I have friends, and they want to help me save you. They gave me a gift, the power to save you. Save all of you from those undeserving. Isn’t that great?”

As Kara leaned over to place the two flowers on both dogs’ heads, she paused when she looked at Fox. The husky could feel his fur stand on end the longer Kara stared at him and only got worse when Kara began to lean closer.

“I know you.” she giggled.

“Uh…” Fox shivered “you… do?”

“You’re one of the K-9 officers, aren’t you?” She leaned in closer

“I’m flatt~” Fox’s ropes squeezed harder, making him cough up any air in his lungs.

“I can’t let you stay in my paradise.” her hand balled up into a fist-shaking with the pressure she was putting on it. “There are plenty of dogs to choose from you're too dangerous to keep here.”

“FOXIE!” Sasha cried, helpless to do anything. “You’re hurting him!”

He’s one of them.

He’s too far gone.

Get rid of him.


His lungs burned with the need for air, but he couldn’t get a breath in. With his hands and legs bound up, Fox could only watch as his vision darkened, with the last thing in his sight being Kara slowly crushing the life out of him.

Then it happened. From behind, Kara Suicune held his bat at the ready and jabbed at Kara with lightning speed. Each impact of his jabs created ripples as if he had been taping still waters. But, as impressive as it was, a wall of vines sprouted from the ground to shield Kara from the blow nullifying the attack.

What followed next was a masterful display of quick thinking as Suicune then shifted his stance and twisted his body in an instant. A stream of water followed the curve of Suicune’s bat as he swung around Kara’s wall of vines and struck her square in the stomach, launching her a reasonable distance into a thicket of trees.

When Kara got blown away, Fox felt the ropes around his body and legs drop lifelessly to the ground—allowing him the breath he needed to stay alive.

“Foxie,” Sasha came running to check on him, “are you alright?”

“I’m fine.” Fox coughed out as he brushed aside the ropes, which he now noticed were vines as well. “But we’ve got to get out of here. Now!”

Fox wasted no time and latched onto Sasha’s wrist and pulled her in a direction any direction. It didn’t matter. Babylon Gardens would have to wait; Fox was aiming for safety from Kara.

As the trio approached the treeline back into the forest, the tree branches reached down and began to block their path. Fox was about to halt, but Suicune rushed ahead and leaped into the air. Using his momentum, Suicune held his bat out while performing a front flip creating the image of a wheel made out of water. The impact of the blow was enough to splinter the branches blocking their way.

“What’s happening!?” Sasha cried, shielding her eyes from the branch debris

“I’m not sure but we’ve got to keep running!” Fox said as he ducked underneath a branch from a nearby tree.

Not too long ago, Fox had entered a spooky albeit tranquil forest. It wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, but now it felt as if the entire forest had come to life, each tree lowering its branches down, clearly trying to stop them from leaving. Suicune was doing his best, but there were just so many trees that the dog was forced to zip around non-stop to protect them.

Fox’s original plan was to put as much distance between them and Kara as possible, but the number of trees coming to her aid was ridiculous. Some were too close together to run through, and some were even interweaving their branches to form a wall they couldn’t pass through. Eventually, Fox conceded his plan and devised another solution to their predicament while maintaining their pace.

Fox wracked his brain for something, anything, but there were too many trees around to focus on coming up with something properly. Then Fox noticed something in the distance. It was the mountainous area of Babylon Gardens’ forest. Fox knew from experience that there were very few trees and would be the safest option.

“Over there!” Fox yelled as they ducked underneath yet another branch

Suicune looked to where Fox was pointing and gave a firm nod. Then, Suicune ran ahead with his target clear, breaking off branches he could preemptively to make Fox and Sasha’s run safer. Luckily the trio managed to make their way up, avoiding any more nicks and bruises from animated tree branches.

“Foxie,” Sasha panted, “what are we gonna do up here?”

“I don’t know. I just needed somewhere to think.” Fox put his hands to his chin

Fox had dealt with the supernatural before. Memories of the time he went to Australia and the time he went with Mungo to the temple came to mind. But even with these experiences in his belt, Fox knew very little when it came to subduing supernatural forces. Which only left one option. Fox reluctantly turned to Suicune, surveying the forest below them for Kara’s return.

“Hey. You.” Fox grabbed Suicune’s shoulder. “If we’re going to make our way out of this mess, we need to work together. Do you know how to stop her?”

Suicune took his bat and drew on the gravel between them. Eventually, Fox could make out a crudely drawn stick figure before Suicune drew a line across her throat.

“What is your deal!? We are not killing anybody!” Fox yelled as he used his foot to erase the drawing

“Foxie’s right.” Sasha whimpered “she may have kidnapped us, and she may have almost killed Foxie, but I don’t want to kill anybody.”

Suicune rolled his eyes and then proceeded to redraw the stick figure. This time rather than drawing a line across her neck Suicune then drew a sun above her head.

“Are you sure?” Fox looked to the silent canine. “Isn’t her whole schtick plants? Won’t that just make her stronger?”

Suicune looked Fox in the eyes serious as ever and nodded.

Fox began scratching his head out of frustration. “Okay, but it’s like… uh…

“Ten-thirty P.M.,” Sasha stated bluntly.

“Te~” Fox paused, wondering how Sasha knew but shook it off instantly, “ten-thirty P.M. We can’t survive for eight hours with that lady chasing us, especially now with all these trees surrounding us. It’s not like we can just shoot her with magic sunlight beams.”

Then Fox paused again. “We need to find Mungo.” The husky frantically pulled out his phone, which still had zero bars.

Sasha rolled her eyes as she watched Fox try to climb slightly higher to improve his signal. “Foxie, why Mungo specifically? He’s strong and all, but why not the whole K-9 unit armed with gallons of weed killer?”

“Sasha, I don’t have time to explain!” Fox cried, trying to get as high as he could for even a single bar of signal. “If we don’t want anyone else to get hurt tonight, he’s the best option!”

The trio then pressed onward higher onto the mountain since there was very little they could do outside of waiting for Kara to track them down. Fox had his eyes glued to his screen the whole time with his thumb hovering over the call button. The moment he got even a single bar, Fox was ready to press the call button.

As they climbed, the trio could relax somewhat. Due to the area’s gravel-rich soil, they didn’t have to worry about any stray plants attacking them out of the blue. But unfortunately, Fox still couldn’t get anything out of his phone even though they were getting pretty high up.

Eventually, near the peak, Fox finally managed to score a single bar “YES!” Fox cheered, immediately pressing the call function.

Unfortunately, the ground beneath the three dogs shook violently, causing Fox to lose his grip on his phone. In an attempt to catch it, Fox dove headfirst for it, not noticing the cliff-face before him. Luckily Sasha and Suicune were fast enough to catch him and strong enough to pull Fox up from his shoulders.

“Thanks,” Fox breathed shakily, almost catching a glimpse of his life flashing before him.

“Little one,” Kara’s voice didn’t sound too far off, “where are you? If you hand over that stupid dog with the bat and the K-9 officer, we can still welcome you into paradise.”

Before Fox could stop him, Suicune ran towards the voice bat squeezed tightly in hand. He couldn’t risk calling out to him, nor could he even catch up to the dog. So Fox had no choice but to let him go.

Sasha looked to Fox in a panic “What do we do now, Foxie?”

Fox looked frantically around for another option, but the only path down sounded like it led directly to Kara. There had to be something else, something to buy more time. Luckily as Fox strained his eyes, he noticed a cave entrance hidden amongst some rock formations.

“There.” Fox pulled Sasha towards the cave entrance “if we hide, she might not notice us, thanks to Suicune.”

Once inside, the first thing to note was how surprisingly spacious it was. There was a good amount of room hanging over their heads, and the cave had a strange pit a few feet from the entrance. Fox took Sasha and held her close as they huddled together near the entrance. Both dogs instinctively knew to keep their voices down, and because they were silent, they could hear the battle raging outside the cave as if they were right next to it.

Fox could hear the roaring sound of water echoing off the cave’s walls, the grunting of Kara as she blocked blows, the sound of vines whipping against something. It was horrific not knowing who was winning or losing, and all Fox could do was hope that Suicune could win out in the end.

Eventually, the cave went dead silent. Fox and Sasha held their breath, there was no way to tell who had won the battle outside, and neither of the two dogs dared to check. From what he could hear, footsteps were approaching their position, but Fox had a hard time determining who’s it belonged to due to the gravel masking if it was a dog’s pads or a human’s shoes.

To Fox’s horror, there was a clang of two pieces of metal hitting hard stone. A second later, Fox’s readjusted to the cave’s lighting, but what he saw terrified Fox down to his core. It was Suicune’s bat snapped in half. Fox’s blood froze. Suicune had lost.

“A valiant effort, little one.” Kara laughed, no longer cheery and in a deeper tone. “You would’ve made a fine protector for my paradise, but I’m afraid you’re far more trouble than you’re worth.”

A sharp whine echoed through the cave, along with the sound of a sickening crunch. Suicune came rolling across the stone floor not a moment later, clutching his sides. Fox instantly knew she had cracked his ribs; the sound was unmistakable.

Fox was frozen to his spot. He knew this was a terrible move on his part, but his body refused to budge. Sasha was the same. The situation had reduced her from her cheery and upbeat self to a shivering mess.

“There you are.” Kara’s voice echoed through the cave

Sasha and Fox stumbled back from the entrance as Kara casually walked in, donning new attire. Gone was her post officer uniform replaced with a dress of bark and flowers. A giant flower clung to her back as vines wrapped around her limbs to form gloves and boots. Her eyes were now utterly green while her hair was untied and wild.

In a futile attempt to defend himself, Fox picked the half of Suicune’s bat that had the handle and held up the jagged end as he imposed himself between Kara and Sasha.

“Stay back!” Fox warned

Kara’s eyes narrowed at Fox’s display. “I don’t see why you won’t let me help you. I only want what’s best for you pets. The human world is cruel and unforgiving, and it is no place for you creatures. You deserve better. Choosing to go home to your friends or family is a poor decision.”

“Maybe,” Sasha’s voice shook but still had the backing of her confidence, “But that’s our choice to make.”

Kara froze at Sasha’s words, then raised her hand. “I see how it is. I’ll find another pet, one who’ll appreciate my paradise.”

Before Kara could bring down her hand, there was another metallic clang. Compared to Suicune’s metal bat, this one was lighter and had a nicer ring every time it hit the floor. Then, between Kara’s legs, a small metallic object slid to a halt, and it looked to be three pet tags stuck together. The one in the middle Fox recognized to belong to Askal. It then started to blink.

It was slow a first, but it rapidly picked up speed, causing Kara to jump back before a large eight-pointed sun drew itself on the ground to encapsulate Fox, Sasha, and Suicune. Kara lashed out with her vines in a desperate attempt to finish the job. However, the sun drawing finished and projected a dome of pure light in the nick of time, causing the vines that made contact with the dome to burn up suddenly. In fact, the flower on Kara’s back hid in her shadow while also pulling back any of its vines.

Still reeling from the sudden exposure to light, Kara failed to notice Mungo as he swooped in through the cave entrance decked out in golden armor made out of light and pinned her to the magical dome. Fox had never been so happy to see that dog, and now that he was here, there was hope that they’d all return home.

“Mungo~” Fox cried out of pure joy.

Mungo was about to speak but was cut off by an intense whine. All dogs present craned their necks to see Suicune doubling over in pain. Rather than both hands clutching onto his sides, Suicune had both his hands on his head. What was visible of Suicune's face only portrayed pure agony.

End of Chapter 07

Btw If anybody wants the glitch text generator I used this one.
Alt Text: In hindsight should've known pitting a water type against a grass type was gonna end badly

Obligatory Trivia Section

Eight pointed sun - The sun's eight rays on the flag represent the first eight states that defied Spanish control.
Last edited by Krytus The Dreamer on Fri Feb 04, 2022 5:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Live by the Sword

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

I really did enjoy reading that chapter! It was very full of action!
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Re: Live by the Sword

Post by NHWestoN »

Bet Mungo cuts a dashing figure in Centurion war gear.
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Re: Live by the Sword

Post by Krytus The Dreamer »

NHWestoN wrote: Fri Feb 04, 2022 7:36 pm Bet Mungo cuts a dashing figure in Centurion war gear.
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Re: Live by the Sword

Post by D-Rock »

:lol:

Anyway, great chapter! Quite the dangerous foe they just went against. We’re one step closer to learning the truth about Suicune, it seems.
Faith doesn't change circumstances. Faith changes me.
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Re: Live by the Sword

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

Looking forward to more! Please post soon!
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Re: Live by the Sword

Post by NHWestoN »

Krytus The Dreamer wrote: Sat Feb 05, 2022 12:29 am
NHWestoN wrote: Fri Feb 04, 2022 7:36 pm Bet Mungo cuts a dashing figure in Centurion war gear.
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Nicely done!
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Re: Live by the Sword

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

Grape secretly lusting after Mungo because she has a crush on him confirmed. This is sure to **** off the Mape, Grapenut, Fungo and the Tarot/Peanut/Grape/Maxwell menage a quatre fans. :lol:
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Re: Live by the Sword

Post by Krytus The Dreamer »

NHWestoN wrote: Sat Feb 05, 2022 1:46 pm Nicely done!
Thanks! it was the first thing that popped into my head when I saw your post.
Amazee Dayzee wrote: Sun Feb 06, 2022 12:01 am Grape secretly lusting after Mungo because she has a crush on him confirmed. This is sure to **** off the Mape, Grapenut, Fungo and the Tarot/Peanut/Grape/Maxwell menage a quatre fans. :lol:
You're right WHAT HAVE I DONE!?
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D-Rock wrote: Sat Feb 05, 2022 3:36 am :lol:

Anyway, great chapter! Quite the dangerous foe they just went against. We’re one step closer to learning the truth about Suicune, it seems.
Thanks!

Hey, I know this is a little bit early but like I said most of this was cut off from the previous chapter so I just needed to add in a few bits, but I will say I'm going to take my time with setting up episode 3. It's mostly cause I don't have a solid timeline of events I want to happen. I know what events are important but I'm still trying to get them in a satisfying order for maximum effect.

Episode 02: Echoes
Chapter 08

Fox was at a loss.
During every encounter Fox had with Suicune, the dog had always kept his composure. It didn't matter if he was taking down a criminal or protecting the weak Suicune never flinched or backed down. So it was an odd sight to see Suicune struggle and squirm on the ground with his hands gripping his head tightly.

Unfortunately, with everyone's attention focused squarely on Suicune, Kara took that as her chance to drop a few seed pods. In a matter of seconds, a large tree had sprouted, separating Mungo and Kara for them to do battle once more. Since the light dome appeared, Kara had to be careful not to turn her back towards it. Though that was a problem, she quickly overcame it by tossing out more seeds that grew into large trees to create shades for her to dance in and out of.

Clapping his hands together, a large two-handed ax appeared in Mungo's grip as he flew from tree to tree, trying to chop down as much of Kara's shelter as he could to limit her mobility. Fox could do was to watch as his partner swung and swung only to miss Kara or just chop down another tree entirely. Many of which were easy enough to grow back to replenish her shade.

Fox grit his teeth. He had to do something. That woman was dangerous, especially now that the plant on her back was taking charge. Even with Mungo's abilities, Fox worried about the safety of his partner. It's not that he didn't believe in his partner, Fox just saw what Kara was capable of, and it scared him. Mungo was able to pin Kara by surprise, but now that she was well aware of Mungo's presence, she could duck and weave through his slow but heavy attacks.

Fox made up his mind and gripped Suicune's snapped bat and marched towards the edge of the circle. "Foxie, don't!" Sasha cried as she attempted to calm down a shaking Suicune

"I'm sorry, Sasha," Fox sighed as he turned his back on her. "That's my partner out there. I can't let him face Kara alone."

"But you'll get hurt." she grabbed onto Fox's hand.

"I don't care." Fox argued back, "Mungo's strong, but even he can't last forever. I've got to at least try."

'Listen to her, Fox.' Mungo's voice echoed nearby

"Mungo?" Fox's ears perked, he was sure it came from nearby, but Mungo was on the opposite end of the cave.

'It's short-ranged telepathy. Tarot whipped it up before I left with Zeke and Rowan.'

Fox then scanned the cave, trying to pinpoint where the two dogs were. "Where are they then?"

'I had to rush ahead; they'll be here in a few minutes. What's important is that you stay there. Zeke and Rowan gave me their tags along with Askal's saying it should protect you long enough for backup to arrive. Argh.'

Suddenly Mungo was knocked back by a flurry of vines and crashed into the cave wall. As he rubbed his head to reorient himself, Mungo quickly ducked out of the way of an entire tree plowing through the cave wall and letting in a bit of moonlight.

Fox knew it was a bluff. Despite how strong Mungo was, he couldn't do a thing if his opponent was faster than him. Fox could also see it; Kara was slowly gaining a home-field advantage. Mungo couldn't keep up with the number of trees Kara was throwing around, thus giving her ample places to ambush him from as well as helpers on her side. The large dog even tried switching his ax for dual swords to keep up, but that just left Kara's trees unchecked.

Fox wracked his brain for something he could do. Something reasonable. Something that wouldn't make him more of a burden than just being a spectator.

Then Fox felt something tug at the bat in his hands. To his surprise Suicune, while at a turtle's pace, was on his feet trying to reclaim his weapon. Even though his face clearly showed how much pain he was in, the dog was still willing to fight.

"Are you insane?" Fox chastised, "if I heard right, you've got a cracked rib or ribs. Any unnecessary movements and you could be coughing up blood, pal. So, for once, sit on the sidelines and let the police do their job."

Suicune then pointed to the battle. It was taking all Mungo had to keep Kara at bay, but the multitude of sprouting trees made things difficult for him. The situation was dire, and Fox knew Mungo's constructs had a limit to how much punishment they could take. If the battle dragged on long enough, Kara might get the time she needs to chip away at Mungo’s armor and score a fatal hit.

Fox gritted his teeth at the image of Mungo getting hurt. He didn't know if he could bear witnessing something so horrible. So reluctantly, Fox eased his grip on the bat handle. Suicune gave a court nod and marched towards the edge of the protective circle.

"Are you sure he'll be alright?" Sasha asked helplessly, watching the dog leave.

"What other choice do I have?" Fox sighed equally helpless

As Suicune readied himself, Fox noticed the dog holding the bat by his hip. Fox found this odd because there were more optimal ways to carry around a bat into battle, so why would Suicune adopt a particular stance such as that?

Then It was as if a lightbulb had sparked in Fox's head as he grabbed Suicune by the wrist. 'Mungo!' Fox reached out with his mind. 'I need a sword.'

'We've been over this, Fox. You're not joining in.'

‘Not for me. For Suicune.’

'What? Why?'

'Just trust me!'

It was subtle, but Mungo slowly shifted the battle closer to where Fox and Suicune were standing. Then when the timing was right, Mungo flung one of his dual swords in Fox's direction, making Kara think it was an attempt to hit her. However, due to the angle, it was launched from, the sword flew a short distance before it pinned itself to the ground.

"Go on." Fox nudged Suicune "it's better than your broken bat anyhow."

There was hesitation in Suicune's eyes as he reached for the light sword, and for a moment, Fox could've sworn he saw Suicune's red eyes flicker as if losing their color. It was like the dog was too afraid to even touch the handle. Finally, Suicune found the resolve to grip the hilt only when Mungo crashed through a nearby tree.

The moment his hand was firmly around the sword, Mungo's familiar golden glow started to fade away. Fox was about to panic but then saw a bright blue take its place as the sword reshaped itself. Mungo had tossed Fox a double-sided longsword, but the sword got thinner with a scabbard forming around the blade in Suicune's hands. The crossguard shrunk, and the handle got longer to make more space for two hands. When the sword had finished changing, Fox recognized the new style of the blade. It was a katana made of sky blue light, and it felt like it radiated the warmth of a sunny day.

Suicune then arched his form, making sure one hand was on the scabbard, and the other was on his hilt, before giving a startling burst of speed. Despite the cracked rib, Suicune was fast enough to catch Kara and Mungo by surprise by showing up and drawing his sword. Water gushed from the hilt as he made two quick blows mimicking the flow of waves crashing on the beach.

Kara began to screech as vines fell off her body. But, unfortunately, since they weren't the main bulb, she could regrow it in seconds. Both Suicune and Mungo saw their opportunity to press their advantage and chased after Kara when she tried to distance the two dogs.

The trees Mungo had failed to cut down bent down to block the path to her. But that didn't stop Suicune and Mungo as both dogs cut through the thicket with their blades and started closing the distance again. Since Suicune was faster, he led the charge with water flowing from his blade. Each time he swung, Suicune made a full rotation of his upper and lower torso using the momentum to add power to each swing. The strikes eventually became so powerful Fox could see the water coalesce into the form of a dragon's head guiding Suicune's slashes.

When Kara saw she was running out of the room, she tossed a handful of seeds onto the ground to create a wall of trees to guard her. With the trees sticking side by side with each other, Fox didn't know if Suicune's sword would be able to cut through it all. He was pretty sure it would jam on the third tree and leave the dog open to a fatal blow since he wasn't armored like Mungo was.

Up to this point, Suicune's attacks always had water coming from the blade as he projected water formations for his attacks. However, he didn't know what purpose it served since it never soaked anything. Fox couldn't have guessed it, but when Suicune refused to back down from the thick wall of trees, the water coming from his sword suddenly transitioned into brilliant flames. With the appearance of the fire, Suicune performed a wide slash that fully encircled him and created an opening for Mungo to pass through. It looked like Suicune's new fires followed the same rulings as his waters did because despite being exposed to dazzling flames, none of the trees caught fire.

Expertly making his way through the hole, Mungo brought his sword up to bring it down on Kara. But unfortunately, another tree had sprouted from underneath Kara, giving her the stepping stone she needed to evade Mungo's attack. Suicune then seized the opportunity and used Mungo as a springboard to catapult himself towards Kara, reaching a cave wall.

In a last-ditch attempt to get the two dogs away from her, Kara threw her hand forward and caused four vines to sprout from the cave wall and strike at Suicune. Suicune managed to veer himself to Kara's left with one more rotation of his body to avoid the vines and perfectly line himself up with the bulb on her back. One precise slash from his flaming sword and the bulb had been separated from Kara completely.

Quickly Suicune corrected his positioning and kicked off the wall to tackle Kara away before the bulb reconnected with her. Then, with the bulb all by its lonesome, Mungo manifested five swords of golden light and aimed it all towards the bulb. When all five swords impaled the plant, it let out a terrifying screech as all the surrounding trees began to slowly wilt away.

Then the cave settled into relative silence, with the only sounds being the branches breaking off now that their power source was gone. From the looks of it, Kara had passed out from being suddenly ripped away from something that gave her power. Suicune and Mungo had done it. Kara was no longer a threat, and they could all go home.

Fox couldn't help but run out towards his partner and throw his arms around the panting dog with the danger passed. "You did it! You're okay!"

"Fox!" Mungo whined as he imposed himself between Fox and any stray trees, "You don't know any of them might still be alive!"

"Mungo, relax, you won. It's over."

Mungo looked like he was about to argue, but an intense coughing fit could be heard echoing the cave. The two police dogs scanned the area for who it could belong but then saw Suicune shifting his weight onto a still wilting tree.

"Suicune," Mungo yelled as he approached the vigilante, "are you alright?"

As Fox got closer, his nose picked up the scent of blood; thankfully, it wasn't strong, so it must've been only a little. "It must've been all those rotations. I told you to be careful."

"What, why?" Mungo leaned over the coughing dog.

Fox looked around for anything that might help Suicune but found nothing. "While he was fighting Kara, she cracked one or more of his ribs; he might need medical attention."

"It will be alright," Mungo said as he pats the vigilante's shoulder, making sure he steered clear of the dog's ribs "we're going to get you help. I promise."

It was only then did Suicune look at both of them, his red eyes on full display. However, Fox noticed something odd; once again they looked like they were losing their color. His right eye had gone completely black as if nothing was there in the first place. Then his left suddenly shifted to a sky-blue hue similar to his sword.

"父?" came Suicune's voice

Fox's mouth was agape. The dog's voice was deep like a teenager but raspy and tired. Suicune had never spoken before, but now he had something to work with.

Before the dogs could reach for the bandana that covered Suicune's face, the dog then clutched his head again. Despite barely moving the dog began to double over in pain. Gone was the confident and calm Suicune. Now Suicune had terrified confused eyes which was a startling change in demeanor. However, what really startled Fox was that he was sure he saw a spark. When Mungo tried to reach out for Suicune a second more powerful spark burst from his body.

"SIR MUNGO, SIR FOX, WATCH OUT!" Fox recognized that voice as Rowan's

Before they could react, a blue string wrapped around their bellies before they were tugged off their feet. Fox and Mungo were inside the protection circle where Sasha was waiting with Rowan, who held onto the strings that pulled them here in no time at all. Zeke was also holding onto an unconscious Kara who was now wearing her post officer uniform again.

Then a brilliant flash of blue light erupted from Suicune. The light was so intense that all dogs present had to shield their eyes. When Fox thought the assault on his senses couldn't get any worse, a thunderous clap shook the cave. When the light had died down, any trees that hadn't wilted yet were disintegrated completely, and Suicune was gone.

The only trace the vigilante had left behind was the katana made of blue light.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Fido was dead tired.
Fortunately, it was a good kind of tired. Sasha had been found and returned to the wolf house, the culprit was in custody, and nobody else was hurt. Unfortunately, Suicune had escaped, but that wasn’t a very high priority. At least the culprit was relatively unscathed this time. And all it cost Fido was seventy-five percent of his sleeping time.

That was an easy enough fix, though. One mug of hot pet-safe chocolate from the world’s most gorgeous cat should give Fido sufficient of a boost to power through at least one more shift this afternoon. Unfortunately, Fido would have to tell Askal training today would have to wait; even with a good cup, Fido still needed to do his job correctly, which required rest. However, he did have a backup plan. The local theater would rerun the first Pridelands movie, and Fido knew how attached the young pup had gotten to the series. So Fido knew for sure Askal would enjoy his first movie theater experience.

Eventually, Fido rounded the corner of Sabrina's house and was on her doorstep. When most dogs visited their girlfriends, they had to knock or use a key if the family was willing to lend them out. Fido dated Sabrina; aside from being a cat, she was also a practitioner of the mystic arts. So any pretense of having a normal relationship was gone on day one.

Though it did have its perks, when the police dog was sure nobody was looking, using his finger, he traced a few simple glyphs on an empty slot in the door’s design. Once he had done it exactly as Sabrina had shown him, he uttered a few words he didn’t know the meaning of, and suddenly the locks undid themselves.

“Good morning.” Fido yawned as he entered and shut the door behind him.

“Good morrow, my love.” Sabrina purred as she stood from the living room couch. “How be thine duty last moon?”

Fido stifled a chuckle. “Sweetie, I love you, but why are you talking like you belong in one of Joey’s gaming sessions.”

“Ah blast,” Sabrina sighed before taking off her collar and erasing the glyphs on the inside of it. “I tried to replicate the translation enchantment on Askal’s collar and modify it so it can handle reading too, but it's more complex than it looks.”

Sabrina looked up to see Fido with his mouth agape. “What?”

“I… it's just… uh….” Fido stammered but never managed to fully convey what he meant.

“Why, Fido,” Sabrina taunted as she brushed herself closer to the police dog, causing him to shiver. “are you telling me you’re at a loss of words at seeing your girlfriend naked? You really know how to flatter a girl.”

Just as she said, Fido was at a loss for words. Her glossy black coat, her piercing yellow eyes, she looked stunning. Their schedules were always so hectic that the two had only spent passing moments with each other. It had been some time since he had cuddled with his girlfriend. So much so that Fido couldn’t help but lean in and plant a kiss on her lips, catching her off guard.

“Whoa,” Sabrina mused as she pulled away, “that’s the fastest I’ve gotten you to kiss me yet.”

“Can you blame me? It’s been a while.” Fido flashed a smile

Then Sabrina narrowed her eyes like a predator. “Then how about it, officer, tonight right after your shift.”

“Oh, so you’re free?” Fido’s tail began to wag

“I think so,” Sabrina pondered. “I get the feeling Tarot’s gonna call me with big news that should give me some break time, in three…. Two…. one….”

Then just like she said, her cellphone began ringing. Sabrina wasted no time and snatched it from the couch and put it on speaker for Fido to hear.

“Sabrina!” Tarot’s voice was in a rare tone of excitement. “I got it. I know who number one-hundred-thirty is! You wouldn’t believe who it is. I need you to come over and double-check just in case I’m just going crazy from staring at all these glyphs for hours on end.”

“On my way.” Sabrina responded before hanging up and proceeding to put on her collar again.“well, duty calls.”

Fido’s tail wagged even harder “So tonight?”

“Tonight.” Sabrina blew a kiss as she exited through the door.

Once the cat was gone, Fido merrily skipped up the stairs to wake the probably sleeping pup. His day may have started rough, but it was going to be a sweet one. He had the morning laid out to be with Askal, and at night he’d be with the love of his life. Fido didn’t know how much more perfect his day would get.

Fido gave a gentle knock before entering Askal’s room. “Good mornin’ sleepy head.”

Once inside, Fido found the room devoid of occupants. Askal’s scarf hung on the post of his bed, his script was laid out on his desk, and a copy of Pridelands book two was sitting on his nightstand, but the pup was nowhere to be seen. Fido had a puzzled look but tried to remain calm.

Askal hadn’t made the bed yet, so the pup was here. Sabrina had drilled it into him always to keep the room tidy. So far the dog had kept up to her standards. But, he wouldn’t just leave…. Or worse yet, be an unidentified kidnapping victim.

Fido began to panic as he surveyed the room. Askal’s scent was strong, so if he was kidnapped, it was recent. There were also no signs of a struggle. Chloroform? No, there wasn’t a scent. Askal left the window unlocked so they could’ve just snuck in and taken him while the police force was busy with Sasha’s kidnapper.

In a fit of panic, Fido already had 911 on his dial and was about to call when Fido’s ears picked up the sound of flushing, followed by the sink faucet turning on. Fido felt the tension leave his body in the form of a chuckle. He had no idea what came over him. He usually wasn’t the type to lose his cool so suddenly.

Casually Fido strolled to the bathroom door. Before Fido could knock, he heard Askal scream followed by a thud.

"Askal? Are you okay?" Fido reached for the knob, but it was locked

"No, No!" Askal screamed. "You're not real!"

Something was wrong, but when Fido tried to turn the knob again, he instantly pulled his hand away. It was scorching hot.

"Askal!" Fido banged on the door. "It's me, Fido! Let me in!"

Again no response. Enough was enough, he knew Sabrina had already had her doors replaced by Mungo multiple times, but this was an emergency. He'd just apologize later.

So Fido moved back to give himself momentum and ran straight at the door with his shoulder. The pain stung, but he had gone through much worse at the academy, so Fido pulled back and tried again. After three more attempts, finally, Fido heard the wood creak at his latest endeavor. One more should do it. Fido reared back and charged.

The instant he was inside, Fido felt an overwhelming burst of heat. The source was three wisps hovering around Askal, who shielded himself with a wall of water. Squinting through the veil of water, Fido saw Askal had huddled himself into the corner of the shower. Fido tested his approach, but the three whisps didn't seem like they were doing anything, just hovering over and protecting Askal as a secondary defense mechanism.

"Askal!" Fido tried again, "can you hear me!? Calm down!"

Even though it was blistering hot, Fido tried to move closer to hear what Askal's response was "they're not real, they can't hurt you, they're not real, they can't hurt you."

Fido knew enough from interacting with crime victims, and Askal was having a breakdown. Empty words weren't going to get through to him in this state. So Fido tried to reach through the water but instantly pulled his hand back when he found it was boiling hot.

There was no telling how long Askal would stay in a panicked state. Calling for help was out because Mungo, Zeke, and Rowan were exhausted from their excursion into the woods. So Fido had to act and act he did.

Preparing for the worst, Fido undid his collar and ensured none of his valuables were inside. Then Fido stuck his collar into his mouth to act as a makeshift mouthguard before he took a moment to calm his nerves. But he couldn't sugar coat it. This was going to hurt a lot, but Askal needed him, and that was all Fido needed to know to act.

After taking a deep breath, Fido plunged his hand through the veil. Instantly Fido's maw became vicelike on his collar to keep himself focused on the task at hand. He tried to make it fast to minimize the exposure to the water, but the veil was thicker than he had anticipated. So even when he was up to his elbow in boiling hot water, Fido was still a ways from reaching Askal.

Fido pressed on with tears streaming down his muzzle, causing the water to reach up to his shoulder. Unfortunately, the stunt introduced more pain into his system. Fido could tell his teeth already met in the middle of his collar. Fortunately, Fido was only a few more inches away from Askal.

After giving it one final push, Fido finally grabbed onto Askal's forearm. Fido then gave Askal a good shake which only hurt more as his arm swished around in the hot water. Suddenly the ambient temperature slowly returned to normal as the whisps disappeared and the veil of water collapsed around Askal. Some stray drops of hot water did splash onto Fido but it was nothing compared to his arm. The young pup had finally stopped muttering to himself and returned to reality. That alone made the whole ordeal worth it to Fido.

Fido took a quick moment to survey the damage he had done to his arm. The fact that he felt anything at all was a good sign. It meant the damage wasn’t too extensive to be permanent, but it hurt like nothing else Fido had experienced before. He didn’t need to part the fur on his arms to see his skin was bright red from the exposure.

Askal took quick glances around the bathroom before his eyes fell onto Fido, and his mouth was immediately agape. Fido could only guess how terrible he looked right now, but he had to at least try and seem alright to calm the pup down.

"Are…. you…. Alright?" Fido panted after spitting out his ruined collar. He tasted a drop of his own blood. "What happened?

Askal curled up into a ball looking unsure if he wanted to share or not. "There were these two shadows. They were so much taller than me and scary. One had red eyes, the other had a blue eye. They were saying something. Something I didn’t understand but it terrified me all the same." then Askal’s ears shot up as he looked to Fido "Then I… Then I hurt you."

The young pup pulled away from Fido, only for the police dog to reach out with his good arm. "Stop!" Askal cried, "I might hurt you again!"

"Hey, look at me." Fido kept his grip firm but made sure he wasn't hurting Askal. "You could never hurt me. Alright?"

"But I just did. You can't move your arm." tears were streaming down Askal's face.

"Look, you needed help. I didn't mind if I got burnt because I knew you needed me, and I'd do it a thousand times over. You’re okay that’s all that matters."

"How can you say that!? That must've hurt! I can’t even imagine what that must’ve felt like! Why would you do this to yourself!? Why would you do this for me!?"

Even with his burnt arm Fido managed to throw both arms around the young dog despite its pain. "Because I love you. I'm your Kuya, right?"

It was quiet sobs at first, but it didn't take long for Askal to burst out into bawling. Even as he returned the hug, Askal continued to cry into Fido's fur. The young dog must've been bawling for at least three minutes, but Fido kept quiet throughout all of it. Askal needed to let it all out, and Fido was here for all of it.

"I'm sorry I hurt you, Kuya." Askal cried, "I am so, so sorry."

"I know, pup," Fido rubbed the top of Askal's head. “I know.”

End of Episode 08

No obligatory trivia cause it was all action this chapter.
See ya next time.
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D-Rock
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Re: Live by the Sword

Post by D-Rock »

Quite the update. At least the current threat is gone. It just leaves us with so many questions.

Also, seeing how Askal and Fido are bonding is really precious!
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Re: Live by the Sword

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

It will be funny to me if people suddenly start shipping Fido and Askal since they seem to be bonding in the same way as Fox and Mungo. If this does happen, maybe Fiskal and Fungo can double-date. :lol: Nice chapter!
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Re: Live by the Sword

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While up to Krytus, their relationship seems too brotherly for that.
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Re: Live by the Sword

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

Imagine if it turned out that Askal was Fido (and Bino and Joey's) half-brother from their father. That would really be something.
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Re: Live by the Sword

Post by Harry Johnathan »

I honestly thought during reading that 3 of the 6 puppies survived and we would get a time-skip but nope. Tragedy all around, lol.
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Re: Live by the Sword

Post by Krytus The Dreamer »

Amazee Dayzee wrote: Sun Feb 06, 2022 5:01 pm It will be funny to me if people suddenly start shipping Fido and Askal since they seem to be bonding in the same way as Fox and Mungo. If this does happen, maybe Fiskal and Fungo can double-date. :lol: Nice chapter!
D-Rock wrote: Sun Feb 06, 2022 5:34 pm While up to Krytus, their relationship seems too brotherly for that.
I can confirm that their relationship will be as brothers; don't worry Dayzee I've got plans lined up. I just need to set it up properly.
Harry Johnathan wrote: Mon Feb 07, 2022 11:34 am I honestly thought during reading that 3 of the 6 puppies survived and we would get a time-skip but nope. Tragedy all around, lol.
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The new episode and New chapter are out. I think I've got a timeline I'm happy with so I hope you all enjoy it.

Episode 03: Sword of the Traitor
Chapter 01

Fox breathed a frustrated sigh.
Three days had passed since Sasha's kidnapping; Kara had no memories of the event or even taking Sasha, which might be a blessing in disguise. Fox didn't want to be the one to explain Mungo's magic light powers to Sergeant Ralph. Nor did he want to be the one to explain the existence of the supernatural. Fox was pretty sure he would land in a mental ward after just one sentence if he tried. At least Kara stayed in prison this time and didn't disappear only to be replaced by an unusually grumpy corgi.

Which brought Fox to Suicune. As expected, the vigilante's activity dived into nothingness. The dog simply disappeared. There were some petty and major reports of crime, and none of them were stopped by the masked dog. The police and the public had mixed reactions to the dog's sudden disappearance over the past few days, but his warrant was still out, and the search was still active. Vets were checked for adolescent dogs with cracked ribs, but no matches were admitted. Still, Fox didn't give up; he knew that dog's desire for justice was strong, so it wouldn't be long before Suicune would act again.

That being said, Fox was running out of strings to follow. He thought interacting with the dog up close those nights ago would reveal his identity, but it was the opposite. More questions came to light than were answered. Still, Fox had to try other tracking methods, which brought him to a particular house in Babylon Gardens.

Tarot had always been an oddity in Babylon Gardens. The most pets could tell anyone was that she was close to Peanut, Grape, and Max. and that's it. Most never knew about her being the avatar of the spirit dragon. Nor did they know about her future sight powers, her trying to build up a small army of magic users to protect them if something crazy happened. They always wrote it off as Tarot being a little odd and never questioned it once. Heck, barely anybody knew Tarot had her own house apart from Sabrina. That's how little attention she drew to herself despite being an oddball.

Given everything he knew about Tarot, Fox didn’t expect the house to be so… ordinary. The second floor had soft carpets lining the ground with orange painted walls. Fox could smell the artificial scent of tulips permeate through the air causing him to wonder who cleaned the place. He hung around Zeke and Rowan long enough to know those two were the furthest from neat freaks you could get, and Tarot was far too small to keep the whole place clean by herself.

Fox shook his head. He shouldn’t be distracting himself with frivolous thoughts. There was work to be done. At least that’s what he would be doing, except an ordinary wooden door stood in their way, and Mungo refused to open it.

The husky yawned as he shifted his weight onto a nearby wall. “Why are we waiting again?”

“Because Zeke and Rowan said Tarot’s doing a session with Datu right now. We can’t bother her.” Mungo nonchalantly responded as he mindlessly tapped on his phone, having gotten into the “Go” craze because Suicune’s actions brought more attention to the game. “Nice. Hey, look, Fox, I caught a fishie.”

"Mungo, stay focused. Who is Datu?" Fox responded with a roll of his eyes only to be met with uncomfortable silence.

"Oh... I don't think it's my place to say." Mungo turned off his phone and stowed it in his collar. "It's a bit of a touchy subject around here. Let's just be patient. Everywhere else is a dead-end; we might as well try Tarot one last time."

Fox wasn't sure what about the subject was touchy, but he trusted his partner enough. Besides, Mungo was right. Many of their avenues for chasing down the vigilante started to run dry, mainly because of the dog's inactivity. Tarot was their only hope now. Especially since Suicune was injured. If the K-9 police force were to ever catch Suicune, it would be now. Even though Tarot said she wouldn't help due to the risk of exposing the supernatural to the K-9 force, Fox knew their ace would change the pomeranian's mind.

Eventually, Fox's ears perked at the sound of the door opening. Tarot had finished her session and ignored both police dogs as she made her way to another room across the hall.

"Tarot!" Fox tried to catch up with the small dog "we need your help."

Tarot didn't even turn to look at Fox as she spoke; it was like she was in her own world. "I already told Mungo no. Didn't he tell you?"

"Yes, I did, but this time it's different," Mungo responded by bringing up a duffle bag.

"Three nights ago was different because a demon was involved." Tarot shot back as she opened the door to a study. "You're just trying to catch a vigilante. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have work to do."

Before Tarot could shut the door, Mungo reacted fast and unzipped the duffle bag. Then Mungo pulled out a sky-blue katana and jammed it into the opening of the door where Tarot could get a clear look at it.

A second passed, and Fox heard an exasperated sigh. "Alright, fine. Get in here."

Flashing a congratulatory nod to his partner Fox followed the pomeranian into a cozy study room. The walls on either side of Fox were packed with books from end to end; most were definitely older than he was. At the very end of the study was a desk custom fit for Tarot's more diminutive stature with two couches in front of it made for pets to his and Mungo's stature.

Both dogs took a seat on opposing couches and looked to Tarot as she studied the blade. She tossed it slightly to get a feel for its weight, dropped a piece of paper onto the exposed blade to test its sharpness and even let it fall to the floor to test its durability.

Tarot then looked to Mungo. "This used to be yours, correct?"

"yeah," Mungo put his hands to his chin, "I tossed a sword over to Fox while I fought. The next time I saw it, it looked like that."

"Actually, Suicune grabbed hold of it before it changed shape." Fox clarified

"Interesting," Tarot's eyes squinted, "have you tried to dismiss it or change its shape like your other constructs?"

Mungo shook his head. "I didn't want to tamper with the evidence before we got it to a professional."

"As expected of a police dog, but can you try doing something to it?" Tarot nudged the blade forward.

Mungo then nodded as Tarot placed the katana on the coffee table between the two couches. At first, Mungo was as calm as ever; he simply glanced at the blade. However, when Mungo saw that nothing was happening, it became more evident that he was concentrating on something. Eventually, an ax made out of golden light appeared on top of the Katana.

"You tried turning it into an ax, didn't you?" Fox shot a knowing look at his partner as he panted.

"I can't do anything to it." Mungo gasped.

"That is telling." Tarot looked like she was beginning to enjoy a show. "You can feel it can't you."

Mungo sounded like he couldn't believe it. "There's no mistaking it."

"No mistaking what?" Fox tried to understand what was happening, but both dogs were being difficult

"Somehow, it's still made out of my mana." Mungo finally blurted out

"Or," Tarot interjected, "something similar."

"What are you saying, Tarot?" Fox asked with a raised brow

Tarot stood up and ran her fingers through some of her books. "Officers, I present two equally exciting plausible possibilities for our Suicune. The first option is that this Suicune possesses skill or mastery of magic so advanced he can bend another's mana to his will. A talent such as his is such a rare find it would be an amazing asset to have at our disposal."

"Tarot," Fox chided "He's a criminal. After he's done his time maybe he can help your cause but until then don't get any ideas."

If Tarot heard Fox she didn't show it, she only continued to peruse her collection of books. "The second possibility is a more significant stretch but still very plausible under the right circumstances."

Tarot paused when she found a book she was looking for and opened it before laying it out before the two police dogs. The page Tarot wanted to show depicted an ancient crude drawing of two large dogs, one black like mungo and wearing a golden necklace and armbands and the second one a light brown. The couple was holding five puppies while a green dragon coiled around them.

"The second possibility is that Suicune is another descendant of Satau."

Mungo stood straight up at the revelation. "That's impossible. None of my family members are here."

"You can never tell," Tarot responded calmly as she examined a scroll. "Satau had a litter of five puppies. Those five could've gone on to spawn more branches over the thousands of years after he had passed. There's no telling where his blood may have reached. Say a place like Japan, for instance." Tarot nudged the katana forward.

Fox then frowned. "Okay, so Suicune is either a genius or related to Mungo. Big whoop. How does that help us?"

"If memory serves, there's a Japanese exhibit going on right now, correct?" Tarot pulled out her phone to check.

Mungo's ears perked up. "Maybe we can learn more about Suicune if we check the exhibit."

"I don't know. Sounds a bit far-fetched if you ask me." Fox squinted at the katana

"I'm sorry, did you have any other ideas?" Mungo glanced at Fox, who tried to answer but came up blank. "I didn't think so."

annoyed by his snark Fox could only frown. "Well, it's going to have to be tomorrow then, cause the museum closed hours ago."

"Whatever the case, Suicune proved to be more interesting than I had previously thought. I'll dig around these scrolls to see what I can find. Since you can’t exactly turn this over to the police the katana stays here." Tarot said, closing the book she presented before moving to reshelve it

Both police officers looked to each other and made for the door. "Thanks, Tarot. We'll let you know if we find something as well," said Mungo as he let Fox close the door to minimize damage.

"I'm counting on it," she called back before the door fully closed.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Askal breathed in and then out.
He made sure the cycle was even not too much time breathing in and not too much time breathing out. Although breathing looked easy while sitting in one spot, it wasn't. It took severe concentration to resist getting distracted by anything. Not the pleasant sounds of birds chirping in the morning. Not the waves forming a hypnotic song. Not the cool spring breeze combing through his fur. Not even the smell of freshly grilled mackerel could~

Maybe...

No!

He was strong; Askal wasn't about to be beaten by some fish heated up by rocks. It didn't matter that spring mackerel only came once a year. He wasn't so weak as to~.

His stomach grumbled. His mouth watered. Where was he again? Was it breathing in or breathing out? HIS TAIL ITCHED! WHY ARE THE BIRDS SO NOISY!? ALL THE WAVE NOISES WERE MAKING HIM NEED TO USE A TREE! WHY DID THE MACKEREL SMELL LIKE IT WAS LITERALLY UNDER HIS NOSE!? His eyes opened to a plate of immaculately grilled mackerel just begging to be consumed.

"DARN IT, KUYA!" Askal burst out, falling onto his back, earning hearty laughter in response. "I'm trying to meditate!"

As Askal lay flat on his back, he could feel another breeze sweep the smell into his nose. “Aw c’mon, you know you love this stuff.” Datu teased as he used a paper fan to funnel the scent Askal's way.

"Cut that out!" Askal made a swipe with his hand to slap the fan away, but Datu was too fast and simply raised the plate higher.

"Gonna need to keep up your training before you can do that to me." he flashed his trademark smile as he stood up and ran away.

"Oh, I'm going to do something much worse when I catch you!" Askal yelled as he gave chase.

Only two steps into his chase, however, Askal eventually ran into an invisible wall that made him fall onto his tail. The soft soil that was there a moment ago was suddenly replaced by bricks and metal bars.

"No," Askal's eyes widened when he recognized the place and Fido, who knelt before a tall dark silhouette.

It was Deja Vu. With his right arm shaved to reveal skin, Fido had his head lowered to the ground to a silhouette Askal couldn't make out. But, whoever it was, their words were swift and unkind.

"Unacceptable, for his failings, I sentence Askal to death."

"My lord. For the sins of my brother, I offer you my life so that you may, in turn, spare his." Fido said with the utmost calm as if he hadn't just given his life away

there was a pause as murmurings echoed off the prison walls. Askal wanted to speak up, he wanted to take his punishment properly so that at least Fido could live. He didn't want Fido to get hurt on his behalf again.

"The offer is accepted," Askal's ears perked at the sound of a knife sliding to a halt in front of Fido. "do what must be done."

Without even a shred of a complaint or doubt, he picked up the knife and aimed it for his stomach. Fido gave one more look at Askal and then raised the blade above his head.

"You could never hurt me." were Fido's last words before he thrust the knife inward.

Askal tried to reach out and stop him. But, before he could, Askal felt the ground underneath him give way rendering him unable to see the aftermath as he fell through the darkness.

Eventually, Askal landed on a hard wooden floor that swayed side to side. Then, establishing his footing, Askal found himself on a boat with nobody else around. All that greeted him was a relentless sea and thundering skies. He didn't know where he was nor what to do the boat's rocking was too disorienting.

"Kuya Datu!" Askal yelled only for a wave to rock the boat to slam him into a wall. "Kuya Fido! HELP ME! PLEASE!"

"Anybody!?"

Askal's fears only grew worse when he felt a wave coming, but rather than tilt back the other way, Askal felt the boat continue to list in one direction. Then, opening his eyes, Askal saw a massive wave more enormous than the boat he was on coming his way.

Impact.

The young dog spun so rapidly he had lost sight of which way was up. Several ship debris obscured his view, and since there was no moon in the sky, it all looked the same. When Askal could determine which way was up, he couldn't even swim. A rope had latched onto his leg and began pulling him down.

Bubbles started to leave his mouth. He had to swim up, but he couldn't. The rope was too tight, too heavy to undo. He clawed and clawed his way to the surface, trying to get to precious oxygen. He needed to breathe but couldn't. He wanted Fido but couldn't. he wanted Datu but couldn't. He wanted to live... But couldn't.

Askal shot up from his bed, gasping for air. His hands shook not from how cold it was but rather from what he had seen. Even though it was over, Askal still felt like it wasn't. He saw his bed shift from a pet bed to that of straw, the room's perfectly straight walls to the prison's bricks, his always unlocked door into prison bars. Askal was safe but didn't feel like it.

Securing his collar around his neck, Askal hopped off his bed for a glass of water. His throat was dry, and maybe a quick walk would calm his nerves. So quietly, Askal made his way through Sabrina's house, scared to even blink. Scared that it would take him back to the nightmare.

Once down, the kitchen area was illuminated by a warm orange light; only the refrigerator's hum filled the void with noise. It wasn't the best lighting but it was good enough that Askal wouldn't trip over anything. After living in this house for more than a week, Askal knew where all the glasses were. So it was no trouble locating it and putting it to the fridge to dispense water. The problem came when Askal began to fill the glass.

As water climbed to the top of the glass, the swishing motion reminded Askal of the ship. Losing his grip for a second was all it took for the drink to fumble from his grasp and hit the ground. Because it was so quiet, the sound of glass shattering was louder than average, making Askal flinch and wonder if anybody heard.

A series of thuds came from the 2nd floor before a familiar scent hit Askal's nose. "Freeze!" Fido yelled, "I'm a K-9 Officer, and I will use force if necessary."

Fido then flicked the switch to open more light and looked around for the crook only to be met with Askal's quivering form "Askal? What are you doing up?"

Askal froze. The sight of Fido's shaved arm revealing the pink, burnt skin drove Askal once again to the brink of tears. Three days had passed since the incident, and he had gotten used to seeing Fido's condition. But after going through the nightmare, seeing Fido's injury became too much.

"Hey, hey," Fido cooed as he approached, carefully brushing aside the glass. "What's wrong?"

Askal struggled to put it into words, "I just... I just had a nightmare."

"Do you want to talk about it?" Fido put his good arm around Askal

"No, it's too scary." Askal breathed harder to try and calm down. "I can't."

Fido then looked to the floor. "Well, let me just clean this mess up, and I can just sit with you for a while just until you feel better. Does that sound alright?"

"Yeah," Askal nodded, "I'll be fine… I just… need a minute."

End of Chapter 01
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D-Rock
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Re: Live by the Sword

Post by D-Rock »

This potential connection to Satau is really intriguing. Let’s see if that’s the case. Tarot seems excited for it.

Didn’t Ralph encounter the ghost of Teoxihuitl? But I guess you want to take things slow when introducing the world of the supernatural.

That’s quite the vivid nightmare Askal had.
Faith doesn't change circumstances. Faith changes me.
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Re: Live by the Sword

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

Really nice job on the story! Even if the nightmare was really ****** up.
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Re: Live by the Sword

Post by Krytus The Dreamer »

Amazee Dayzee wrote: Thu Feb 10, 2022 11:28 pm Really nice job on the story! Even if the nightmare was really ****** up.
Thanks! Hopefully, I didn't go too far.
D-Rock wrote: Thu Feb 10, 2022 9:19 pm This potential connection to Satau is really intriguing. Let’s see if that’s the case. Tarot seems excited for it.

Didn’t Ralph encounter the ghost of Teoxihuitl? But I guess you want to take things slow when introducing the world of the supernatural.

That’s quite the vivid nightmare Askal had.
I was writing it under the impression that Fox wasn't in the force at the time and that nobody would believe it happening in a report so it was never officially written down.

So I've been practicing drawing and these are the fruits of my efforts. I was worried I might've made them too buff but eh I can just say this is the result of them tussling with Mungo more than a few times a week.
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Re: Live by the Sword

Post by D-Rock »

Great to finally have some visuals. Liking Zeke’s choice of hairstyle.
Krytus The Dreamer wrote: Sat Feb 12, 2022 11:00 am
I was writing it under the impression that Fox wasn't in the force at the time and that nobody would believe it happening in a report so it was never officially written down.
Okay, that makes a lot of sense! Can’t believe I didn’t consider that possibility.
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Re: Live by the Sword

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

I know really, really, really, really, REALLY am digging Zeke and Rowan! I very much love buff guys!

Even more if they are single. ;)
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Re: Live by the Sword

Post by Harry Johnathan »

Amazee Dayzee wrote: Sat Feb 12, 2022 2:29 pm I know really, really, really, really, REALLY am digging Zeke and Rowan! I very much love buff guys!

Even more if they are single. ;)
Dayzee, they're cartoon dogs.
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Re: Live by the Sword

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

I am aware of it but its a lot more common than you think even if you don't agree with it. I wasn't trying to imply anything creepy.
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Re: Live by the Sword

Post by Krytus The Dreamer »

D-Rock wrote: Sat Feb 12, 2022 11:55 am Great to finally have some visuals. Liking Zeke’s choice of hairstyle.
Amazee Dayzee wrote: Sat Feb 12, 2022 2:29 pm I know really, really, really, really, REALLY am digging Zeke and Rowan! I very much love buff guys!

Even more if they are single. ;)
Thanks! it felt great to fully commit to a drawing again. Though I may have to slim down Zeke and Rowan for this portion of the story. It still doesn't feel earned right now.


So.... an explanation as to what happened to me over the course of more than two weeks.

My professor didn't like how my group's thesis was turning out so, me and my group had to go into crunch time redoing a lot of it to meet a deadline. On top of that, my parents booked a vacation on Feb 22-25. So in order to enjoy my stay at the beach I had to go into even more crunch time doing enough work so I wouldn't be leaving my friends out to dry.

I thought I could do some writing during my breaks but I guess the looming deadline of failure didn't exactly set the mood. I also thought I could write during my vacation but I was too wiped from the previous week to concentrate. I even ended up with approximately five different versions of this chapter that I wasn't happy with ALL THROWN OUT THE WINDOW!

Now I'm trying to get back into my stride.

Episode 03: Sword of the Traitor
Chapter 02

Fox was not having the best day.
The beginning and end of his grievances was his phone. After losing his most recent model to the wilderness, the husky was forced to rely on his previous phone and saying it had issues was a generous statement. Its screen was riddled with cracks and had a battery life that lasted shorter than the time it took Bino to get punched when put in the same room as Grape.

Then because of its poor power source, the old gadget could barely get a call out that sounded halfway decent. Anything that came through the phone's speaker just sounded like it was drowned underneath a few layers of molasses. Even its text function had more than its fair share of bugs. The logs were recorded out of order and confusing, and sometimes there was a significant delay in sending or receiving texts.

The result of his feeble excuse for a phone was Fox having no idea where his partner was. His last contact with Mungo had set up their meeting point in their favorite coffee shop near the museum at ten sharp. Luckily Fox had outgrown the need for a phone alarm to get up in the morning. Unfortunately, Fox had difficulty getting a call or text out to Mungo, who was taking his sweet time meeting up, considering it was already fifteen minutes to eleven.

Fox thought that his old beater of a phone acting up was the worst of his problems, but the universe had other plans. The bus Fox was taking got a flat tire on its way to the coffee shop. Since he wasn't a slouch, Fox thought he could simply walk the rest of the way. That, unfortunately, turned out to be the wrong decision as it began to drizzle and shortly after turned into a shower. Because the universe had some sort of vendetta against him apparently.

The husky was only barely able to make it to cover under the coffee shop's awning before his fur got soaked to his skin. But the amount of water he was doused with was enough to diminish his winter coat's effectiveness slightly. Now he was susceptible to passing autumn breezes, and his bandana was no help in either drying him or keeping him somewhat warm. He couldn't even go inside because of the coffee shop's rules against wet pets and was forced to wait outside in the cold.

"Come on, you stupid piece of scrap," Fox growled at his phone as he slapped it. "just send the darn message already."

As if to slap him in return, the phone went black. Fox's mouth went agape as he knew he saw the battery sitting at sixty percent before it went completely black.

"Wonderful. Just wonderful." Fox shivered as he stashed the phone in his collar.

Left with nothing to do, Fox tried to remember the listings he saw on his laptop the other night. The salary of a K-9 officer was decent but newer phones tended to be on the pricier side. Even decent second-hand phones looked to deal devastating damage to his wallet's stores. By Fox's estimate, it looked like the earliest he could get a new phone without going completely broke was about two weeks from now.

Fox groaned at the thought of putting up with his old phone for two weeks. Unfortunately, that was the reality, and he had to make do.

"FOX!" Fox turned to see Mungo's large black frame barreling towards him.

The husky's face barely had any time to contort into surprise before Mungo crashed into him, sending the two careening into the floor. When Fox's vision cleared from the impact, he was met with the familiar view of Mungo looming above him holding an umbrella as well as a large tote bag.

"I'm so sorry." Mungo pleaded. "I was going to take care of some errands, but then mom called me saying she needed more sugar, and then dad said he needed a few nails to fix up his latest project, and then things got out of hand from there."

"at least you're~" Fox couldn't even finish his sentence as a sneeze cut him off.

Mungo's concerned face grew even deeper. "oh, look at you. Did you get caught in the rain because of me? Let's get you dry."

Fox didn't have time to argue or correct Mungo as the black dog pulled him into a nearby alleyway. Once the dog was sure nobody was around, Fox saw Mungo wave his hands and materialize his own awning made of light. Then Fox was blasted by air from a spinning golden fan and light from a floating orb. The process was so quick the husky couldn't even speak up before his fur puffed up from the sudden exposure to heat and wind.

"Uh... oops." Mungo sheepishly smiled with a shrug.

Fox took a deep breath as he patted down his now dry fur. "At least you're already here. Also, I thought you said you didn't want to use your powers unless it's for fighting the supernatural."

"Well, one, we're not on the clock. Two, it's not for personal gain, and three, you'd catch a cold." Mungo smiled warmly. "So I didn't see the harm in it."

Fox shifted his glance away from Mungo and focused on the sky. "Whatever the case, it doesn't look like the rain's going to let up soon, and I doubt we'd fit under that tiny umbrella. But, honestly, I'm more surprised you didn't get too soaked."

"Truth is... I've been using my powers for that too."

To demonstrate, the black dog held out his hand. A thin veil of barely visible light coated his entire arm, and when Mungo moved to hold it out in the rain, his fur remained unaffected by the weather. In all honesty, Fox didn't care how Mungo used his powers, but the husky couldn't resist pouncing at the opportunity presented to him.

Fox edged himself closer to the large dog. "Oh, what's this? Saint Mungo, abusing his powers for selfish gain, while us common folk can't even cast a simple drying spell?"

"I was in a hurry, okay!" Mungo whined in an attempt to justify his actions. "When I saw it was raining, I went to grab an umbrella so that I could meet you, but apparently I grabbed one that was too small, and by that point, I didn't want to bother the cashier too much. So I just went with it and tried to be discreet about it with my magic."

"oh, woe is me. My phone's just been terrible lately. I can't even begin to tell you how much trouble I had just trying to reach you. I don't suppose you could make me a new one. Could you?" Fox batted his eyes at the large dog.

Mungo frowned before he set down his tote bag. "Fox, you know my magic doesn't work like that. Gadgets are a bit too complex for me to make."

"I know I'm just messing with ya. Gotta pass the time somehow." Fox chuckled as he jabbed Mungo ineffectively in his shoulder as the black dog continued to search through his tote bag.

"But, I did get you this." Mungo handed Fox a paper bag.

At first, Fox thought nothing of it when he accepted it. Mungo's brought packed sandwiches onto their patrols several times before. However, when Fox held the bag in his hands, the weight threw him off. These were no sandwiches. Compelled by his curiosity, Fox unfurled the opening and pulled out a phone not only the same brand as his last one but also the second latest model.

Fox was at a loss for words. The husky remembered how much the price was when he checked it online, and by no means was it cheap. The device wasn’t even secondhand. Fox could see the seal on the box undisturbed and a roughly scratched-out price sticker on the side.

"Mungo..." Fox held the box carefully. "I don't know what to say..."

"Then say you'll accept it." Mungo sheepishly smiled.

Fox suddenly didn't care about poking fun at his partner. "Where did you even get the money?"

"I borrowed some from my folks. The rest came from me. I know I break a lot of doors, but when I learned how to fix them myself, I actually began to save money."

"Why? I would've had a replacement in maybe two weeks."

The question made Mungo pull back from Fox. The large black dog then began to fiddle with his hands, keeping himself distracted.

"That night, when Sasha was kidnapped; when I couldn't contact you. I was so worried, more than I'd ever been in my life, and since your phone got busted, I just wanted to make sure I could hear your voice when you needed me. Supposedly that model should get good reception even out in the wilderness."

Suddenly Mungo and Fox locked eyes, causing the black dog to look elsewhere as his ears folded down. "I know it's silly and probably a waste of money but~

Fox then pressed himself against Mungo's body, locking the larger dog into a hug before pressing his lips onto his. Because of where his hands were positioned, Fox could feel the wagging of Mungo's tail, and it was just as fast as his own.

He didn't know how long they held each other, but Fox didn't care. The gesture Mungo had just done for him and the reason why he did it made Fox want to stay in his arms just the slightest bit longer.

"Fox..." Mungo pulled away. "I thought you said...

Fox cut Mungo off. "Well we're not on the clock, are we? And oh what a shame it still doesn’t look like the rain’s going to let up anytime soon. Guess we’re just gonna have to stay here until it settles down.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

This is a tale of twin brothers.

By trade, they were swordsmen under the tutelage of a great master. While their master had no lineage for the craft of swordsmanship, he had shown great aptitude for the art where most others failed. For not only was it a revered style of sword-wielding dying due to its difficulty to master, but this art was also known for killing demons.

Honed to perfection, each variation of this style derived aspects of their forms from a close study of nature. Water, Earth, Lightning, Wind, Fire, and Sun. It was said that each time these swordsmen swung their blades the very elements they had studied bent to their will. One brother focused his attention on Lightning while the second focused on Water.

Years had gone by. Sadly their Mentor had passed on due to his age, but his students kept his legacy alive by further endeavoring to master his teachings without him. Each day they practiced and trained, both of them, hoping to attain perfection in their art while also fighting off demons that plagued nearby towns.

Eventually, their skill and mastery over their blades caught the emperor's attention. He was overjoyed at seeing the embers of their master burn brightly in his students and, determined to keep his people safe, assigned the twin brothers the task of patrolling the land, even giving them the means to do so.

To coordinate the two's efforts, he placed them under the command of his general. For a time, the two had become known as protectors of the land, compassionate to their people and ruthless to any demons they found terrorizing the landscape.

Alas, it was not meant to be. One night drunk on his power, one of the twin brothers ruthlessly cut down all those in an entire village. The general put in charge found the town covered in cuts and drenched in water. The village was nowhere near any bodies of water, nor did it rain the previous night. There was only one the general could point to.

Murderer, evil, traitor, demon. Their trust betrayed the people had instantly turned against the brother crying out for justice. For his crimes against his country, the water swordsman was sentenced to execution while his blade was confiscated. The twin brother’s sword was then branded as a message to those who would take up the sword only to abuse its power.

Fearing that the other brother would follow suit, the emperor sentenced him to exile on a remote island far away from the mainland, but he did not make it. Instead, his ship sank at sea, besieged by a typhoon. As a result, the sword style the two brothers practiced perished alongside them, bringing an end to their master's once great legacy.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Fox took a step back from the placard.
It was hard to refute how similar Suicune was to the swordsmen. But Fox couldn't piece together how Suicune came to be. The legend clearly stated that the two brothers perished in one way or another, unable to pass on their distinct sword forms. Yet somehow, Suicune could wield those very same forms centuries later. There had to be an explanation and Fox was having trouble piecing it together.

Thankfully the museum wasn't having a busy day, and Fox and Mungo had the exhibit to themselves. It was an expansive enough room to house all manner of Japanese artifacts and history. So while it did have a low ceiling, that didn't hamper much of the museum-going experience. The lack of a noisy crowd was just what Fox needed to concentrate on what he had just learned and how it fits into what he already knew.

Fox had his hand to his chin. There was something he was missing, something he hadn't yet considered. Fox searched for any clues or hints, even looking at the two swords on display once more, trying desperately to find something.

On display were two katana-styled swords unsheathed to display their silver shiny metal to the world. And that was all he could find. They were just swords and nothing more. The only thing that remotely stood out was the characters engraved onto one of the swords' flat edges. So as not to completely break the blade, the engravings were only present on the left face of the sword.

"裏切り者."

"Uragirimono," Mungo said calmly. "It means traitor."

Fox raised his brow. "I didn't know you spoke Japanese."

"I can't. It just says so right on the sign below it." Mungo chuckled slightly as he pointed to just below the display.

Fox began to scratch his head out of frustration. "This feels like a dead-end too. According to this, they're dead. Are you trying to tell me we have a ghost on our hands?"

"No, I would've sensed it." Mungo pondered.

"is it a magic thing?"

"More like experience. Ever since Tarot found out I could do... magic, she's been asking me to tag along on some of her excursions just in case something went wrong. and you learn to pick up some things from those encounters."

"Like?"

"uh... the air getting colder, your fur standing on end. that sorta stuff. Besides, we've touched Suicune's body before. He's flesh and blood, just like us. So I think he may be a descendant."

"You're saying he could've survived a typhoon at sea then somehow had a family or students that somehow made it here?"

"It's possible. We've survived more impossible things right?"

Fox’s spine tingled at the thought of what he had encountered at the basement of the temple. The husky then quickly shook it off. If he thought about it for too long he was guaranteed nightmares tonight.

"I guess that's true.” Fox brought out his notebook trying to see if there was a connection. “So why act up now of all times?"

"I'm just speculating, but maybe Suicune feels the need to redeem his predecessor. He was responsible for bringing down an entire village after all." Mungo sighed as he tried to see a pattern.

Fox felt the need to lower his pocketbook and look Mungo dead in the eyes. "Mungo? Redeem? He's landed over twelve humans and three dogs in the hospital and kidnapped one kid. Granted, he did return the kid but redeem might not be the right word."

"I don't know.” Mungo stammered. “Suicune might not know how strong he is. I don't sometimes!"

Fox stashed his pocketbook into his collar as he and Mungo made for the main hall. “Regardless I think I might have an idea, but we might need to tell Sarge.”

"FIDO'S GONNA KILL US!" Fox and Mungo's attention were quickly drawn to the sound of Peanut's voice from down the hall.

"You just had to take him to the museum, didn't you?" came Grape's voice shortly after.

"He looked so sad during practice! I thought I could cheer him up by bringing him here!" Peanut retorted in a panic.

Both Fox and Mungo shared a look before wordlessly agreeing to see what the commotion was about. Sure enough, just around the corner, the Sandwich pets were frantically recounting their steps. Seeing Peanut in such a state was such a rarity; the dog was usually so happy-go-lucky.

"I don't even understand how that's possible; he was right next to us. How did he even do that?" Grape growled as she began scratching her head in frustration.

"Guys!" Fox yelled out, breaking up their argument. "care to tell us what's going on?"

Grape began coughing and followed up with a light chuckle. "Oh, it's nothing, just... go about your day. Tell him Peanut." Grape nudged the dog with her elbow.

Stiff as a board, Peanut looked too terrified to open his mouth, but when Fox motioned to speak, Peanut's mouth overflowed with words. "WE LOST ASKAL! WE CAN'T FIND HIM ANYWHERE! AND FIDO IS GOING TO KILL US!" Grape Face palmed.

"That doesn't sound like anything Officer Fido would do." Mungo chuckled. "You only lost what he currently equates to a younger brot~" Mungo's ears folded "oh... uh...."

"WE'RE DOOMED!" Peanut yelled out in despair.

"Not helping Mungo." Fox sighed as he elbowed Mungo. "it's not too big a building; if we split up, we might be able to find him. So you guys take the east wing, Mungo, and I will take the west."

"Sounds like a plan. So let's get going, Debby Downer." Grape sighed as she dragged a scared stiff Peanut by the collar.

When Fox got ready to set off in the opposite direction as the sandwich pair, the husky found Mungo deep in thought. "Uh, Mungo, you gonna get going or what?"

"Actually, I think I have a way of tracking him." Mungo held onto his collar. "I still have Tarot's short-range telepathy enchantment on my collar. So if I can establish a link with Askal, I can find him."

Fox crossed his arms as he looked at the police dog. "Does that work?"

"I found you didn't I?" Mungo said with a wink.

Putting his trust in his partner, Fox followed Mungo around the museum. Unfortunately, it was short-range, so in order for Mungo to reach Askal, they had to wander around the building for a bit. Babylon Garden History Museum was relatively small compared to other museums, but that still meant a few good minutes of walking to encircle the whole building, even if it was only the west wing.

Naturally, the museum had different displays set up for the public, each depicting another branch of history. These can range from international ones like the Japanese and Roman Exhibits to local ones representing the civil war and the native Americans.

When the duo had crossed into the native American exhibit, Mungo raised his palm to get Fox to stop. "I think I've got him."

As Fox readied to follow Mungo's lead, the husky saw a rare sight. The firm, immovable Mungo actually staggered for a moment and had to lean on a wall for support. Immediately Fox knew something was wrong.

"Whoa, what's up? Are you alright?" Fox tried to support Mungo despite how much bigger he was.

"Yeah... It's just... whoa." Mungo shook his head and proceeded forward, pointing to a red door tucked into the corner of the exhibit room. "He's in the fire escape."

Despite Mungo leading the way, Fox could only frown. "Don't dodge my question. What happened?"

"When I telepathically linked to him. I felt an overwhelming sadness. I'm not sure how to describe it, but Askal's in pain. We should really intervene." Mungo quickly approached the door and knocked on it as gently as possible.

Since there was no immediate danger, Fox didn't need to take charge and let Mungo handle the situation. Moreover, Fox didn't even know how to approach someone with as intense grief as Mungo described with his background. Sure he had some surface-level training when talking to crime victims, but it was only ever meant to be a patch job until real professionals could approach the victim correctly. Besides, Fox knew Mungo had a talent for this sort of situation.

By now, Fox knew what Mungo needed, and with a nod, Fox pushed the door open just until Mungo told him to stop. "Askal? We're coming in. Is that alright?"

There was no response, only the echo of Mungo's voice bouncing off the fire escape walls. It took a moment, but the duo did eventually hear the sound of sniffling. Fox and Mungo shared a look before they entered through the red door. Askal was hunched over on the floor to their left, his face buried in his arms.

"hey," Mungo approached cautiously. "buddy, what's wrong?"

"I don't want to talk about it." came Askal's muffled voice.

"Askal, I can't help you if you don't tell me what's wrong, but I promise you if you do, tell me I'll do what I can."

Askal didn't respond.

"It's not healthy to keep these emotions bottled up. It would be best if you let them out. Otherwise, it's only going to hurt you."

Askal's head poked out of his arms, revealing his silver eyes to them somewhat red due to the crying he's been doing. "I'm just scared."

Mungo sat down closer to Askal and put his arm around the young dog. "Scared of what?"

"The story of the two brothers. I feel for them; they got separated, and they both died before they could see each other again. What if the same thing happens to Kuya Datu and me? What if I never get to talk to him again? What if we never get to play again? What if I never get to give him one more hug?"

Fox froze at the mention of Datu's name, and the pieces came together. The husky couldn't bring himself to imagine what it must be like to lose somebody... to lose Mungo. And Fox was an adult Askal was just a pup. To go through something so traumatizing so young couldn't be easy.

"Askal," Mungo sighed. "I can't give you any easy answers, but Tarot's the best there is. All we can do is put our faith in her. Besides, you've got Fido, me, Peanut, everyone. You're not alone."

"I'm here too, pup," Fox interjected, trying to do his part to calm Askal down.

Askal wiped his tears. "I thought you hated me?"

"That... was..." Fox flinched. "a lapse in judgment, and it wasn't fair to you. I'm sorry. In fact, I want to make it up to you. Since Zeke and Rowan are always giving us food from your home, how about you try something from here for a change? Ever try an apple pie before?"

When Askal shook his head, Fox returned it with a warm smile. "Good, then Mungo and I know just the place. Our treat."

"Uh, Fox..." Mungo interjected. "I'm flat broke, remember."

"My treat then." Fox quickly corrected.

Askal chuckled at the small exchange between the two dogs, his face brightening up with a small smile.

"That's what I like to see." Fox chuckled alongside the young dog.

"But wait, Peanut and Grape." Askal's ears perked up when he realized how long he must've gone missing. "They must be worried sick."

"Oh, they are. Let's go check in with them before we head off. Okay?" Mungo stood up before offering Askal his hand.

When the young dog accepted Mungo's hand, the large dog hoisted Askal onto his shoulders. "So I'm getting a slice, too, right?" Mungo asked innocently, which only got Fox to chuckle.

"Yeah, sure. It's the least I could do to repay you for the phone." Fox took Mungo's hand as the two exited the fire escape and back into the museum.

End of Chapter 02
Last edited by Krytus The Dreamer on Mon Feb 28, 2022 6:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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D-Rock
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Re: Live by the Sword

Post by D-Rock »

No worries on the wait. You did previously mention school ramping up. Hope your vacation was at least relaxing.

Cute to see how the relationship between Fox and Mungo developed overall.

I have a feeling that Mungo is close to the mark in regards to how Suicune is connected to the story of the two brothers, and very nice to see that Fox is warming up to Askal after seeing what he’s going through.
Faith doesn't change circumstances. Faith changes me.
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Re: Live by the Sword

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

Really enjoying where the story is going even if I am not a big fan of Fungo like others. I say keep Zeke and Rowan buffed up even if it doesn't feel earned because I like it. Or at least make them as big as Fox.

Oh, and keep them single. ;)
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Re: Live by the Sword

Post by Krytus The Dreamer »

D-Rock wrote: Mon Feb 28, 2022 1:32 pm No worries on the wait. You did previously mention school ramping up. Hope your vacation was at least relaxing.

Cute to see how the relationship between Fox and Mungo developed overall.
Oh, it was. I got an entire lake and beachfront to myself with my family it was great. Not because we reserved the whole thing mind you. It was because nobody was there cause of current events.

I was hoping I sprinkled enough in so that it didn't come out of anywhere.
Amazee Dayzee wrote: Mon Feb 28, 2022 3:12 pm Really enjoying where the story is going even if I am not a big fan of Fungo like others. I say keep Zeke and Rowan buffed up even if it doesn't feel earned because I like it. Or at least make them as big as Fox.

Oh, and keep them single. ;)
I don't know it interferes with the flow too much. I can settle with toned but I think what happens to them in this chapter makes up for it. ;)


So I'm back in the groove! Though this one is a bit dialogue-heavy I hope the next one won't be as much.

Episode 03: Sword of the Traitor
Chapter 03

Askal brought his sword down with grit teeth and a snarl in his throat.

"How many times do I have to repeat myself! I'm innocent! I swear!" Askal proclaimed to an empty park; his only applause came from rustling grass and leaves.

The young dog took a moment to examine his stance. He had done it exactly like Peanut had shown him to maximize his presence on stage as well as keep himself facing forward. His legs were wide, and his arms were apart to ensure he didn't present his side to the "audience".

Somehow Askal didn't feel right. Somehow he knew the way he was doing it was wrong. If he were in a real fight, his sword would've been easily knocked away, and his stance felt foreign. Yet, Askal also felt this looming feeling, like if he kept doing it wrong, something terrible would happen to him.

Unable to shake the feeling, Askal decided to take a break underneath the shade of a nearby tree. It had been a long time since he had been left to his own devices like this. Everyone Askal could think of either had plans of their own, or he couldn't find them. Zeke and Rowan were nowhere to be found. Fido had an appointment with the vet. Many of the other actors had other plans; Peanut said he was going to a cheesecake factory and Grape said something about buying exclusive Pridelands merchandise. "WHY DO WE KEEP FALLING FOR THIS!?" "I DON'T KNOW!"

While Askal was not fond of his time begging on the streets, it did bring a sense of familiarity now that he was on his own again. However, it was mixed with incredible boredom. Back in his city, Askal didn't have time to goof off. Humans tended to be nicer and more generous at the start of the day after all. But now that food was no longer a concern; he didn't know what to do with himself.

Askal did try to practice his magic again. Still, for whatever reason, it never activated like it did four days ago. Instead, every time he tried, they would always appear. The young dog quickly shook his head. He couldn't break down again, not after what happened last time.

The autumn fair was only a few days away; even though he knew his lines, Askal still needed to work on his blocking and poses. The young dog didn't have time to be distracted by something that didn't exist. After all, he went to the park for the express reason of practicing.

Askal had the good fortune of having the park all to himself. There were no other pets or playing children like last time, and the young dog couldn't help but take it all in. Trees in his old city were a rarity as it is, and even then, they never changed colors like they do here in Babylon Gardens. Even though it was lonely, it was calm and tranquil.

Not wanting to waste the opportunity dealt to him, Askal picked himself up and restarted his act again. Step by step, swing after swing, Askal ran through his part like clockwork. It would've been perfect if it wasn't for the sword. His instincts kept insisting that he stand a different way; even how he held the sword was in flux.

It was also the sword itself. Because it was made of plywood, it was far lighter than it should be. The weight discrepancy always threw Askal off when he had to swing it during practice. Sometimes Askal would accidentally put too much force and swing much stronger than he should. He nearly smacked Max in the head because of it.

Then the design; Askal didn’t know where to start. The handle was bent on purpose, as was the blade into a hook-like shape. The result was Askal accidentally hooking the prop onto another cat's collar or costume during dress rehearsal more than once. The prop even slipped from his grip twice. Askal even scored a K.O. on Peanut when the sword slipped from his hand. All in all, it was a complex design to work with, and it left Askal wondering how anybody could fight with it.

As Askal continued to swing the prop around, trying to get used to its weight, his ears stood at attention to a strange sound. There was a strange rustling in the grass. Of course, it couldn't have been the wind. Whatever it was, the rustling grass sounded heavily patterned. Almost like... FOOTSTEPS!

Askal's eyes went wide as his body went on total autopilot. His legs wound up and sprung in less then a second. While in the air, Askal folded his body to tumble to break his fall. Then in one fluid motion, Askal turned his body to about-face and see whoever was behind him with the prop sword raised to attack.

To Askal's surprise, it was a cat... sort of. And he looked just as surprised as Askal was. He was about as tall as any cat but somewhat bulkier by comparison. By Askal's estimate, this cat was only slightly taller than him. Also, unlike other cats in Babylon Garden, this one had rounded ears, and his brown fur was less fluffy but still just as thick.

There was something about this cat. Something Askal couldn't place, something that made his heart race. Was it that the cat was in a pouncing stance, ready to attack him? Was it the sharp-looking claws and teeth? Askal found it hard to gauge if he was a threat, and as a result, the two had been locked in a staring competition.

"That's amazing!" he exploded into a smile as he got out of his pouncing stance. "I've never met a pet that could hear me coming! That or I've just been living in civilization too long."

When the cat got closer, Askal felt his heart race faster, and his face heat up. "Uh... stay back, cat. I... uh... umm..." Askal raised the prop sword despite knowing it could snap like a twig.

"It's okay; my mom said I'm not supposed to eat pets, I won't hurt you. So you can put down the stick. I'm Pueblo, and I'm not a cat; I'm a mountain lion, puma, cougar. Take your pick." he smiled.

"uhh... Askal. Dog... I think..." the young dog stammered.

"Nice to meet you. Those reflexes and instincts are insane for a pet. Do you want to play tag?"

Despite how friendly Pueblo seemed on the surface, something inside Askal told him otherwise. Why else would his heart race and his face heat up? Askal didn't like it, and he got the feeling if he accepted the cougar's offer, it would only worsen. So it would be best to politely turn down the offer and back away slowly.

"Okay." Askal went into panic mode. He hadn't intended to say that!

"I'll be it!" Pueblo announced happily. "Here I come!"

Askal's eyes shrank when the cougar then broke out into a sprint. Had it not been for his quick thinking to duck, Askal would've been tagged. Taking it a step further, Askal rolled to the side and then began sprinting.

To his horror, when Askal looked over his shoulder to gauge the distance between himself and Pueblo, Askal found the cougar closing in on him. Two more swipes inbound. The first of which Askal avoided by sidestepping, and the second one, Askal blocked by using the flat edge of his prop so that he didn't technically make contact. Unfortunately, the impact of Pueblo's swipe was enough to force Askal's grip to slide off the handle. However, it gave Askal just the window he needed to escape.

"Hey!" Pueblo frowned as he continued to give chase. "No fair! No weapons allowed!"

Askal's mind ran a mile a minute, looking for an escape route. However, due to Pueblo gaining on him once again, Askal was forced to decide randomly, relying only on his agility to keep ahead of Pueblo. Thanks to the training he undertook with Fido combined with his breathing technique, Askal handled the strain on his body with ease. Even making tight turns to avoid Pueblo every time he attempted to tag him was almost too easy.

Swipe after swipe, Askal managed to weave and dodge out of the way. The young cougar must be getting frustrated because Askal noticed Pueblo was making more and more attempts without taking a break. After each pass, Pueblo made Askal notice how predictable they became. There was a pattern. Left, Right, pause, Right, left pause.

Due to the frequency of Pueblo's jabs, Askal was forced to keep facing him to see where each thrust was going, which was a costly mistake. To Askal's surprise, something hard came up to his back when he went to dodge Pueblo's latest swipe. It was the tree he was resting underneath earlier. He was corraled to the tree. Pueblo wasn't getting desperate; it was a trick.

Askal then tried to run in the other direction, but it was too late. Pueblo had his hands raised, poised to strike. All Askal could do was close his eyes and wait for it to happen.

"TAG!" Pueblo yelled triumphantly with his hand on Askal’s chest. "YOU'RE IT!"

As Pueblo got further and further away Askal was left breathless holding onto the spot the cougar had tagged. Askal’s tail wagged, his smile was wide; He wasn’t going to lose to Pueblo.

"Not for long!" Askal retorted, equally excited.

Askal was only able to get one step before it happened. It was different from last time. Back then, it was his chest that began hurting; now, it was something in his side that started to hurt. The pain wasn't dull either; it was sharp, and it cut through Askal's meager attempts to regain control over himself. Before the young dog knew it, he was on his knees, clutching his side.

"HEY!" Pueblo's voice rang out. "Are you alright!?"

"My right side. It hurts... so much." Askal growled out as his strength began to leave him.

Due to the pain, Askal found it hard to keep strength in his limbs. As Askal felt his limbs begin to shake, he could feel himself tipping over. And because of how he was holding himself up, if Askal fell, it would be on his bad side. Askal didn't want to think what an impact on that would feel like. It was bad enough as it is.

When he eventually succumbed to his weakness, Askal caught sight of Pueblo sliding to catch him. Instead of hitting the ground with his wrong side Askal landed on Pueblo's chest, which was definitely softer than the ground. Then just as quickly as it had come, the pain subsided, leaving the young dog confused as to what had just happened.

It was undoubtedly a step up from last time because Askal remained conscious, but where had it come from. Maybe it was because he hadn't had a training session with Fido since the incident? Or maybe it was because he was naturally weak? But, on the other hand, Askal had a better understanding of his body's upper limits. So he was sure he could've run around the park a few more times before something serious happened.

"Hey," Pueblo's voice derailed Askal's train of thought, forcing him to turn his head to face the cougar. "Are you alright?"

Askal's face began to heat up when he noticed how close they were. "I..! uh... Yeah!" the young dog pulled away from the cougar quickly. "It was just something in my side that hurt for some reason." Askal tried not to make eye contact with him. "Thanks."

"Don't mention it. It looks like it was just a harmless side stitch." Pueblo chuckled as he sat up as well.

"Side stitch?" Askal repeated in confusion.

"Yeah, it happens all the time. Nothing to worry about."

"Uh... if you say so."

The cougar then went to lie back down on the grass with his limbs stretched out. Askal had no idea why but his heart began to race at the sight. Not dangerously like it did weeks ago, but just enough that it was noticeable.

"Man, that was fun," Pueblo yawned. "but I think we shouldn't push it. Wanna come over to my friends' house instead? I think you'll like it there. It's filled with nothing but dogs and wolves."

"Okay," Askal said without a thought. "just let me grab my prop sword first."

Excited to spend more time with Pueblo, Askal hurriedly made to pick up his prop, which wasn't too far. A short walk was all it took before he could find it again. Thankfully, it wasn't damaged in their game, and he wouldn't have to explain to Grape why he needed a new one.

When Askal motioned to pick up the sword, the young dog gave a slight cough. At Askal thought it was nothing, but he felt a subtle taste of metal in his mouth. Then, out of curiosity, Askal stuck his finger into his mouth, and when he pulled it out, there was a red ooze on it.

"C'mon Askal!" Pueblo yelled from the entrance of the park. "We're burning daylight!"

"Coming!" Askal yelled back, his discovery slipping into the recesses of his mind.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“I’m well aware.”

Fox was not expecting such a mundane answer.
The Husky had been expecting a "WHAT!?" or "do I have to call the mental ward?" but not quite that. So many questions flooded into Fox's mind from that one sentence alone, but he had to remain professional.

"Sir," Fox coughed to clear his throat. "Could you elaborate?"

Sergeant Ralph didn't even take his eyes off of his paperwork. "A few years before you enrolled in the academy Officer Fido, Kevin, and I had our own encounter with the supernatural. Do you know why Officer Terrance has a crippling fear of boats?"

"He does?" Fox felt his ear twitch.

"Oh," Mungo interjected, "Remember? he didn't show up to your reinstatement celebration because it was an Italian seafood restaurant with a lot of boat-related decorations."

"Anyway, get to that point." the german shepherd stood up from his chair to stash the files he was working on.

Somewhat reassured he wouldn't be seen as crazy, Fox continued. "With this new information, Mungo and I have to redo our reports. Kara was a supernatural threat as well."

A sudden slam of the filing cabinet made Mungo and Fox break, standing at attention. "How did you two survive?" Ralph hurried over to his desk and looked at the two officers.

"Because," Mungo held out his hand and created a small golden dagger. "I have powers too."

There was a quiet moment where Ralph furrowed his brow deep in thought. Fox knew enough about his superior to realize he wasn't upset, just trying to process the information he had been given. But, in all honesty, it was a lot when Fox first found out as well.

"I guess that explains the super strength," Ralph said, rubbing his brow.

"Oh, that's been there before." Said Mungo as he made the dagger he created disappear. "I've only had these powers for a quarter of a year at this point."

Fox could see Ralph's brow furrow even more confused and decided to step in. "Moving on. When Mungo and Suicune bested Kara that night, we realized Suicune may be more of a danger than we realized."

"How so?"

"Suicune may have powers similar to Mungo's. Maybe a bit more. We're not sure."

"Then if that's true, then no K-9 officer can even hope to apprehend Suicune."

"I'm afraid that's not the end of it, Sir," Mungo added. "If we do capture Suicune, there are no facilities readily available that can even hope to contain him."

Ralph then stood up from his office chair to get a clear look out the window. Fox had been in this office enough times to know Ralph did that out of habit when he really needed to think.

"I trust you have a plan then?" He sighed out of frustration

Fox straighten up. "Yes. We do."

Fox then laid out a folder on Ralph's desk, grabbing the German Shepherd's attention. It contained detailed schematics of the Museum's layout and posters of the Japanese exhibit. In addition, Fox had marked each entrance and exit and where the windows were. It had taken more than a few hours of sleep from the husky, but it was worth it.

"During the incident with Kara Suicune's metal bat snapped in half." Fox pulled out pictures of the bat from evidence. "So Suicune's without a weapon. I believe that he will set his sights on these swords."

Ralph looked over at Fox's work thoroughly. "How can you be so sure? You said he has the same powers as Officer Mungo; wouldn't he just make his own? or settle on another bat?"

Fox pointed at the manuscript of the legend. "The legend states that there used to be warriors who wielded blades that called forth the elements, just like Suicune. Mungo and I believe he's a descendant of these warriors. And think about it. If I were in his shoes and my weapon broke when fighting a threat, I wouldn't settle on something that might break again. Besides, these swords are demons killing swords."

"I know my constructs, and their strength comes from how easily replaceable they are in battle as well as my ability to quickly swap them out. So when you pit my construct against the weapon it's mimicking, the real one will always win in a head-to-head fight." Mungo added

“My idea,” Fox continued “is we stakeout the museum until Suicune acts, and apprehend him before he can get his hands on a weapon he can use to fight back.”

Ralph began to shuffle papers around, combing through all of Fox's notes. Even though the husky had double-checked the document several times over, he was still paranoid he might've missed something.

"I don't know how I feel about sending in Officer Mungo on his own." Ralph looked at the officers with a raised brow. "I don't know who else I can send in that wouldn't be dead weight."

"I'm coming too, sir," Fox said adamantly.

Ralph slammed his hands on the desk. "Absolutely not! I can understand Mungo, but you don't have any abilities. You could get hurt. I won't sanction an operation under these conditions."

"Sir, I have to come because I'm the only one who can supervise the two civilians I plan~

"OFFICER LINDBERG! YOU ARE TESTING MY PATIENCE! First, you plan to go into dangerous territory; then you plan to drag two civilians into this!? Have you lost your mind!?"

Mungo interposed himself between Seargent Ralph and Fox. "Sir, with all due respect, I've trained them myself; they're no liability in battle. One of them also has a medical background. So if any of us gets hurt, he can patch us up better than any EMTs."

Ralph slumped into his chair, pondering his options. Fox couldn't blame him. This was going to be dangerous, but what was the alternative? Suicune would upgrade from having a bat to a sword if they sat by and did nothing. Fox could only guess as to how long before Suicune would be sending criminals into the morgue instead of the hospital.

"May I at least know who they are?" Ralph said through grit teeth

"Zeke and Rowan Trese, their terms are in exchange for their help Zeke, Rowan, and their teacher will be in charge of containing Suicune." Fox said, sliding a photo of the two brothers Ralph's way. "they were supposed to be here for the briefing, but nobody knows where those two went."

Ralph raised a brow. "If they aren't here for the briefing, how reliable can they really be? Can you even trust these two?"

Without warning, Thunder. The room shook as everything began to adopt a blue hue. Mungo had his weapons at the ready, even tossing Fox a gladius so that he could defend himself while Ralph held up a nightstick. Before Ralph could speak up, a hole above his desk opened up and spewed forth a back briefcase that landed unceremoniously with a thud—then followed by a black and white blur, the black one landing behind Ralph's desk and the white one on top of it.

Fox had a hard time discerning what exactly he was looking at. It looked like Rowan, but it felt uncanny. Only when Rowan stirred to stand up and shake off the fall did Fox finally see what was wrong. Rowan was standing on all four of his legs like a deer or a horse. It wasn't like he was crawling; his anatomy had shifted so that he was on four of his legs instead of two.

"ありがとう Kitsune-Kun!" Rowan laughed, wobbling from side to side. "Same *hic* time next week?"

All three officers looked to the hole in the ceiling and saw the golden Fox give a wink. "Sure, buddy, that was a blast."

"Oh, and could you soundproof *hic* the room? This is supposed to be top secret!" Rowan looked like he was on the verge of tipping over as he spoke, not quite used to his quadruped state.

"Already did. Kitsune out!" The nine-tailed Fox saluted before the portal closed shut

When the hole in the ceiling closed up, Fox turned to his superior to see his face wasn't exactly pleased. "They... not usually like this." Fox laughed, trying to stall for time as he approached Zeke, who had fallen behind the desk. "Zeke, what happened to your brother?"

"Oh him?" When Zeke stood up, Fox recoiled instantly. The black dog had two heads! "When he finished your request, Kitsune took us out to drink and celebrate." The left head yawned. "I guess he might've spiked our drinks." his right head continued.

"I CALL HER FROSTBITE!" Rowan announced, having somehow opened his briefcase to display a trio of pistols held in place by foam. "Modeled after my own TOOTH AND CLAW! WHEEEEEE!" Rowan threw his arms up to celebrate, only for Mungo to catch the dog before he could fall and hurt himself.

"Officer Lindberg, are you sure about this?" Ralph looked like he was about to tear his fur out.

"Sir, we don't have much of a choice." Fox reasoned. "If we let Suicune get the sword, who knows what could happen."

This night, Ralph rubbed his forehead to process the situation for the nth time. Zeke and Rowan hadn't put their best foot forward, so Fox knew why there was some lingering doubt in his mind. Fox had put a lot of thought and effort into planning the operation. He had hoped the sergeant trusted him enough to make sure it happened without a hitch.

Finally, after a few minutes of pondering Ralph placed his hand on Fox's shoulder. "I hate to admit it, but you're right; at least this time, you came to me with your hair-brained schemes. Good work."

"Thank you, Sir!" Fox saluted with his tail wagging furiously.

"However." Ralph then turned to the two intoxicated brothers. "If you're going to help, I have a few terms of my own."

Rowan stopped licking Mungo's face and turned to face Ralph. "Wuzzat?"

"I don't like the idea of citizens fighting in place of officers. It's not right. While you can fight, you don't know the procedure, and I have a feeling we're going to be needing your help more often in the future." Ralph began digging through his drawers.

"What are you saying, sir?" Mungo set down Rowan and returned to standing at attention

"I want Zeke and Rowan Trese to enroll in the police academy as cadets." Ralph placed the enrollment documents in front of the two dogs.

"WHAT!?" both of Zeke's heads asked in unison.

"Wohoo!" Rowan howled. "I get to be a dog in uniform and get all the girls!"

End of Chapter 03

Obligatory Triva section

The honorific Kun 君(くん)is generally used by people of senior status addressing or referring to those of junior status, or it can be used when referring to men in general, male children or male teenagers, or among male friends.
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Re: Live by the Sword

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Askal and Pueblo, that was pretty adorable. Also, intrigued by these potential seeds sown regarding his stances.

Showing up for the interview wasted and altered, not a good look for the job interview, but at least Ralph recognizes that desperate times call for desperate measures.
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Re: Live by the Sword

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Like the way that this chapter has come out! I hope that they fix Zeke somehow though.
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Re: Live by the Sword

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Hey guys it's been a while since I updated this.

So first off I'm not canceling it I just had to deal with IRL stuff that was really bogging me down. After a few weeks of sitting on it, I think I've cooled off enough to get back to this mostly cause I've been missing updating it. Also wallowing like I've been doing isn't healthy so I'm making an effort to get back to the grind to keep my mind off of things. I just wanted to make a post to say it's not gone and the next chapter is about 80ish% done just need to write the last few remaining bits of dialogue and proofread it for polish.

Anyway thanks to anyone who's kept up with this so far. I'm hoping to keep this going.
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Re: Live by the Sword

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It is important to prioritize and to have adequate resting periods. Glad to hear!
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Re: Live by the Sword

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

Really glad you are able to get back to work on this! I hope that the break that you took really helped to reinvigorate you!
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Re: Live by the Sword

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Amazee Dayzee wrote: Mon Apr 18, 2022 2:37 pm Really glad you are able to get back to work on this! I hope that the break that you took really helped to reinvigorate you!
D-Rock wrote: Sun Apr 17, 2022 2:22 pm It is important to prioritize and to have adequate resting periods. Glad to hear!
Thanks for being patient guys. I mean it. :D


Hey, remember when I said it was 80% done last time? well, Guess what? Absolutely none of it was even used in this version cause the moment I hit 100% I reread the whole thing thought "I could do it better and chucked it in the garbage." I'm not entirely sure if this is a bad habit or not and at this point and frankly, I'm too terrified to figure out but anyway here's chapter 04

There's going to be a fair bit of dialogue in this one but I made sure to try and balance it out, and hey, I haven't done this in a while so:
Segments of this chapter were inspired by this soundtrack composed over on youtube

Episode 03: Sword of the Traitor
Chapter 04

Fido was happy.
Better than happy, he was elated. Askal, the street dog welcomed into Babylon Gardens, was going to a sleepover. The police felt a massive weight lift over his shoulders when he heard the young dog sheepishly ask for permission, even more so when he found out who it would be with. King's pups were a few months behind Askal by his estimates, but it was close enough in his book.

There was nothing wrong with Askal finding friends in the Pridelands play production. It was an excellent experience to see how mature pets interacted, but Askal was still a pup, and he needed friends his age. Even if they shared a common interest, there would always be some form of a disconnect regarding older pets. Askal would be on more or less even footing with pets his age and thus less of a disconnect. Fido could barely contain his smile.

Fido didn't even want to miss seeing Askal off because of how momentous the occasion was. Not even a passing autumn breeze over his shaven arm could damper his spirits as Fido walked side by side with Askal. However, the evergrowing familiar screech of hard rock music coming from Natalie's room combined with the digital explosions from Deevee's gaming room managed to set the stage for some doubts to form.

What if they ignored him? What if something horrible happened? what if this was some cruel prank designed to get his hopes up only to crush it when it was at its peak. This was the site where Sasha was abducted after all, what if the culpcrit had friends who wanted to try again? Was Askal even safe to leave overnight at the wolf house?

Fido had fallen so far down the rabbit hole of doubts and fears that it took Askal's messenger bag hitting him in the face to snap out of it. At first, Fido's honed instincts thought he was under attack, and someone was about to kidnap Askal away from him. However, those fears died down instantly when he heard laughter from Askal and someone else.

Fido removed the bag from his face and was greeted by a strange sight. A cougar was laughing while lying on the lawn of the wolf house. Askal stood over him and evaded backward when the cougar tried to make a swipe at his legs.

"No Fair!" a familiar young cougar cried with a laugh. "How do you keep doing that!?"

"It's my little secret." Askal laughed as he knelt to taunt the cougar.

"Fine, keep your secrets." Fido saw the subtle smirk that grew on the cougar's mouth. "I've got friends."

Instantly a water balloon came crashing on Askal's head, dousing the dog in the water. Fido shifted towards the second-floor window to see two giggling pups, one boy and one girl, who watched with broad smiles.

"Get 'em, Pueblo!" the light brown one cheered.

"Try not to hurt each other!" cautioned the brownish-gray one.

Stunned by the sudden splash of water, Askal failed to notice when Pueblo got up and pounced on him to reverse the positions. In a flash, the cougar had Askal pinned with his hands on Askal's shoulders, and the look of surprise on Askal's face said it all.

"Pueblo!" Askal whined as he began to shiver. "that's not fair. You had outside help."

"All's fair in war. Just admit it, we got you." Pueblo leaned in closer just to rub it in.

Yet another stray breeze covered the garden causing Askal to shiver. "Alright, you win. C-C-Can we go inside now? I don't d-do well in the c-c-cold."

"Alright, ya softie, let's go." Pueblo chuckled as he got up and held out his hand.

Once Askal accepted it and was pulled to his feet, a second water balloon crashed into Pueblo, dousing him in water. The sudden nature of its arrival and the look of shock on Pueblo's face was enough to cause Askal to burst into laughter. Once again, Fido looked at the second-floor window to see the same two pups laughing at the scene.

"ROOK!" Pueblo whined

"MILTON-LINDBERG PUPS FOR THE WIN!" Rook cheered as he ran back inside, dragging the other pup with him.

Now that he was sure it was safe to intervene, Fido approached the pair and began looking for something to wrap them in from Askal's bag. It wasn't healthy to be dripping wet in this kind of weather, but unfortunately, he found only a few volumes of the Pridelands book and some scraps of paper with strange markings.

"Will you two be alright?" Fido approached, still holding onto Askal's bag for him.

"A-As soon as we get i-inside, we will. But we might track some m-mud in if we do." Askal shivered but clutched his sides to preserve whatever body heat he had.

"Don't worry, Olive's bringing us a towel," Pueblo spoke without a stutter, his thick coat shielding him from the brunt of the cold for now.

Then right on cue, a black and brown pup opened the door and tossed a single towel to the two animals. "I only brought one, so you will have to share."

"SHARE!?" Askal blurted out suddenly

"Sure," Pueblo caught the towel before it hit the ground and threw it over himself, and Askal pulled him closer. "How're you holding up, Askal?"

Askal looked like he wanted to pull away, but another breeze made Askal root into place with the towel. "Y-Yeah! Doing great!"

Fido could only smirk we he saw the young dog's face. He knew that look well. The young dog wasn't exactly subtle either his face flushed red as his tail swung wildly behind him. If that didn't scream, crush Fido didn't know what did.

The scene, however, was broken up when Olive ran up to the two wrapped in a towel. She looked the two boys up and down before a smirk grew on her face.

"Askal wanna be my second boyfriend?" Olive suddenly said with an earnest smile.

"Boyfriend!?" Fido exclaimed in surprise.

Then the sound of a metal tray hitting the floor drew everyone present. "SECOND!?" King was standing slack-jawed by the door with a face that looked like it had gone through a blue screen of death.

There were a few seconds of awkward silence before Askal fell to his knees and passed out.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Fox was no stranger to long nightshifts.
Sometimes he liked it. No matter how hard he tried to act his age, there would always be that little pup that grew up on adventure books and action movies wagging his tail with excitement inside him. Although Fox would be lying if he said he didn't hate it. His first few nights certainly took a lot out of him, and while he did get used to it eventually, Fox sometimes wished he had his old sleeping schedule.

Sleep was only one of the many things he had to give up to become a canine officer. He no longer had time to participate in club activities, although Fox had never felt more out of place after the fiasco with Fido and Sabrina, so it wasn't a significant loss. Fox also had to cut down his reading time to his break times and the rare moments of quiet, but he still had them in a short capacity.

The biggest casualty of his transition was his social life. Due to how hectic his scheduling was, Fox found it hard to maintain relationships with pets from outside the force. Fox remembered a time when he knew every dog in Babylon Gardens by name because he was part of a committee to welcome every new dog that had moved in. Unfortunately, with how long Fox had been away from the club, the number of new dogs Fox had never seen before began to climb. Heck, he can't even remember the last time he had been over to Peanut's place just to play and goof off. It was so bad that Fox only learned that his nieces and nephew learned how to speak a week after the fact.

It really made Fox think. Tonight was a Friday night. If things had gone differently, where would he be right now? Maybe at the clubhouse listening to Bino's longwinded speeches or perhaps at Heathcliff's chugging soda with King with no responsibilities to speak of. It took Fox shaking his head to bring him back to reality. Soon the crowded bar of Heathcliff's was replaced by the Japanese exhibit in The Babylon Gardens Museum.

Deciding he needed to clear his head, Fox made his rounds around the displays. Fox knew better than anyone that now was not the time to think about the what-ifs. He had already made his choice, and he was happy. After all, he got to meet Mungo. The thought alone was enough to get Fox to bring out a warm smile.

That smile was cut short when a yawn came over him. Then, out of curiosity, Fox pulled out his phone to check the time: 00:24. They still had a few more hours before dawn, so letting their guards down now would be a mistake.

"Thirsty boss?" Fox turned to see Rowan holding up a thermos. Thankfully whatever effect was under to turn him into a quadruped last night had passed, and Rowan was back to standing on his two feet.

Even though he hadn't earned the right to wear the official K-9 vest, Rowan still sported it in lieu of his regular vest. Sergeant Ralph made the executive decision that they were under special circumstances. Everyone on the mission needed to be as prepared as possible. While Fox did feel the slightest bit of jealousy when he learned of Ralph's decision, he still set aside his feelings. The operation came first, after all.

"I'll pass." Fox chuckled. "Mungo just left for the restrooms and I’d hate to leave the sword anymore unguarded than it already is."

Fox then quickly scanned the room and realized they were one short. "Speaking of numbers, where's Zeke?"

"Oh, he's over there sleeping." Rowan pointed to the corner a few feet away.

Fox leaned his body to the side to see past Rowan. Sure enough, the black dog had found a comfy corner and was blissfully sleeping the shift away. He wore the same vest Fox, Rowan and Mungo sported which was, unfortunately, going to waste. Technically, Zeke was already a cadet on paper. So it was well within Fox's right to lecture the dog's ear off about staying alert on duty. He remembered seeing his fellow cadets get the same lecture time and time again. Fox never experienced it though, so there would be no catharsis. Ultimately he decided against it. Still, after what had happened last night, Fox was slowly beginning to question what made the two dogs so special.

"Are you serious?" Fox sighed with a roll of his eyes. "After what happened last night, I thought he'd be the one to stay up more."

Rowan flinched but maintained his smile, albeit with a bit of effort. "Ouch, boss. I would've thought that you'd have more faith in me specifically. Besides, it was my fault last night's meeting didn't turn out the way you hoped. I was the one who accepted, Kitsune's invitation, and Kuya had to come along. I was also the one who took the first sip, and I was also the one who offered one to Kuya Zeke."

"Okay, poor phrasing, but I meant he's the older one, isn't he? I would've expected him to act like a better role model."

"He's my Kuya, yes but by only five minutes. Still, please don't be too hard on him because he can't keep up. He's a bit different."

"Yeah. Different in a good way. The two of you can at least keep up with Mungo, and that's saying something. I've seen that dog lift a car, for crying out loud."

Fox yawned, despite his best efforts to keep vigilant. As much as he'd like to remain alert for his duties, Fox was still mortal. His day was hectic from the moment he woke up. He had to iron out a few holes in his defense, squeeze in some practice with the new weapon Rowan had provided him, and debrief the two dogs after they had recovered from their hangover. He barely had a chance to breathe, and now that he didn't have to do anything, Fox felt his hold slowly slipping as the hours continued to pile on.

"May I?" Rowan said, suddenly interrupting Fox's train of thought. The white dog extended his hand towards Fox.

Fox was quite unsure and hesitated, "Uh, what for?"

"Just give me your hand, boss." Rowan disregarded Fox's uncertainty and reached for his hand.

Fox's hand was clasped around Rowan's while the white dog hovered his free hand over Fox's. Before Fox could ask another question, a familiar-looking blue string extended from Rowan's fingertips. The line then interwove to create a luxurious-looking ribbon around Fox's wrist. Once Rowan secured the ribbon with one knot, Fox felt a strange sensation wash over him.

A comforting warmth spread over his body, easing the various fatigues and aches that came with a long day. Seconds became minutes, and the effect grew as the grogginess Fox had felt numbed away. Of course, it wasn't completely gone, but it had reached a point where Fox could easily ignore it, thanks to the training at the academy. Then just as quickly as it had started, Rowan clenched his fist while pulling it away, causing the strings to vanish.

"So... Does Disney owe you royalties cause of Rapunzel or..?" Fox started awkwardly, his brain unsure what to say at first.

"Oh, don't you start," Rowan growled more in annoyance than rage. "When that movie came out, I didn't hear the end of it from my Tay and To."

Fox gave himself a stretch, and his body felt lighter. "Sorry, I guess I'm still a little surprised even after everything I've seen. What was that?"

"It's something I was born with. My condition makes it so that my body produces too much mana." Rowan breathed a deep sigh as he stared at the ceiling.

Fox arched a brow at Rowan's wording. "Condition? I'd say that's a gift."

"You'd think that, but the reality is I make too much. Everyone has some mana, even you, Boss. Mortals like Sir Mungo or me are born with an extraordinary amount. Think of it like filling a tank in a car. Everyone burns through some of it, even doing menial tasks. Except my tank is constantly being refueled. It can even overflow into anything that can accept my mana, machines turn it into electricity, but living things just accept it raw. If I don't burn enough of it off, I become feverish, and eventually, my mana consumes me from the inside out. The same goes for anybody exposed to my mana."

"Ouch, I'm so sorry."

"Don't be for me. It's easier to burn off mana than it is to replenish it. Due to how large my reserves are, just casting spells willy-nilly is out of the question. The chances of the spell misfiring are tenfold of the average caster, so I must channel my energy through a focus to limit the chances of something like that happening."

Rowan then unzipped the K-9 vest to reveal that he was wearing his regular vest underneath it. The white dog then unzipped his regular vest to reveal crystals growing in divets made in even spaces.

"This vest collects my excess mana and stores them in crystals for my usage later. My guns, including yours, are made to use these as ammunition. I can even change the element stored in these crystals, wind, fire, water, etc given enough time and concentration."

Fox's ears folded closer and closer to his skull the more he heard about what Rowan had to do to survive. "You said not to be sorry for you. Is your brother the same?"

"I wish." Rowan chuckled. "Sometimes, I wished we could trade. Unfortunately, Kuya Zeke's condition is the opposite of mine. Where I make too much, Kuya Zeke doesn't make enough. Kuya Zeke is actually a lot like Sir Mungo. He might not look like it, but I've also seen Zeke lift a car, and that's the problem. Kuya Zeke is too strong; his body consumes five times the amount of mana than normal mortals to fuel that strength, but his body can't compensate by normal means. Still, his body tries; Zeke is constantly tired, hungry, and sleepy to make up for his body's demands, but it will never be enough. Fortunately, our conditions cancel each other out. He takes my excess, and I provide him enough mana to live some semblance of everyday life. This means we can never be apart because if we are anything caught within ten meters of Zeke when he hits empty gets their mana drained. His bracers have a slot for my crystals in the event we are separated but those only last a minute apiece. If Zeke runs out of places to draw mana from he…

Rowan couldn't finish the sentence, and he didn't have to. Fox felt a strange terror grip his heart. Had the stars not aligned, Zeke and Rowan would’ve never lived to adulthood. If Mungo had been afflicted with the same condition Fox shuddered to think about how short his life would’ve been cut.

“I’m so sorry.” Fox placed a hand on Rowan’s shoulder somewhat unsure if he was stepping his bounds.

Rowan forced a smile to the surface. “There are some perks though. It just means that I’ll never be alone; I’ll always have my Kuya.”

A minute passed without another exchange. Then another and finally a third. Fox just didn't know what else to say. He had never stopped to consider what possible downsides would've come with having powers. Even spending most of his time with Mungo didn't alleviate such a glaring oversight. Mungo accidentally crushing and or breaking something was just the norm. The hardships the three dogs would've had to endure for a simple life must've been staggering.

"Fox," the husky's radio pinned to his collar came to life with Mungo's voice. "We've got a situation."

Like a flick of the switch, Fox was in K-9 Officer mode. Any thoughts not relevant to the operation in his mind were neatly stored away for now. "I read you. what's going on?"

"He's here at the main entrance." at Mungo's warning; Fox turned to Rowan, who nodded and ran over to Zeke.

"Zeke, Rowan guard the swords," Fox commanded as he ran out of the exhibit. "I'll meet up with Mungo. Mungo, Is he trying anything?"

"Nothing yet; he's only walking towards the door," Mungo responded calmly as Fox bolted down the hallways. "But something's different."

"Different how?" Fox asked, trying to pick up the pace towards the entrance.

The only response Fox got was in the form of loud shattering glass. "MUNGO STATUS!?"

When no response came back, Zeke's voice came through instead. "What's happening to Sir Mungo!? Should we help!?"

"Negative! Zeke, Rowan, stand guard over the sword. Do not let him claim any of them! Do you understand!?"

"Yes, Boss!" came the twin's response.

As Fox pushed himself to get to the entrance, the sound of Mungo struggling and taking blows became apparent. Upon finally making it to the entrance, he found Suicune and Mungo clashing fists. Without some form of a sword at his side, Suicune resorted to somewhat standard punches and kicks. However, since the punches and kicks came from Suicune, they were still fast, and Fox knew they'd leave a nasty bruise if they found their mark.

Mungo pressed his offense. His sheer power and size easily outclassed Suicune, and all it took for him to win was to get close enough to land anything. However, Suicune had the speed advantage and weaved his way through most of Mungo's heavier blows.

"It doesn't have to be this way!" Mungo tried reasoning, but Suicune still kept up the fight. Fox knew Mungo only pressed his offense because Suicune would be taking the initiative if he didn't. "We can talk this out, but you need to stop going after the swords. Let go!"

When Suicune was backed into a corner, Fox saw Mungo raise his hands to create golden walls to limit Suicune's escape and deliver a knockout blow. Fox felt his heart cheer when Mungo was about to make contact, but it was too early. Rather than face Mungo head-on, Suicune made contact with the golden wall, and like in the cave with Kara, the mana bent to his will. Soon the wall disappeared to let Suicune escape, and now Suicune was equipped with a sword much like the one he conjured before. Taking advantage of the situation Suicune made a bold charge with the sword to which Mungo summoned his own weapons and armor in response.

Bright flashes of sky blue and gold exploded every time their weapons clashed, and each time Suicune was forced to back off due to the overwhelming difference in power. Due to his lack of abilities, Fox found himself hiding in the shadows waiting for the right moment to spring his attack and swing the fight in Mungo's favor.

Now Mungo was on the defensive. They were given explicit orders to keep the damage done to the museum to a minimum. Fox knew that Mungo was holding back and taking the blows without dishing any in return to comply with those orders. Not only that, Mungo had to dance around critical structures and such to keep them from harm. The statue in the center of Atlus holding the globe, the numerous columns that supported the second floor and ceiling from collapsing, and even the front desk. Mungo had to accomplish the herculean task of protecting himself and the building he fought in.

As discreetly as he could Fox made his way down the stairs that folded around the front desk to see if he could find an instant where he could turn the tables. However the closer he got to the fight the more Fox began to notice. Suicune's clothes were in tatters. His right sleeve was outright missing, and the hood that usually covered his ears was now torn off to reveal his head. The only thing that kept Fox from seeing his face was the bandana mask.

"I know you're upset!" Mungo tried to reason as he pushed Suicune back. "Your entire family line was tarnished because of the actions of one ancestor. But bringing vigilante justice won't do anything to change the past."

Suicune ignored Mungo's attempt to be diplomatic and charged straight for him. His light blue katana trailed imaginary water as he swung, only to be met with the blunt force of Mungo's golden shield.

"I know you've got a good heart. You were just helping these people. I know what it's like to get carried away with your powers, have your entire life upheaved by actions that happened millennia in the past, and be regarded as a monster because of those actions. So believe me when I say I'm trying to help you."

Mungo's pleading fell on deaf ears as Suicune managed to kick off Mungo's shield. However, rather than try to get away Suicune only gained height only to come crashing down as imaginary water shaped like a waterfall formed around Suicune. Fortunately, Mungo was fast enough to create a new shield that tanked the blow that shook the ground.

As Suicune and Mungo were caught in a stalemate Fox saw his opening. With Suicune locked in close combat with Mungo, he couldn’t pay attention to anything else around him. If Fox was ever going to find an opening, this was it. So he unholstered Rowan's gun and loaded the round labeled "force." When Suicune's sword and Mungo's shield clashed one more time, Fox steadied his aim and pulled the trigger.

When Frostbite unleashed the energy from the force round, Fox felt the hallmarks of firing a gun. The knockback, loud bang, and mechanisms ejecting an empty crystal from the chamber were similar to a standard Glock. However, the stand-out difference was that Fox saw an indentation appear briefly on Suicune's side rather than puncturing a wound into the target, almost as if an invisible force punched him. The aftermath of the blow was Suicune getting launched off of Mungo's shield and into a nearby column.

“Fox!?” Mungo yelled out in surprise. “Do you just shoot Suicune!?”

"Relax, it was with Rowan's gun. It doesn't use any bullets." Fox reasoned as he joined Mungo's side in looking over a hunched coughing Suicune.

"No, You shot him in the side." Mungo rushed over to the dog in concern. "Remember Suicune still has a cracked rib. You could've punctured a lung."

As Mungo approached Fox, saw Suicune's eyes. He glared at them through a red left and blue right eye, energy seemingly radiating off his pupils. Everything went into slow motion as Fox noticed a second sword materialize in Suicune’s hand. Then, using as much of his weight as possible, Fox latched onto Mungo's torso and pulled back, narrowly avoiding the two swords that slashed at Mungo's midsection.

Suicune stood tall over Mungo and Fox with more space to act, brandishing swords in both his hands. Suicune slowly approached, but Fox felt tugged backward and into the air suddenly. Surprised, Fox's grip on Mungo slipped, and Fox was airborne for only a moment before he landed on a golden platform Mungo hoisted over his shoulders as he flew. Rather than stand their ground, Fox felt the platform move towards the second floor and toward the sword exhibit while Suicune gave chase.

"What are you doing?" Fox yelled as he steadied his aim at Suicune as the dog gave chase. "We're leading him to the swords!"

"We don't have much choice; there's too much we could break, and if we're going to apprehend him without killing him, we need the extra manpower," Mungo yelled in response, strafing accordingly to avoid the incoming swords.

Due to most of his experience using firearms in the shooting gallery, Fox had an exceedingly difficult time getting a lock on Suicune. There wasn’t exactly a moving target option to practice with. The few times he managed to line up a decent shot, Suicune either ducked out of the way or deflected with his sword as he gave chase.

As Mungo strafed through the halls avoiding any swords hurled in their direction, Fox suddenly hatched an idea and brought his radio to life. "Zeke! Rowan! come in!"

"Boss, what do you need?" Zeke's voice returned through the radio

Fox took careful note of where they were and calculated the time. "Prepare an attack on the western entrance to the exhibit. we'll be there in 3 seconds!"

"What now!?" Rowan responded in a panic.

"2!" Fox ejected a spent round and loaded a new one to continue the onslaught.

"Oh, he means now. Alright, let's do this, Kuya! Leafstorm!"

"1!" A hurled sword flew overhead, only missing Fox's head by a few inches.

"I told you to stop calling it that!"

"NOW!"

Just like Fox had estimated there was only a small window that allowed him and Mungo to fly past the western entrance to the exhibit before a typhoon-like wind current blasted through it carrying with it dozens of leaves. The sheer amount of leaves was enough to swallow Suicune whole and the mysterious dog vanished behind the veil of foliage. However, a good second later and the assault of leaves died down as fast as it had come. At a glance, it looked like Suicune had been beaten and Fox and Mungo were about to celebrate their victory. However, it all came crashing down when the K-9 duo heard the sound of glass breaking.

Sharing a look of despair they immediately ran back towards the exhibit to see a horrifying sight. Rowan was on the floor, both his vests shredded to ribbons while Zeke was pinned through his vest with multiple swords holding him down. In front of the sword display case, Suicune’s silhouette took one of the swords and held it gingerly. From the looks of it, Fox noticed Zeke and Rowan’s attack managed to shred the vestiges of Suicune’s disguise. Even Mungo managed to spot such a crucial detail and created a bright light to finally see Suicune’s appearance for themselves.

What greeted them was a dog like they had expected but one that stood out by having stripes adorning his body. He had a built physique that spoke hours upon hours of intense training at a glance. The only remains of his outfit were torn jeans and the lower half of a hoodie that clung to his waist. Seeing that Fox and Mungo were still up and ready to go Suicune then faced them and brandished his true sword.

Image

End of Chapter 03

Obligatory Trivia section

1. Rowan saying Tay and To is a shortened version of "Tatay" which means dad/father and "Tito" which means Uncle.
2. Now that Rowan explained their powers I can finally reveal that Zeke and Rowan's names are puns.
Zeke - takes away mana meaning he's negative
Rowan - gives away mana making him positive
<--negative + Positive-->
Ze + Ro
Zero
3. Suicune's breed is real. Funny enough there's a Japanese breed called Tiger dogs in English or ToraInu and KaiKen in Japanese
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Last edited by Krytus The Dreamer on Mon Apr 25, 2022 1:48 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Live by the Sword

Post by D-Rock »

Askal seems to be acclimating to things really well. At least maybe now Pueblo can feel safe from Olive. :lol:

Have to agree with Fox, the situation with Zeke and Rowan sounds like a nightmare. Both are always only a few wrong steps from the worst.

And now Suicune has his sword. This can’t be good.
Faith doesn't change circumstances. Faith changes me.
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Amazee Dayzee
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Re: Live by the Sword

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

I can't wait to see what happens next. I hope that Zeke and Rowan are OK!
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Wrenisprobablyb0red
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Re: Live by the Sword

Post by Wrenisprobablyb0red »

Oh my goodness! I've been trying to create an account in this forum for like 5 months now. Finally managed to get it to work, and this is pretty much right where I went! I absolutely live for this story. It's brilliant. I especially like how Fox and Fido are portrayed. Really glad I could finally comment on it.
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Amazee Dayzee
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Re: Live by the Sword

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

Here is hoping that you will get to read the next chapter and comment on that also! ^_^
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