The Wolf Team Chronicles- Chapter 15
The Wolf Team Chronicles- Chapter 15
Chapter fifteen- A Balance in Everything
The main headquarters of the Red Sun Corporation was a large skyscraper right in the heart of the capital- one of it’s largest, in fact. Though there were many branches throughout England, the London branch was the main one, and the place where the majority of the big executive decisions were made. It was here, outside the entrance to the building, that Wanda Bridges emerged from her car. She let out a yawn as she walked through the front door. It had been a very busy day at the company, and she had wanted to get some sleep. However, it seemed as though that was not going to be the case...
“Oh, hello Miss Bridges.” said the receptionist as she looked up from her desk. “Rather late, isn’t it?”
“Indeed.” Wanda replied. “However, as much as I would like to go to bed, I was called here by Dr. Gray. He said it was urgent. Is he in his usual spot?”
“I should imagine so. He’s always been cooped up in that laboratory. Go there and see if he’s around.”
Wanda gave a small “Mmhmm” and headed towards one of the lifts. It took her down into the basement, where most of the company’s experimental technology was being developed. She made her way through the security systems- first a card key lock, then a retinal scan further down, and ending with a hand scanner- before finally coming to a large laboratory filled with high tech equipment and gizmos. She wandered around, hoping to find the person she was looking for.
“Ah! Miss Bridges! I’m so glad you could come!” said a voice from behind her.
Wanda jumped and turned around to see a middle aged man with greying hair and a lab coat. He was wearing an ID card that read “Dr Alvin Gray”.
“Doctor, how many times have I told you not to sneak up on me like that? It’s rather creepy.”
“Well, I wouldn’t say I snuck up on you. I heard you come in, and you walked past where I was. So, I had to get you attention somehow. I can’t help it if you don’t call out to m-”
“I don’t want to hear it, Doctor.” Wanda snapped. “All I want to know is why you called me out here in the middle of the night. This had better be good...”
“Oh, believe me, it is.” said Dr. Gray, rubbing his hands with glee. “I wanted to show you something you’ve never seen before. Something... truly incredible.”
Wanda rubbed the edges of her eyes.
“Alright, I’m listening. Is this something to do with what happened last night? I heard something about some of our men being killed in a training exercise. I’ve been so busy, I never got the chance to inquire about that.”
“Yes it is. Both teams were wiped out by an unknown creature save for Blue Leader and one other. They’ve both had a check up following the incident, and they’re both doing fine.”
“Good. I would have hated to lose Blue Leader. He’s our very best. So wait, did they-?”
“Capture their attacker? Yes they did! Not alive unfortunately, but that’s okay. Even dead, this is is something quite remarkable. Please, follow me.”
Dr. Gray led Wanda to an autopsy table with something large covered in a white sheet. Wanda looked at it with some curiosity.
“So, whatever is underneath this sheet managed to outwit and kill some of our best soldiers? Who is it?”
“Not who. What. This, my dear, is something else entirely. Look, and be amazed!”
With that rather cheesy use of showmanship, Dr. Gray pulled off the sheet to reveal a large wolf like creature. It was covered in grey fur, and had several bullet holes in it’s head. Wanda looked at the beast, not sure of what to think.
“Magnificent, isn’t it?”
“Oh, my. What... is it?”
“That’s a good question. As you can no doubt see, this creature closely resembles a wolf, but slightly more humanoid. I’m still waiting on Blue Leader’s report on the attack to get some more information, but from what I’ve heard, it was hunting both squads down. Perhaps it was acting on pure instinct, perhaps not. But what I can tell is, this is no mere animal. I think what we have here might just be a genuine, bona fide werewolf!”
“A... werewolf? But that’s just a legend.”
“Maybe. But again, maybe not. I want to run some tests on this thing to be sure, but it’s certainly not like anything else. I’ve become quite besotted with it. Imagine what we can learn from such a-”
“I think I get the idea. You’re right, this is truly fascinating. Even if it isn’t a werewolf, it’s still worth investigating. We may even be able to make use of it’s DNA, if we can extract it. The research possibilities are endless. I wonder where it came from?”
“I have no idea, but I can’t wait to find out. I can get to work on this as soon as you give the word. I assume you’re as curious as I am, yes?”
Wanda looked at the creature with a smirk.
“Oh, yes I am. Let’s see if we can find out it’s secrets...”
Three weeks later...
“The four of you have done quite well today.” said Miyuki as Anna, Kelly, Amanda and Lucy stood in front of her, all in their wolf forms. “I dare say, Anna in particular has been improving significantly since her training started.”
“Ah, I wouldn’t say that.” said Anna, blushing. “That’s only because I’ve had a head start. I’d say the others have at least been on par with how I was before the last full moon. Even better, in fact.”
“Nonetheless, you’re not as clumsy as you were before. You still have some way to go before you can truly consider yourself a good fighter, but you are certainly getting there. You all are.”
“Thanks.” said Amanda. “Nice to see the last three weeks of training haven’t gone to waste, then.”
“Nope.” said Kelly. “I don’t feel like I can take a whole army, but at the least I’ve got the basics down. I could probably take down the average thug at least.”
“Same. But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. As Miyuki said, we still have some way to go.”
The group were currently standing in the spare room of The Lucky Fox, where Miyuki had been spending the day teaching them how to fight. They were all wearing Karate style outfits with the exception of Anna, who was wearing her usual ninja costume. They had all worked up a good sweat, but it seemed as though Miyuki wasn’t quite done for the day...
“Indeed. Thankfully for you though, I have only one more exercise in store for you before we call it a day. It’s nothing complicated, in fact it’s more of a sparring session.”
“Huh. Sparring?” said Anna. “As in, with each other?”
“No.” Miyuki replied, moving into a combat stance. “With me. I want each of you to try and attack me. The aim is to get just one hit. I’ll warn you now, though- it’ll be easier said than done. If I knock you down, you fail. Kelly, we’ll start with you.”
“Well, okay then.” said Kelly, also preparing her stance. “This should be fun.”
Kelly rushed at Miyuki and threw a punch at her, but she caught it and hit her in the stomach with enough force to floor her.
“You okay, Kel?” asked Anna as she helped Kelly up.
“Agh, I will be. That... was kinda embarrassing.”
“I’m afraid you’ve lost this round.” said Miyuki, putting her hands behind her back. “Amanda, it’s your turn. Try and hit me with everything you have, and try and stay on your feet.”
“Alright.” said Amanda. “Let’s see how this goes.”
Amanda dashed forward and unleashed a series of punches and kicks towards Miyuki. However, she simply bobbed and weaved her way through them, avoiding every last one of them. Amanda then launched a high kick towards Miyuki’s head, but she simply ducked it and, with a well aimed kick, knocked her feet away. Amanda tumbled to the ground, defeated.
“You failed as well.” said Miyuki as Lucy helped Amanda back up. “You’re at least using your superior speed to your advantage, but your focus is lacking. As a result, your attacks were sloppy. Try to think about your blows next time. Anyway, it’s your turn, Lucy. As with Kelly and Amanda, try and get one hit on me without being knocked down.”
“Right.” said Lucy. “I’ll give it all I’ve got!”
Lucy ran towards Miyuki like Kelly and Amanda before her, but instead of attacking she jumped right over her and delivered a fierce roundhouse kick. However, Miyuki jumped over it and hit Lucy in the chest with a flying kick. Lucy tumbled backwards and fell.
“A good attempt.” said Miyuki. “Had it not been me, that attack would most likely have landed perfectly. However, that was still not enough. You have failed as well. Anna? It’s now your turn.”
“Sure.” said Anna as Amanda picked Lucy up. “I’m not gonna go easy on you, though!”
Anna slowly paced her way towards Miyuki, and once she got close enough she delivered a big uppercut. Miyuki dodged it, then Anna let loose with a flurry of straight jabs. Sadly, they all missed. Knowing Anna was wide open, Miyuki went on the offensive with an elbow strike. Anna was just about able to read the attack in time, and she just barely managed to block. Seeing an opening, she immediately grabbed Miyuki and threw her with all her might. However, it turned out to be a little bit too much might- for her throw sent Miyuki all the way across the room and straight through the wall. She landed right next to Ethyl at the bar counter, and all of the customers turned to look- including Amy, who had been chatting to some of the regulars while the others had been receiving their training.
“Oh geez, you okay?” said Ethyl as she helped Miyuki up. “That looked nasty!”
“I’m fine.” said Miyuki, rather sheepishly. “I think... I underestimated Anna’s strength. She probably underestimated it as well...”
“Uh... Haha... Um, sorry about that, everyone!” said Anna, realising that the pub’s patrons could see her through the hole in the wall she created. “Just a little sparring session. I’m, uh... a little stronger than I look. Miyuki’ll be alright. Hopefully...”
“Yes, I shouldn’t worry.” said Miyuki, trying to regain her composure. “I’ve taken far worse hits than that. However, I think it’s safe to say we’re done for the day. Good work, everyone.”
Everyone bowed as Miyuki re entered the spare room through the hole in the wall. Miyuki bowed back.
“Nice!” said Kelly. “Time for a few cold beers to unwind!”
“Sounds good to me.” said Amanda. “I just hope Amy kept our table warm.”
As the rest of the group took their leave, Anna approached Miyuki with an apologetic look in her face.
“You sure you’re okay, Miyuki?” said Anna, as the other left. “I mean, I just threw you right through a wall. Sorry about that, by the way...”
“Think nothing of it.” Miyuki replied. “As I said just now, I’ve had far worse. It... might cost a little bit to repair that wall, though.”
“Yeah... Well, as it was my fault, I’d happily pay for the repairs if needs be.”
“That’s kind of you. I’ll see how much it costs, and we can work something out. In any case, I’m sure you’re desperate for a drink as well. Why not join the others?”
“That was the plan. Thanks again for the lesson!”
Miyuki smiled as Anna left the spare room to rejoin the others, who were now sitting on a table with Amy and three of the pub’s regulars. One was a male elf with long blonde hair, glasses and a light blue robe like outfit, another was a dwarf with dark brown hair and a matching beard, and the last person was an orc with black hair, big teeth, grey trousers and a dark brown armless jacket which was left wide open, showing off his otherwise bare chest.
“Hi guys.” said Anna to the three patrons as she sat down next to Amy. “Hope you haven’t been bothering Amy here too much!”
“Oh, of course not.” said Orion, the elf. “She’s rather fun to drink with, as it goes.”
“And honestly? These guys are quite fun to talk to.” said Amy, sipping on a bottle of cider. “Never thought I’d be having a casual chat with a bunch of fantasy creatures, but hey.”
“Life sure knows how to throw a curveball, huh?” said Lucy, chuckling.
“The real question is,” said Kelly. “Have you tried outdrinking them yet?”
“Hell, no!” said Amy. “That’s not my thing. I mean, even if it was, Orion’s kind of a lightweight. Angus and D’argesh, though? Just look at them!”
“’Tis true. Don’t think she’s quite ready to go up against D’argesh and I yet when it comes to downing the booze.” said Angus, the dwarf. “Once she shifts for the first time, though...”
“That’d be fun.” said D’argesh, the orc. “A drinking competition between us and the lot of you? I’d like to see how a pack of werewolves would stack against us.”
“Sorry to let you down,” said Amanda. “But our metabolisms are way higher than even yours. It’s actually really hard for us to get drunk. We could booze out for hours and still be fine.”
“Aye, that’s true.” said Angus. “Still, would make for quite an evening if you’re ever up for it.”
Anna had become good friends with Orion, Angus and D’argesh since she started frequenting The Lucky Fox. They were always the first to offer her a drink after a long training session with Miyuki, and as Amy said, they were quite the fun group to talk with. As the group chatted amongst themselves, a pretty snow leopard girl wearing a cute waitress outfit approached them with a tray of drinks.
“Hi guys!” she said. “Got your drinks right here. Looks like some of you could really use them.”
“I certainly do, thanks Rachel.” said Kelly as she took the drinks and handed them around. “Think Miyuki could probably use one the most right now, though.”
“I’ll say. Anna threw her pretty hard back there. Looks like she has some real hidden muscle!”
“I think it might be a unique ability.” said Lucy as Anna simply blushed. “It seems like she has super strength from the looks of it.”
“Yeah...” Anna replied. “It only seems to happen when I really put some force into my attacks, though. Wonder if that’s some kind of safety measure so I don’t go breaking everything I touch?”
“Maybe.” said Kelly. “Why not try arm wrestling D’argesh? See how that goes.”
“Kel, I really don’t think I want to do any more damage than I already have today...”
“Then, why not try something a little less messy?” said Rachel. “In fact, how about a little wager? D’argesh here says that there’s nothing out there that even fazes him. Think you can? If you can scare him, the drinks are on the house. If you fail, you’ll have to pay the whole tab. What do you think?”
“Hmm.” said Anna, thinking. “Scaring an orc isn’t easy, but I think I may have just the thing. Okay, you’re on!”
“Oh?” said D’argesh as Anna pulled out her phone. “You seem sure of yourself. But I can assure you, it takes a lot to get to me.”
“No doubt there.” said Anna, tapping the screen a few times. “It seems like most of the Inner World’s residents are like that. However, most of you aren’t too familiar with Public Information Films...”
“Uh oh.” said Amanda. “I can see where this is going.”
“Here we go!” said Anna. “Take a look at this anti drug PIF from Scotland. If this doesn’t creep you out, nothing will!”
“I’ll believe that when I see it.” said Orion. “I must admit though, I’m rather curious myself.”
Orion and Angus gathered around D’argesh as Anna tapped the screen to play the video. She then handed the phone to D’argesh and sat down with a smug look on her face to wait for the inevitable reaction.
“So...” said Kelly. “They’re not watching the one with the Polaroid, are they?”
“Yup.” Anna replied. “And... Three, two, one...”
“By the goddesses...”
“Well, I don’t think I’ll be sleeping for the next few days...”
Anna tried desperately not too laugh as D’argesh put the phone on the table.
“Alright, you win. That was pretty disturbing.”
“Told you.” replied Anna. “Plenty more out there where that came from. If you want to see more, there’s loads of countdown videos of these things on YouTube. I’ll warn you now though, they can get pretty extreme.”
“Yes, well. I don’t think there’s any rush to do so.” said Orion. “Maybe some other time.”
“In any case, we just scored ourselves some free drinks!” said Amy. “Cheers, Anna.”
“You’re quite welcome.”
“Alright, don’t get too full of yourself.” said Lucy. “You managed to floor a Kyuubi and give an orc nightmares, but that doesn’t mean you’re something special. That kind of cockiness can land you in trouble.”
“She’s right.” said Rachel. “Congrats on winning the bet, but don’t let it go to your head.”
“I know, I know. Besides, I got lucky with Miyuki. Speak of the devil...”
Everyone turned around to see Miyuki standing there holding an ice pack to her forehead.
“Causing even more commotion, I see.” she said. “What am I going to do with you?”
Rachel giggled as Anna laughed nervously. Before anyone could reply to Miyuki’s remark however, a male cheetah rushed into the pub in a panic. Everyone turned to look at him as the pub went silent.
“We’ve got trouble!” he said. “There’s another Wraithwyrm on the loose, and it’s attacking everyone! We’re holding it off as best we can, but if we don’t hurry, it could escape into the Outer World!”
“Dammit.” said Miyuki. “The attacks have been increasing lately. That can’t be a coincidence.”
“I’m sorry, what?” said Kelly. “A Wraith... Worm?”
“The hell’s that? And why can’t it be a coincidence?” said Amanda.
“Everyone, I have to go.” said Miyuki. “Do yourselves a favour and stay here. You’d only be putting yourselves in unnecessary danger if you come with me. I’ll be right back.”
Miyuki rushed out of the pub with the cheetah, leaving Anna and the others looking bewildered.
“What... just happened?” said Lucy. “What did Miyuki say about attacks?”
“A Wraithwyrm.” said D’argesh. “Nasty little buggers. Make life a misery for us Inner Worlders. Tough, too.”
“Well, if there’s trouble, we can’t just stand here and do nothing!” said Anna. “Miyuki’s gonna need our help!”
“I wouldn’t if I were you.” said Angus. “Ya don’ want to be messing with Wraithwyrms. Even Miyuki struggles with ‘em.”
“That’s all the more reason she needs our help!”
Anna ran for the pub’s exit, but Rachel grabbed her arm to stop her.
“Please Anna, just let Miyuki do this without you.” she said “She told you to stay put for a reason. You don’t know what you’d be getting yourself into. Wraithwyrms are extremely dangerous. This needs to be handled by those who know how to deal with them.”
“Sorry, but I swore I’d use my abilities to help people. If innocent people are getting hurt, I have to do something no matter how dangerous it is. What kind of superhero would I be if I did nothing? I’m going, and that’s that!”
Anna wrestled herself free and rushed out of the pub.
“A-Anna!” said Amanda.
“Think we’d better go after her to make sure she doesn’t do anything stupid.” said Kelly. “Amy, can you stay here? This is probably the sort of fight you should stay out of for now.”
“Sure.” said Amy. “Make sure to give her a good slap from me, will you?”
Kelly nodded and took off after Anna with Amanda and Lucy right behind her.
Anna had never really set foot in the Inner World outside of The Lucky Fox, so she was quite surprised when she saw the streets. They looked very similar to the big old buildings in the Outer World, but without the taller buildings like skyscrapers. Instead of the tarmac she was used to, the ground was lined with cobblestones. This gave the streets something of a Victorian feel to them. However, the streets were all empty. It seemed as though most of the inhabitants had gone inside to stay out of danger. Anna didn’t have much time to look around, but she saw a few strange looking shops- an old book shop or two, a magic potion shop... and a video game shop, which seemed strangely out of place. Nonetheless, she had no real time to look around. She had to find Miyuki. Suddenly, her ears caught the sound of what seemed to be a fight going on in the distance. That had to be it! Anna dropped to all fours and sped off in the direction of the sound.
She soon found herself in what appeared to be the central area of the city. It was a wide open space that resembled a town square. In the centre were four statues representing beautiful looking female Furs, but they weren’t what Anna was looking at. Instead, her eyes were fixed on the big monster that was running amok. She had no idea what she was seeing, but it looked like a hideous, flesh coloured giant worn with four legs that bore long, sharp looking claws. It also had a large mouth full of nasty looking teeth. It was huge- at least twice the size of the feral that she fought back at the Natural History Museum. Several people were scattered about, either hurt or trapped behind rubble, with a few orcs trying to get them out. A couple of furs and dwarves ran past her in fear of their lives. Looking at the monster, she could see why they were afraid.
“Holy shit, that’s a big boy right there...” she thought as she saw the monster swipe one of it’s front legs at something, trying to crush it. On closer inspection, it was Miyuki! She darted around to dodge the blows, finally jumping up and landing on top of the beast. She then tried to grab as much of it’s neck as she could, and attempted to ride it like a cowboy on a bull in a rodeo. However, it ultimately managed to throw her off and into a nearby building.
“Miyuki!” shouted Anna as she ran over to Miyuki to help her up.
“Anna?” Miyuki replied. “Didn’t I tell you to stay at the pub?”
Before Anna could say anything, Kelly, Amanda and Lucy showed up behind her.
“Sorry about that.” said Kelly. “Anna here was being a stubborn dumbarse, and decided you needed her help. We’re just here to take her back-”
Suddenly, the beast made another swipe at the group, causing everyone to scatter. They all landed at various spots around the square, and took another look at the rampaging creature.
“Is- is that a Wraithwyrm?” said Lucy.
“Yes, it is.” said Miyuki. “This thing is far too much for any of you to handle, but since you’re here you can still make yourselves useful. There should still be some people in trouble around here. Can you get them to safety?”
“Of course.” said Amanda. “Leave it to us.”
“That includes you too, Anna.” said Miyuki. “Please, forget about fighting and just help the people here.”
“Right.” said Anna. As much as she wanted to fight alongside Miyuki, she did say she wanted to help everyone more than anything. At least this way she was still doing something... Amanda and Lucy ran over to help an elf who had cut his arm on a piece of broken glass while Kelly carried off a male German Shepard fur who had broken his leg. Anna saw an orc trying to lift a piece of rubble that had trapped another Fur- this time a female cat.
“Hey! Need some help?” said Anna as she rushed to the orc’s side.
“Sure.” the orc replied. “Grab the other side of that rubble and help me lift it!”
Anna complied and grabbed one side of the rubble while the orc grabbed the other. The two pulled up the piece of rubble and threw it to one side to get the cat girl out.
“Thank y- Watch out!” the girl started before pointing behind Anna and the orc. The wraithwyrm was right behind them and had launched a swipe at them. The orc was hit and was sent halfway across the square, leaving Anna alone to face the monster. She tensed up her arm as much as she could, and threw a punch with as much force as she could muster in the hope of unleashing her mighty super punch. However, she was shocked when her punch phased right through the monster- almost as if it was like a ghost.
“What the hell? That was a clean hit!”
Before Anna could think any further about the situation, the wraithwyrm raised one of it’s front legs and brought it down on top of her. She cried out in pain as it pressed it’s foot down harder before raising it’s foot to deliver one final blow. Suddenly, a Stasis Disc hit the wraithwyrm, slowing it down before it could bring it’s foot down again. While it was in it’s slower state, Amanda rushed in with her super speed, grabbed Anna and the cat girl from the floor and rushed away before it returned to normal and smashed it’s foot on the floor.
“U-ugh... T-thanks... Amanda...” said Anna. “That... was close…”
“How are you feeling? Can you move?” said Amanda.
“I, uh- OW! Everything... hurts. Fuck.. It’s a... struggle... to even... breathe right... right now...”
“Alright. Rest here for a bit. Your healing should kick in soon, and you’ll feel better.”
Amanda set Anna down and leaned her against a lamp post to recover while handing the grateful cat girl to a nearby elf as Kelly and Lucy showed up.
“Phew, good thing I had that spare Stasis Disc.” said Kelly. “If I didn’t, you’d have been dead by now.”
Anna tried to reply, but she could barely even open her mouth without feeling a terrible stab of pain. It was clear she was in no condition to move.
“Uh, ladies?” said Lucy. “That monster is right behind us.”
Lucy pointed to the wraithwyrm, which was advancing towards the group.
“Shit, this is bad.” said Amanda. “We can’t stop this thing!”
Suddenly, a big wall of ice appeared right in front of the group. The wraithwyrm tried to break through it, but to no avail. With that, Miyuki dropped down in front of everyone.
“Miyuki!” said Kelly. “Did you make all this ice?”
“Yes, I did.” Miyuki replied. “I know I haven’t told you this yet, but ice magic- specifically water- is actually my speciality. That can wait until another time, though. How’s Anna?”
“She’s hurt really bad.” said Lucy. “She needs time to recover.”
“This is why I told you all to stay put. Still, it won’t be long now...”
The wraithwyrm continued to try and break through the ice, until it finally succeeded with a powerful strike. It paced towards Miyuki, who stayed absolutely still. Before it could get too close however, it suddenly came to a stop- surprising everyone except Miyuki.
“What’s going on?” said Amanda as a blue barrier appeared around the wraithwyrm.
The wolves looked around and saw two people behind the wraithwyrm- a male elf and a female fennec fur. Both were dressed in robes similar to the one Orion wore, and were carrying a book in one hand while waving the other in the air, like they were casting a spell of some kind. Miyuki waved one of her hands in the air as well, and the barrier grew more intense, trapping the wraithwyrm.
“Now!” Miyuki shouted towards the two mages. All three of them closed their hands and there was a flash of light. Once it had passed, the wraithwyrm was nowhere to be seen. Miyuki breathed a sigh of relief.
“There we go. We won’t be hearing from that one any time soon.”
“What just happened?” said Kelly. “What did you do to that thing?”
“We sent it to Zero Space. Essentially, the rift between the Inner and Outer Worlds. It’s exactly as the name implies- nothing but empty space. The wraithwyrm won’t be able to do any harm there.”
“So, it’s over?” said Lucy.
“For now, yes. However, there will be more where that came from. This will be far from the end of it, I’m afraid. In any case, we’re done here. Grab Anna and take her back to the pub. I still need to take care of a few things here, but I’ll be back there soon. I suppose I have a lot of explaining to do...”
The group all nodded, and Kelly and Lucy picked Anna up.
“O-ow!” said Anna. Her body was starting to heal itself, but she was still in a lot of pain.
“Sorry.” said Kelly. “We’d better get you back, eh?”
Anna said nothing as Kelly and Lucy began to carry her back to the pub, leaving Miyuki to help with the clean up.
By the time Miyuki got back, Anna was already well on her way to recovery. In addition to her healing abilities, Orion had used his own healing magic to speed things up a bit. Because of this, he was the only one of the customers who hadn’t gone home following the incident. That just left Ethyl, Kelly, Lucy, Amanda and Amy as the only other people in the building. Anna was also the only one of the werewolves who was still in her wolf form- the others had turned back and were back in their normal clothes.
“How are you feeling now, Anna?” said Miyuki.
“Better, thanks.” said Anna. “Man, that thing hit really hard. I’m gonna be feeling that for days.”
“That’s precisely why I told you not to get involved. You had no idea what you were getting into back there. Not only are wraithwyrms incredibly strong, they are also immune to physical attacks. They are like, well, ghosts. Wraiths, as the name implies. The only thing that can actually harm them is magic, which none of you know how to use. Still... We were able to get a lot of people to safety, and a lot of that is down to you. Just try not to be so reckless next time, okay?”
“Well, I only fought back because it cornered us. But yeah, I’ll be more careful next time.”
“So, what exactly is a wraithwyrm anyway?” said Amanda. “I’ve never heard of those before.”
“That’s because there aren’t any legends about them.” said Orion. “Wraithwyrms are amongst the few creatures in the Inner World that doesn’t have any myth or legend attached to them, so humans know nothing of them. How do I explain it? They are effectively in the same class as demons. Creatures that are born of pure chaos and exist only to destroy. As you saw, they are capable of quite a bit of destruction. Even those of us from the Inner World, who are capable of much more than humans, find them difficult to deal with. If they were ever to break through to the Outer World, the amount of damage and death would be even greater.”
“Wait... We enter the Inner World through The Lucky Fox, right?” said Amy. “Isn’t that the only way here through the Outer World? Wouldn’t that mean that anything that would want to go to the Outer World would have to go through here?”
“Not at all.” said Miyuki. “The Lucky Fox does indeed act as a gateway between the worlds, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only way through. As you know, both worlds run parallel to each other. Though there a few official ways to travel between them, there can also be irregularities between them as well. In other words, if one was to find such an irregularity, they could use it to travel between worlds from there. Many demons- wraithwyrms included- seek them out in the hope of travelling to the Outer World to run amok there. Humans are ill prepared to deal with such a threat, so if anything like that does break through, the Outer World is most likely doomed. It seems more monsters like that have been emerging lately, and there have been reports of more irregularities appearing as well. This has to be because the balance has become weaker than ever.”
“The Balance?” said Kelly. “Is that like the Force or something?”
“No. I refer to the balance between the two worlds. As long as there is balance, the worlds will coexist without any problems. However, as that balance crumbles, things become more erratic. In particular, the appearance of both demons and irregularities. As the demons are limited to the Inner World, the Outer World is safe as long as the irregularities are closed as soon as possible. Sometimes, other creatures can find their way to the Outer World purely by mistake- like the orc that Amanda and Lucy fought the day we first met.”
“Right.” said Lucy. “It turned out that it was D’argesh, who was extremely drunk and found his way to the Outer World without even realising it... Amanda and I fought him thinking he was a threat, but in reality he was just drunk and confused.”
“I did offer to walk him home that day.” said Orion, sighing. “But he was all “I dunn need ta be wolkd hom! I ‘kin find ma way bak no prblm!” I really should have insisted.”
“I dunno, it was because of that we met Miyuki.” said Amanda. “Considering how much we owe her, I think that was a good thing.”
“Guess it wasn’t so good for poor D’argesh though.” said Anna.
“Oh don’t worry about him.” said Orion. “Though it’s fair to say he had more than just a hangover the next morning, he’s always been very resilient. Anyway, I must be off. Everyone else has gone home, and I’ve done all I can for Anna. I’ll see you all again later. Oh, and Amy? I hope your first transformation come the next full moon goes smoothly.”
“Thanks.” said Amy. “If what the others told me is anything to go by, it should go alright.”
“Yeah, take care Orion.” said Anna. “Thanks for patching me up.”
“Think nothing of it. I just hope you won’t go rushing into situations like that again.”
Everyone watched Orion leave, and then Kelly spoke up.
“Right, sooo... Was there an irregularity when that wraithwyrm attacked?”
“Yes, there was.” said Miyuki. “And it was very close to finding it too. Thankfully, we were able to find it ourselves and close it. However, like the wraithwyrm and any other demon, there will be others. It’s most likely going to get worse over time as well.”
“So, what’s causing this balance to go haywire?” said Amanda.
“I wish I knew. Minerva asked me to investigate it, but so far I haven’t been able to find any clues regarding the reason.”
“Minerva?” asked Anna.
“Ah, right. That’s something I never told any of you. I’ve already told you about the balance, but what I haven’t mentioned is that there are four goddesses who watch over it. They each relate to the four elements, and have the power to control them. Minerva is the goddess of fire, and there is also Tabitha, goddess of air, Siren, goddess of water and Sara, goddess of Earth. They all watch over the balance in the land of Eden. I believe I told Anna about it? Well, Eden is where the goddesses live and operate. However, despite their powers, they are unable to leave Eden for extended periods of time. They can for a little while, but they are ultimately bound to Eden, and as such can only appear in our realm for a short period of time. So in order to help maintain the balance, they sent some of their power to the Earth so it could be manifested into a physical form- one that could do what they cannot do themselves. Those powers manifested themselves into the kitsune. That’s why we are technically the guardians of the two worlds.”
“W-wow. That’s amazing.” said Kelly. “So, if you’re basically a manifestation of the goddesses powers, is that why you can use magic?”
“Not quite. After all, it’s not just us who can use magic, as you saw earlier. Anyone can use it, even humans. However, the goddesses powers are the main source of our own. It’s just that we have expanded on it, so we can do things even the goddesses can’t. However, since we are born of the goddesses’ power, we are bound to the elements we are born from. I was born with the power of Siren, so I specialise in water and ice magic. I can use other elements as well, but I had to learn how to use them with practice, and I am most effective with water. All other kyuubi... They too are bound to a specific element, and this differs between them.”
“I think I get it.” said Lucy. “The goddesses can’t do much on their own, so they created you with their own powers? So, they’re basically your eyes and ears?”
“More or less. If things get really bad they do have a tendency to show up to help, but they can only do so much before they are forcibly returned to Eden.”
“Right. That’s too bad, they really could have been useful.” said Anna. “Now that I think about it, I wonder if the werewolves that attacked us came through one of these irregularities you mentioned?”
“Highly doubtful. Like I said before, I’ve been unaware of any other werewolves in London apart from you, and if any escaped from the Inner World, I would have found out about it. No, I think these ones, including their master, are from the Outer World. However, I don’t think there’s no connection here. It could be possible that they’re somewhat responsible for the recent shifts in the balance.”
“Either way, we have to do something about them.” said Kelly. “I dunno about demons and wraithwyrms, but we at least have some idea of how to fight other werewolves, or at least ferals. Thanks to the training Miyuki’s been giving us, I think we’ll be better prepared for them. Of course, my gadgets will also help...”
“Will that be enough, though?” said Amanda.
“We’ll probably find out soon enough.” said Anna. “Also, we’ll have Amy joining us after the next full moon. Maybe Kisa as well, if she really has been turned.”
“Oh yes, that reminds me.” said Miyuki. “Have you heard from Kisa lately?”
“Nope.” said Amy. “The evening after the whole business at the Natural History Museum, the news reported about Kisa’s attack and there was a big media circus about it. After she was released from hospital, the press kept hounding her, so she went off to a friend’s house in Manchester to let the heat die down. We haven’t seen her all month. Not even Poppy has heard from her.”
“I see. I just hope you’ll be able to find out whether or not she’s really been turned before the next full moon. If she has, and we don’t warn her, her first transformation could cause her to panic...”
“Yeah...” said Lucy. “I can’t help but worry a little bit about her.”
“Well, we’re just going to have to cross that bridge when we get to it.” said Anna. “Either way, I just hope everything will turn out okay in the end.”
“Me too.” said Miyuki. “Because I fear you’re going to need all the help you can get soon. Especially if something does end up breaking out into the Outer World.”
Anna took a deep breath. The wraithwyrm they fought earlier was certainly very strong. Would there be more than that in the future? She had only really planned to use her powers to fight crime, but it looked like her intentions were about to go far beyond that...
That night, Poppy lay on her sofa watching the news. It was currently covering a piece on a new musical that had just opened in the west end. It wasn’t very interesting, but at least it wasn’t about Kisa. In fact, the media stopped reporting about the incident at the Natural History Museum a few weeks ago.
“I wonder when Kisa will come back?” Poppy thought to herself. “Things are clearly more quiet regarding her now, so I would have thought she would have returned home by now. I just hope she comes back before the next full moon. If she really has been turned, it’d probably be best if she became a werewolf here in London, where the others can take care of her...”
As she continued to think, the phone rang. Poppy rushed over to it and answered.
“Hi, Poppy? It’s Kisa. Sorry I haven’t called in a while. I’ve been trying to keep off the grid, you know?”
“Oh hi, Kisa!” Poppy replied excitedly. “Oddly enough, I was just thinking about you. How are you right now?”
“Never been better. Tanya’s been a great host, and quite patient with me. It take it the media’s shut up about me now?”
“Oh, yeah. They haven’t mentioned you in ages. Are you planning to come home soon?”
“Well, I did promise I’d stay a little longer and help organise a birthday party for one of Tanya’s friends next week, so I won’t be coming back immediately. However, I’ve been planning to come home the day after, which is next... Wednesday, I think?”
“Next Wednesday, huh?”
Poppy paced over to her calendar to look up the following Wednesday. That would be when the next full moon would be. That gave her an idea.
“That’s great! Say, how about you stop by at my house once you leave the train station, and you can stay the night? We can catch up on things and maybe even watch a few movies together?”
“Hmm. Your house is closer than mine, and I’ll be pretty knackered once I get back. Sure, why not? I know there’s a lot I want to chat with you about. Okay, I’ll be over as soon as I get back on Wednesday. See you then!”
Kisa hung up, and Poppy put the phone down.
“Okay, that’s good.” she thought. “Since it’s a full moon next Wednesday, I’ll be able to keep an eye on her. If she becomes a werewolf, I’ll be here to help convince her she’ll be fine. I just hope things turn out okay...”
Poppy quickly picked her phone up again and called Anna.
“Hi, Poppy. What’s up?”
“Hi, Anna. How was your training with Miyuki today?”
“It was... something, alright. Let’s just say there’s a lot to talk about.”
“Okay, but first, I need to say something about Kisa. She just called me, and it’s given me an idea on what to do about her regarding the next full moon.”
“Oh? I’m listening...”