WOLF'S RAIN- THE JOURNEY TO PARADISE
THE FALLEN KEEP
The howling wind was bitter and fresh, throwing snow into the beaten faces of the wolves.
Asante- who was now walking, despite her limp- and Tsume trailed Kiba, who once again was racing ahead.
Hige, who was a little further back, turned to see the others.
Sue, Toboe and Blue had fallen considerably behind, their bodies completely frozen by the harsh wind.
"Kiba, wait!" Hige called up to him.
Asante limped a few paces further, and then looked back, meeting Hige's eyes with concern. She looked forward to Kiba, who seemed unaffected by the snowstorm.
Hige, who by this time was bristling with anger, sprinted past the two of them, grabbing Kiba by the shoulder, pulling him backwards.
"Damn it, will you wait up?!" Hige hollered above the wind.
Kiba looked back at him with shock.
Hige panted for a few seconds.
"Come on Kiba," Asante growled lowly filling Hige's silence. "You're moving way too fast. You're not using your head."
"Let's take a break." Hige said gruffly.
"We don't have time for that." Kiba replied.
"Would you use your head for once? We have a three girls and a kid with us. And Asante's injured. You don't think Kiba. You don't stop to consider us."
"We can hear you, you know." Blue said, somehow managing to talk without panting.
"Don't worry about us," said Sue waving Hige's words away. "We can keep up."
"Yeah, me too!" Toboe said defiantly, looking up.
"You realise, he's the one who wants to rest don't you?" Tsume stated.
"I do not!" Hige retorted. "I just-"
"But you've got to admit he does have a point." Tsume finished.
Kiba stared daggers back at the grey wolf.
By this time Asante had truly had enough.
She walked towards Kiba and spun him to face her, holding him by the top of his shirt.
He struggled in her grip and she hissed.
"You listen, LISTEN TO ME! At the rate you've been pushing us; none of us will ever make it. You've got a brain. USE IT." Asante snarled, dropping Kiba back onto the ground so he landed in a heap in the snow.
The others blinked in surprise at the sudden outburst. Only Tsume remained relatively cool.
"We can rest over there 'til the storm clears." Tsume pointed.
The others looked to where he was pointing.
Toboe could make out the outline of some rocks.
"That settles it then." Hige announced, clearly relieved himself. "Can you three hang in there a little longer?" He asked, directing the question towards Sue, Toboe and Blue.
"Just worry about yourself ok." Blue replied dryly.
" Hige apologized.
The two grey wolves stared hard at their leader.
Asante narrowed her eyes, before limping away.
"Let's go." Tsume whispered to Kiba.
The rocks actually turned out to be an abandoned airship.
And Sue found that it wasn't so bad when they were out of the wind. If only the noise would let up though. It was deafening.
Asante looked as though she was asleep, her head resting on her knees, which were drawn up to her chest. The wound on her arm was scabbed up and healing, thought Sue would have liked it to be cleaner. All she had to work with was snow, and she didn't really want to wake her sister up
"The sun'll be up soon." Tsume growled, breaking the awkward silence. "We should rest here until then."
Kiba said nothing, staring out at the storm.
"What do you say Kiba?" Hige asked. "I mean
The storm will blow itself out by morning, and
"It already has." Kiba replied statically.
Toboe and Blue started in dread, and surprise.
Sue sighed at the prospect of going back out in the storm.
Asante's eyes snapped open, glowing with fire
"Oh come on!" Kiba urged. "It'll be fine!!"
"WELL NONE OF US WILL BE FINE!!" Said Asante, sitting up, her eyes harsh and angry. "You do what you want Kiba. GO OUT THERE AND FREEZE TO DEATH. I'm sorry but you're on your own."
She got up and limped away into the furthest corner, and lay down, her back to him.
Toboe and Sue looked between Kiba and Asante, unsure of what to do.
Blue stood up and walked over to Asante, nudging her gently. With a sigh she lay down next to her closely, sharing their body warmth. "I'm staying with Asante." She whispered.
Kiba's eyes glanced over to the other three.
"I'm staying too." Toboe murmured.
Sue looked at him stunned. "Well then I'm staying!" She declared. "We're a pack. We stick together."
"Hige?" Kiba asked, trying to keep his voice steady, but it shook. He was afraid.
"No." Hige said firmly. "I'm not moving 'til morning. You've lost it Kiba. You really have." He got up then, moving into the rebel corner as it had become.
Asante looked up and around her genuinely shocked.
Tsume turned away from Kiba, shaking his head. "You're on your own." He murmured.
Kiba narrowed his icy blue eyes. "I understand
" He growled impatiently running out into the snow-filled night
"Kiba!" Toboe called out to him, not expecting him to leave that way.
"Let him go!" Hige snarled. "Right now the only thing he can see is Cheza. He's blocked out the rest of us. It doesn't matter if we're with him or not."
"Look," Said Asante standing up, jumping carefully over the other's bodies until she reached Toboe. "We'll follow him in the morning. Or once the storm blows over."
"Don't worry about it." Tsume growled moving towards them. "For now, try and get some rest."
True to word, the storm had ceased completely by morning.
The six remaining wolves followed Kiba's scent as best as they could for a while, up until Hige caught the scent of lunar flowers.
At the prospect of seeing Cheza again, the entire mood throughout the six wolves lightened.
Asante remained nonchalant. They still had to find Kiba.
Once the keep came into view they slowed down considerably and started to walk.
Asante's arm stung and her wrist throbbed. She looked at the scab, which had cracked a little and it now was bleeding. She shook it off, and continued toward the keep.
"So this is the keep of Darcia?" Tsume said rather sarcastically, as the six of them stood just outside the gate.
"Place looks like it should be haunted!" Hige joked.
"By what?" Toboe asked, genuinely scared.
"By the ghosts of all those cursed nobles!!" Hige chuckled.
"Come on Hige!" Sue squeaked. "Don't say stuff like that!!"
" Blue said hesitantly. "Are you sure that
that girl is inside of there?"
Asante and Hige raised their noses and sniffed.
Asante gave Blue a sort of sideways smile.
"The scent is faint
" Hige smirked. "But it's definitely a Lunar flower!"
The continued walking for a bit, crossing a sort of bridge over to the castle entrance.
Asante looked suspiciously at the tyre tracks, marking the ground.
"He's got visitors
" Tsume growled.
Blue stared at the car with wide eyes. She started suddenly, gasping.
She ran to the car and looked inside, rubbing the condensation away from the windows, pressing her hands against the cold glass.
She sniffed the door, taking in the familiar scent of
" She whispered. "Pops is here
Asante joined her at the side of the car, sniffing round it.
The scientist woman
the hunter from her old town
another man she didn't know
" She tut-ted.
"Guys what is it?" Hige asked running up to them, Sue at his side.
Sue bent down, sniffing the snow.
"What's gotten into you three?!" Hige asked, slightly unnerved.
None of the girls answered him. They took off into the keep without a second thought.
The three boys stood in shock for a moment.
" Toboe called, running after them, followed by Tsume.
Hige lingered a few seconds before running after them.
"So who are the nobles anyway?" Hubb sighed, as the four of them walked down another endlessly long corridor.
"There was extensive literature dealing with the nobility," Cher stated. "But most of it was lost with the decline of civilisation."
"But there are things we do know." Zow huffed, passing a bottle back and forth between himself and Quent. "Long before the world became as we know it now, the nobles blazed a path to the stars, using a form of great alchemy. It opened the doors to space and time. But in an instant
It all vanished." He raised the bottle to his lips, allowing Cher to continue her tale.
"No one really knows what happened to it." She sighed softly. "But many people disappeared. The execution of their alchemy became a secret
know only to the remaining nobles."
"Never to be passed on to the people." Zow finished. Then he laughed. "That all happened 200 years ago! There are plenty of myths that came out of it though. Like the one about the Great White Wolf, you heard that one?"
"The Great White Wolf?" Cher asked puzzled.
"When what remains of this world, slowly begins to fade away along with the blood red moon, the white wolf will open the gates to paradise. That's the legend
I won't go into detail."
"Why the hell are you three in such a rush?" Hige shouted after the girls.
Asante stopped to wait for them, while Sue and Blue ran on ahead.
"It's Pops!" Blue shouted back. "I know he's here."
"But do you really want to see him?" Sue asked stopping.
Blue came grinding to a halt as reality finally hit her. "No
It might be better if I didn't
Toboe drew alongside the two girls looking at Blue with sorrow.
the reason he's out here
to find you." Toboe said, though unsure.
"So what if he is?" Tsume growled. "You gonna go back to being that humans dog?"
"Hey lay off!" Hige shouted back at him.
"Yeah Tsume be quiet!" Toboe retorted. "You don't know what it's like!!"
"Guess I don't," Tsume shrugged. "I've never had the pleasure of being kept as a pet
unlike the two of you."
"Now now children!" Asante chuckled. "Let's just find Kiba and Cheza ok. We can fight later."
"The flower scents coming from over there!" Hige declared, pointing.
"A worship of wolves huh?" Hubb asked, disgusted.
"But it's not just a simple animal cult
" Said Cher looking at the pictures in awe. "It goes deeper than that
I think the world has split somehow. One we humans can see
.one we must have lost sight of at some point."
"The world of the wolves." Zow growled.
Hubb sneezed suddenly, wiping his nose furiously.
"What the hell brought that on?" Quent asked sarcastically.
"I have a terrible allergy to dogs-" Hubb groaned, his voice muffled by his handkerchief.
"That a fact?" Zow chuckled, loading his gun.
"They must be over this way huh? Those allergies sure do come in handy." Quent chuckled.
"Glad I could help
" Hubb mumbled.
Cher gazed at the mural on the wall, a strange sense of familiarity washing over her.
They continued walking for quite a long time.
The sound of metal clashing caught Zow's attention long before any of the others.
He stood stock still, shaking all over.
"What is it?" Hubb asked looking back.
Quent heard it then, he must have.
The two of them tore off down the corridor like a wolf was snapping at their heels.
"Hey!" Hubb called after them.
Cher ran after them wordlessly.
"It's because of you. You and your kind stole everything from me. And in return you gave me a curse
and my eyes transformed into one such of yours."
The noble's eyes swivelled downwards to look at Cheza, who lay prone on the floor.
"The price I paid for being cursed by paradise
He raised his sword to her neck threateningly.
"And now the only thing that surrounds me is despair
"Don't!!" The white wolf cried desperately. "What is it? What do you want?"
His question hung in the air for a few moments.
"Have you found it yet? You and your merry band? Have you found paradise?" The noble asked, his tone verging on sarcasm.
"We will." The wolf replied firmly. "No matter what!!"
"And what do you expect to find there?" The noble asked dryly.
Darcia turned his head, his eyes of clashing colours glowing. "A future?" He repeated.
"Not hope. Or despair. Just a future. Nothing more."
"I no longer have any need," Darcia whispered, turning his head away. "For a
Kiba snarled threateningly.
The gunshots echoed eerily around the empty corridors.
The others started, exchanging glances for a moment.
The three she-wolves took off down the corridor followed swiftly by the boys.
Kiba landed on the ground deftly, having avoided both shots.
He snarled back at the two men, who had their guns raised deftly.
There was a resounded clink as they reloaded.
At that moment, Hubb and Cher ran in.
They stopped, regarding the situation.
Cher's gaze was drawn to Cheza.
Darcia still stood over her, the sword at her throat.
He glared back at the scene unfolding at the door, and threw the sword away, walking to the farthest end of the room. His shoes made odd echoic tapping footsteps on the floor.
"One way or another
" Zow whispered, keeping his aim steady.
"It's over wolf." Quent muttered, his aim shifting all over the place. He narrowed his eyes
"No DON'T!!" Blue screamed, jumping in front of the white wolf.
Her cold blue eyes gazed steadily at the two men.
Quent started in surprise.
Zow growled his eyes swivelling quickly to the door at the sound of approaching footsteps.
"Blue?" Quent asked in shock.
"Kiba!!" Toboe cried desperately as Zow took aim again.
The others growled in realisation of what was coming next, but Asante was way ahead of them.
Ploughing straight into the man's chest, knocking the gun clean out of his hands, Asante propelled them both over.
The gun skidded away across the floor.
Asante rolled over a few times before sitting up, her eyes alive with fire.
Zow jumped to his feet his fists clenched. "DAMN WOLF!!"
The purple ball in her hands suddenly grew alive with white fire, burning, blazing
all in the palms of her hands
"My Lord Darcia!!"
Everyone (besides Lord Darcia) started as the servant called out for her master.
Sue looked up aghast as the laser began firing.
No one saw the servant after the laser began firing.
Sue thought that she may have died
Cheza was still lying on the floor
"CHEZA!!" Kiba cried, attempting to run towards her.
Another laser beam ripper through the room, separating him from Cheza. For a moment he was lost in the smoke.
"Kiba!" Tsume called, as Kiba flipped backwards out of the explosions.
Sue looked around her in panic. "Asante!!"
"What?" Hige asked in shock, also beginning to panic.
The building was rent with shudders as it split in two; the ground breaking apart as though the whole world was being ripped apart.
"CHEZA!!" Kiba screamed desperately.
" Sue whispered, her whole body shaking.
"Blue, NO!" Hige cried.
Asante groaned, picking herself up from the broken ground.
She looked around her.
She could hear Kiba calling for Cheza, but she couldn't see him.
She could see Cheza though
not two feet away from her.
The scientist was by her side, holding her head gently. The man was there too, and the hunter that had almost shot Toboe.
They didn't look bad
but Asante didn't trust anyone with Cheza.
She ran towards them snarling.
whoa!!" Said the detective man, shaking his hands in defeat. "Friend!!"
"I'm not your friend." Said the hunter in a harsh voice. "I remember you from back in Derelict town. What are you doing here?"
Asante didn't have time for this- these worthless humans were wasting her time.
"You will not take Cheza!!" She growled threateningly.
"We don't have time for fighting!" The detective said imploringly, reaching his hand out towards her pleadingly. "We have to get out of here!"
Asante gazed at the three of them- unsure.
Zow reloaded his gun- Asante snarled stepping closer.
"WE DON'T HAVE TIME TO FIGHT!!" The scientist woman yelled. "We have to go now!"
Asante knelt in human form, picking Cheza up gently.
"Fine." She whispered. "This way!"
"How could you?" Quent asked in disbelief. "Why Blue?"
"Quent!!" Hubb called running past him.
The grey wolf stopped yelping at the black wolf-dog.
Blue took one look at the pink-haired girl atop her back, and jumped down past her old master, running out with her.
More lasers fired.
The two girls ran, Cheza slung on Asante's back, being carried piggy-back style.
They were trailed by the three humans.
As they rounded the corner they were pulled up short; soldiers.
"Jaguara!" Cher cried.
Zow started in surprise. "But this
this was my mission
" He whispered.
Asante put Cheza down, handing her regretfully back to the scientist.
"Look after her!" She snarled launching herself at the armoured soldiers, locking her teeth around one's neck.
Blue ran forward as well, propelling herself forward. "That way!" She yelled. "Go that way!"
"Did Quent's dog just talk?" The detective asked in disbelief.
The soldiers came up to the two wolves with shields.
Zow considered saying something. Then he stopped.
A wave of energy came out of the front of the shield, knocking the two she-wolves to the floor unconscious.
The three humans turned around.
More of the soldiers blocked their path
Sue had to be forcibly dragged out of the falling keep by Hige.
Kiba ran with them for a while, before turning and running back into the keep.
"Kiba?" Hige called.
"What are you doing?" Tsume asked in disbelief, as another shock wracked through the building.
Kiba disappeared in a cloud of rising black smoke.
"KIBA!!!" Tsume yelled.
Quent staggered along the wall tears stinging his eyes.
He groaned as he staggered along blindly, feeling along the wall for support.
Hubb and Cher were led along by Jaguara's soldiers.
At least four of them were carrying the big she-wolves with at least two for each.
Zow walked slightly behind them, talking to one of the drones as he gave a status report.
He wasn't under arrest as such
.been a little slow completing his mission
Another of the soldiers was carrying Cheza.
Her head was nodding slightly as the soldier walked along.
All of a sudden, her head rose, and she looked up in horror. "Kiba?" She cried out.
Hubb and Cher looked back in shock.
And still neither of the female wolves responded
As the shafts were raised back into the ship, the white wolf ran in a blazing streak of fur.
He ran along desperately, willing it to not be too late
The keep had been reduced to a mass of burning rubble- debris floating in the surrounding lake- the black murderous looking airships, looming around it like black flies.
A bright white light surrounded it all- the sky, the keep, even the very air
there was nothing
Quent raised his head in shock, looking around.
The place had been all but destroyed
It was silent too
"Kiba!!!" Came the fierce cry, ripping through the air.
Toboe raised his head to the wind and howled.
No answer came
"Asante!!!" Sue screamed out her throat completely dry and ceased up with fright.
" She sobbed out, her voice starting to break.
Hige stood at the top of a broken beam, surveying the area in silence
Tsume gazed around, a feeling of dread rising up inside him.
The four of them made no more sound.
And the silence that followed, screamed out regret, and despair and suffering
And lost hope