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Loyalty

By SunnySummer77

Action / Adventure

When we Ignite

Warning: I would like to warn viewers that this contains violent and sensitive subjects that may be disturbing to some viewers. The subject at hand has touched the entire globe and I understand that this topic is seen differently by everyone that has or is currently being affected by it. I kindly ask that the matter be dealt with in a mature and respectable manner as it is important and pertains to the future of our society as a human race, not as individual countries.

Thank you.

~When we Ignite~

Reyner gulped as we looked to the machine. Its scanners beeping and blinking bright colors as the commander lead the walk. As he stopped, the line came to an abrupt halt. I gulped, catching a glance at his cold steel colored eyes. With a pat of his steady hand against the cold hard machine, the sound of clanking metal filled the room.

"Cadets, after this brief lecture, you will be scanned. Yes, this machine will determine your particular skills as of now. At the end of your training, we will do this again; then we'll see who our alphas are." I sat, gritting my teeth together as my eyes locked on the commander's dog. His coal black eyes and posture made him a spitting image of his handler. But all at once, his gaze shot to me, and I could feel my gaze dart to Reyner, who continued to stare at the commander.

"Okay, let me show you how this is done," The commander's voice shot through my ears. The snap of his fingers whipped through the air and without skipping his beat, his dog sat beside him. Thane knelt beside his dog, placing a brown collar around his neck. A silver stone shimmered against the light above as the commander clicked the collar in place. With a pat of his hand, Thane and his dog exchanged a glance before the houndour stepped onto a black conveyer belt. With a clink and a red flash, the machine beeped to life. Images of the commander's dog appeared on a large screen overhead as a red light scanned the hound.

Name: Alpha

Handler: Liam Thane

Species: Houndoom

Nature: Serious

Characteristic: Thoroughly cunning

Stat ranking: 1

"That stat ranking will determine where you stand as of now in comparison to everyone in the room and before you ask 'yes, we do process your information fast'. If you are shown to be in the top ten as of now, keep it that way. As for your nature, pray it doesn't become a liability." His icy voice shot through my body like a knife. I immediately felt my ears fall. He knew his place, and he would break us to find ours. I look to Reyner, seeing his knuckles white from balling up his fists so tight.

"Captain, it doesn't matter where we start, it matters where we finish, okay?" His voice shook with uncertainty. There were men here with possibly more experience than us, and if that was the case, I could kiss being an alpha goodbye. And that look in Reyner's emerald eyes told me he knew of that reality as well.

My head fell with gravity, balling up my paws tightly.

I promised Jade I wouldn't leave his side… I promised to get home…I promised to protect Reyner…no matter what…so I can't let that stop me. It's just a chance I have to take.

I perked to the houndour who wore a proud smirk at his power. While his cunning characteristic should have made him with a weakness, his nature canceled it out; he could virtually be good at everything.

Alpha…that's such a fitting name for a dog who just happens to be one.

Commander Thane and his dog, Alpha, were comparing us on the spot. They were hoping for a competition. I could only cringe, knowing that anything less than perfection could spell my demise. Here, a slight push on stats could probably ruin the chance to even be an alpha.

I can't afford to look weak here.

Reyner's hand glided behind my ear, his soft voice soothing me as the line began to shorten. My eyes would glance to his as his emerald eyes that would bounce between me and the screen. His eyes flickered as he swallowed. A bead of sweat ran from his temple as his eyes looked to the man in the front of the line.

A tall, well built man stood in his striped shirt, his brown hair curly and wild, much like his dog's fur. A smirk rolled across his firm lips as his brown eyes trailed the line. And with a deep breath, he snapped his attention back toward his dog, who had been silently watching us all the same. They seemed observant, alert, both playing this like it was some sort of game.

Name: Oli

Handler: Shawn White

Species: Herdier

Nature: Careful

Characteristic: Strong Willed

With a beep all of our eyes shifted to the board. I could hear Reyner sigh as his eyes nervously drifted across the number.

Stat ranking: 182/ 386

But Shawn didn't seem to care; he silently did a fist pump as his dog barked proudly. The pair didn't look so bad; considering there was almost 400 people here. The small light brown pup quickly ran to his owner, leaping into his big arms with joy. The fuzzy ball nuzzled its cream colored face into the crook of this man's neck, wagging his tail at this man's delight. Shawn, as he was called, hand glided along his pet's navy blue back, placing him on the floor before moving on.

"Good boy, now come," And the pair walked off, proud to be the first of the group to go. I could only gap at their ranking.

They were in good standings and the training hadn't even started yet.

But that was just a starting point for them, and they had less work then whoever was going to be last on that stat list.

They are synced perfectly… and their not even in the top ten…man this is going to be harder than I thought.

I cautiously moved my head, seeing there was about five pairs in front of us. I could only grit my teeth anxiously as my heart began to race.

What if I'm last? What if I'm 386?

"It's okay Cap, stop stressing," Reyner's soft voice was reaching deaf ears. I was reading the numbers just as he was; the rankings seemed to get better as the line went on. I was going to be the number that trended in the other direction. I just knew that's how my luck was.

Name: Dana

Handler: Hunter Gem

Species: Electrike

Nature: Bold

Characteristic: Capable of taking hits

Stat ranking: 93/386

Hunter seemed shorter than the others I had seen throughout the line. He flipped his blonde hair out of his blue eyes, locked on the machine as it scanned his canine. As the numbers flashed onto the screen, he shut his eyes in contentment as he walked beside his dog. He electrike, Dana, glanced up to him, her light green paw running along his light brown pants. Hunter took a hand from his pocket, smiling softly as he snapped his fingers for his dog to follow and she did without hesitation.

Damn…these guys are no joke.

Another pair went, and this man and his poochyena seemed to be about mine and Reyner's ages respectively. But, this boy had glints of grey in his brown hair, shaking as he approached the machine. He was small, and he didn't look strong. His partner, glanced up at him, its ruby eyes filled with worry as his master shook silently. The commander gave the signal to continue, but the boy did not move, and his poochyena refused to part from his side.

"Well, get on with it, Private!" The commander yelled, stomping his foot. I grit my teeth, seeing the boy's amber eyes quiver with fear. He pushed his dog from his side and commanded him to stay. But his dog refused to stay put. His dog was loyal, refusing to leave his master in such a terrified state. Admirable, a quality I myself admired; but here, in the army, that was very risky.

"No, stay!" The boy's voice shook, almost as if he himself was unsure about the command. The general didn't like to play games, or waste time. He snapped his fingers and his dog, Alpha, charged at the poor poochyena. The houndour raised its head over the cowering poochyena, ready to demonstrate what it meant to not follow orders. But a loud bark escaped my lips to stop the assault before any real damage was done.

Don't hurt him!

The houndour turned his attention toward me and growled, angry that someone would even attempt to stand up for that obvious weakling. Alpha's black eyes bared resentment toward me and I backed up, gritting my teeth as I barked again.

"Captain, be quiet!" Reyner's shaking hand attempted to calm my nerves but I couldn't stand here and watch the commander give that kind of punishment, especially given the circumstances. I continued to bark, and the commander's eyes immediately turned to me.

"Captain, stop!" Reyner begged; his voice breaking as he forcefully poked my side. The Commander immediately walked in our direction. His steel grey eyes filled with rage and disapproval.

"Cadet, get that mutt of yours to shut his trap before I do it for you!" Reyner pushed my side more forcefully, attempting to get me to stop.

"Captain, shut up, please!" Reyner yelled. The room suddenly grew silent, and I blinked, looking up.

"What did you say to me?" I could see how Reyner immediately cringed, his emerald eyes looking toward the commander. His whole body trembled as the commander clicked his tongue. And seeing him shake, I quickly bit my tongue.

"N-no sir, that's my dog's name…Captain," Reyner muttered softly. He quickly avoided my gaze, seeing as how another growl escaped my lips. By this point the small man had gotten his poochyena to remain on the conveyer belt. The red light scanned his dog and with great haste, and they scurried off the machine.

Name: Atlas

Handler: Eli Dalton

Species: Poochyena

Nature: Timid

Characteristic: Quick to flee

Stat ranking: 386/386

And here I stand amazed, maybe I wasn't so bad. At least I wouldn't be last. Reyner growled, kneeling beside me.

"Figures that's his stat, poor guy couldn't even get up there. Captain, that was so risky, I thought that the commander was going to kill you, and then me," And hearing those broken words escape his lips, I began to feel my chest tighten.

I should have thought about that first… if I act up, you could be punished too. I'm sorry,

I rubbed my head against his jean covered leg, sitting patiently beside him. I could feel him shaking but he smirked to cover it up.

"That's okay Captain, I understand why you did it, good boy." And with that he ran his fingers along my back. My tail wagged at his forgiveness, and I quickly lay down beside him, watching the line in front of us grow smaller before finally the man before us went. His black hair was shaved off and he silently stroked his black go-tee.

He seemed darker than the others before him. To me, it was like he had seen the sun for many days; perhaps he lived near water and went swimming often? That much I didn't know. But he chuckled to himself, snapping happily in a spirited dance as he trotted toward the machine with his dog following his example. I couldn't help but roll my eyes.

Well, someone's confident. Glad someone is…

He seemed to pay this no mind and haughtily walked off. The machine scanned his poochyena and he strutted away, without so much of a glance toward the screen.

Name: Dax

Handler: William Wolf

Species: Poochyena

Nature: Jolly

Characteristic: Impetuous and silly

Stat ranking: 10/386

My eyes shot open in surprise. Is the scanner broken!? It just gave that guy alpha status! His dog walked off, tongue flopping in the wind like the world didn't even matter. Really? I could feel an annoyed growl escape my muzzle and Reyner quickly rubbed his salt stained hands along my orange fur.

"Come Cap," He called. With a point of his shaking fingers I stood on the machine. The patter of nervous tapping filled the room and I looked down, seeing my paws lift me off the floor nervously.

"Captain, sit!" Reyner commanded. I could see the commander watch me along with his dog's icy scowl. I did as I was told, glaring at the houndour. His coal black eyes scanned me, just as the machine did and with a snort he turned his head away. I blinked, hearing a beeping take over the machine.

I quickly looked up to the machine, my mouth grinding shut with haste. My eyes immediately scanned for my number, my current rank.

Name: Captain

Handler: Reyner Braxton

Species: Growlithe

Nature: Brave

Characteristic: Proud of its power

Stat ranking: 101/386

I felt my heart stop. My stat ranking of 101 was incredibly far from where I had hoped to be. Now, I was in really no position to mess up. I had to work hard. Extremely hard, because I wasn't there yet, not even close. In all honesty, I wasn't sure if hard work was going to get me anywhere. That might only get me to the 80's if that.

Fuck. I'm screwed.

I was already slipping, fading away into my own thoughts. The room swayed uncomfortably. I blinked, attempting to focus on the voice who continued to call.

"Captain, come!" Reyner's voice continued. I grit my paws, stumbling toward him slowly. Reyner's emerald eyes locked on me, quickly scooping me up in his arms. I could hear the soft tremble in his breathing as his fingers scratched behind my ears.

"Captain…you look sick," He trembled, crashing to his knees. That number made it virtually impossible to hope. It made it impossible to dream of a way out. My nose gently tapped his chest, his hold tightening as I did. He was sorry for the lack of training, but that's not his fault. I can't let him believe it's his fault. I shifted my paws, gritting my teeth in an attempt to harden my expression. He was not going see me break again.

You don't get to be sorry; I promised your sister that I would not fail, not the other way around.

I couldn't help but hope that that machine had lied, or broke for that matter. I just…can't handle that kind of change. I have to hope; I have to try. That fire that burns in my core has sparked; I just have to let it run.

"Braxton, Dalton, Gem, White, and Wolf, you men will be group one; have fun with your new teammates for the time being." The commander pointed to another door.

"Settle in, Training starts at dawn!" I could hear Reyner sigh, picking me up as he walked toward the door. The others seemed nice for the most part, but that was yet to be seen. I noticed that one silver haired kid walk toward Reyner, his poochyena walking beside him.

"Listen, I just wanted to say thank you for earlier." Reyner's face attempted to lock away a proud smile. Instead, his jaw tightened, hoping to show a hardened spirit. He wasn't going to show emotion on the subject.

"It's okay, Captain was just…" Reyner trailed off for a moment and the other kid, Eli if I remembered correctly, looked him over intently. His amber eyes glistened, flashing remorse toward me. His pale fingers trailed along his silver hair.

"Being brave? I know. But it still doesn't change how I must have looked out there…I'm not going to let it happen again," With that parting statement and a new found smile, Eli and his dog followed the others to our new room.

This is going to be hell…I can already tell.

"Well…how do you like that? You ignited his fire Cap; now let's just hope the commander doesn't extinguish it." I could feel myself relax for a moment; that seemed to be on the money.

Yeah…I guess that's true…

"Captain…you…" He sighed, tightening his hold on me. I cautiously looked up, seeing Reyner's emerald eyes shimmer against the fluorescent light.

"You never know how strong a fire is until you try to put it out, remember that; let's do our best tomorrow, m'kay?" His soft response reminds me of the problem we now have to face. The commander looks like he is ready to kill me…and its only the first day…great.

I can only hope my fire is strong enough to withstand him otherwise, he may as well give me that firestone now...

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