It had been a few hours since the Rovers had departed the Chancellor’s mansion. The rain had ceased; the clouds beginning to fade away bringing the soft glow of the moonlight across the sky. Master sat with the Chancellor in front of the fireplace. Heidi had gone to the kitchen for some coffee to help them through the late hours. Eva was still peacefully snuggled into Muzzle’s side, making the Rottweiler content to stay still.
The Chancellor watched the fire crackle with his eyes glazing over in deep concentration. Master could tell something was on his mind apart from the growing fatigue of the growing midnight. Before he could mention it, the Chancellor let out a rather long, breathy sigh.
“What is it, Johann?” Master asked softly.
“Nights like dhis… Blitz and I vould sit right here before going to bed. He would lay his head on my knee and I would massage his head. No matter vhat kind of day I had… he calmed me down,” The Chancellor said.
“Chancellor… every time Blitz talked about his home here… it was like someone talking about Heaven on earth…” Master replied.
“I hope dhat is dhe case vhen he is found. Dhis house has been so lifeless since dhen…” the Chancellor said.
“Tell me what it was like when he was here…” Master interjected.
The Chancellor leaned back in his plush armchair and closed his eyes. For a moment, so many sweet memories replaced the sadness he felt about his best friend.
“He brought everyvun so much joy… lives up to his real name I suppose… Ha-ha! I remembah vun time Eva had begged Heidi for vun of Cook’s raspberry pastries about an hour before our Easter dinner… Heidi told her to wait till after… once she left, I vatched Blitz sneak vun off a baking sheet and gave it to her… I couldn’t scold him, mainly because I couldn’t keep from laughing. He loved her so much, like she was his child…” the Chancellor began, a smile spreading across his face.
Master’s smile grew as the Chancellor reached down beside his chair and pulled up a photo album, a red leather book with the words “Familie” embossed in gold across the cover.
“Here is dhe first family portrait we had done…dhe photographer told me she nevah had a dog be so villing to have his picture taken…” the Chancellor said as he turned the photo to Master.
The glossy picture took up nearly an entire page of the photo album. Decorative trim and scrapbook accoutrements let Master know that this picture held a close place in the Chancellor’s heart. The Chancellor and Heidi were standing in front of the grand foyer of the mansion in front of one of the large flower arrangements. Blitz was lying on a table covered in red velvet in between them with baby Eva leaning against him. Their smiles were completely genuine.
“Definitely a wonderful picture…” Master commented.
“Ja…” The Chancellor trailed off.
“What’s wrong?” Master asked.
“How could I possibly have him back like ve did before? Knowing vhat he is and dhe vunderful tings he does… how could he vant to just be my pet again…?” The Chancellor said.
“Well, Johann, the Rovers are certainly special, but deep down they are still dogs… man’s best friend…” Master said.
“Maybe… it vould be so vunderful to have him home again. I tink I vould vurry less about him knowing vhere he is vhen he ‘disappears’…” the Chancellor said.
“I imagine so…” Master agreed.
The Chancellor smiled a little bit before an alarmed voice was heard.
“Kanzler! Kanzler!” (Chancellor! Chancellor!) Alaric’s voice burst in from the hallway.
“Alaric, was ist los?” (Alaric, what is wrong?) The Chancellor questioned, rising from his chair.
Alaric took a few deep breaths before answering. It was like he had sprinted miles bearing some type of negative tidings. Master put his hand on the man’s shoulder to steady him.
“Kanzler, schnell, schalten Sie die Nachrichten. Sie müssen sehen!” (Chancellor, quickly, turn on the news. You need to see this!) Alaric said, pointing frantically to the television set.
Without hesitation, the Chancellor pressed the main power button on the flat-screen set. Normally, the last news report was heard nation-wide around nine at night. This either had to be extremely weird or extremely bad for the network to allow for it at such a late hour.
A young woman appeared on the screen clad in a simple T-shirt and jeans instead of her normal business attire with a microphone in her hand, definitely a sign this was urgent.
“Wir berichten von der alten Innenstadt vor dem örtlichen Schrottplatz mit einer erstaunlichen Entwicklung ... nur ein paar Stunden zuvor war ein Anruf anfordert medizinische Hilfe von Behörden erhalten ... bei der Ankunft, teilte die Polizei sie festgestellt, was einige konnten als zu beschreiben lebenden Albtraum ... Hauptmann Heinz von Gluck gibt uns mehr Details aus der Szene ...” (We are reporting from old downtown in front of the local junkyard with an astonishing development... just a few hours earlier, a call requesting medical assistance was received by authorities... upon arriving, police said they found what some could describe as a living nightmare... Captain Heinz von Gluck gives us more details from the scene...) the reporter said.
The camera’s view shifted to a uniformed officer that stood in front of the junkyard’s shack right outside the gates. Flashing lights and a crowd of people rushing around in the background made the Chancellor’s stomach twist into knots. Master held his breath as pieces from Blitz’s journal replayed in his mind.
“Als wir ankamen, fanden wir die Besitzer gefesselt und brutal geschlagen. Wir dachten, es war nur ein einfacher Fall von Körperverletzung bis wir den Hof sah. Wir fanden mehrere Hunde schrecklich verstümmelt herumlaufen ... erschrocken. Wir fanden auch mehrere verstümmelte Leichen von anderen Hunden. Wir glauben, dass diese Männer sind hinter der Reihe von fehlender Hund Fällen haben wir in den letzten Jahren hatte. Sie werden aufgeladen, sobald sie aus dem Krankenhaus entlassen werden ...” (When we arrived, we found the owners chained up and beaten severely. We thought it was just a simple case of assault until we saw the yard. We found several dogs horribly mutilated running around... terrified. We also found several mangled corpses of other dogs. We believe that these men are behind the string of missing dog cases we have had the past few years. They will be charged once they are released from hospital...) the captain said.
“Wir haben versucht, die beiden Männer zu befragen in Frage, bevor sie sich mit dem Krankenwagen genommen wurden ... Bitte beobachten Sie die folgenden Clip für das, was wir in der Lage zu erfassen ...” (We attempted to interview the two men in question before they were taken away by ambulance… please watch the following clip for what we were able to capture…) the reporter said before a separate film clip began rolling.
Paramedics were buzzing about getting IV drips started as the van was being prepped for loading two gurneys. Screams of terror and pain were all that could be heard. Reporters tried to get clear answers only to get garbled answers of gibberish. Suddenly, one of the men said something that could be understood:
“Wo ist er? Ich kann nicht zulassen, dass er mich zu bekommen!” (Where is he? I can’t let him get me!) the leader shouted as a neck brace was wrapped around his head.
“It couldn’t be…” The Chancellor said aloud in thought.
“What did he say, Johann?” Master asked.
“He said dhat he ‘can’t let him get at me’…” the Chancellor answered.
“A junkyard… two men… mangled dogs… it has to be…” Master began thinking as the report continued.
“Die Behörden sagen, dass eine kryptische Notiz wurde auch bei der Szene und erklärt: "Das war meine Hölle verlassen. Keine Leitungen haben, wer hinter dem Angriff war dargestellt worden, aber in einer Weise, ist es geworden für die beste. Hundebesitzer können nun, dass diese Männer sind jetzt von der Straße beruhigt. Dies wird Sara Berichterstellung für BRLN 9 Nachrichten,” (Authorities say that a cryptic note was also left at the scene stating, 'This was my Hell'. No leads have been presented as to who was behind the attack, but in a way, it did turn out for the best. Dog owners can rest easy now that these men are now off the streets. This is Sara reporting for BRLN 9 news) the reporter said, ending the segment.
“Blitz… it had to be… noting else makes sense…” the Chancellor said.
“I agree… if he was there only a few hours ago, then the others need to get after him from there…” Master said as he pulled out his universal tablet to contact the others.
Meanwhile, the lonely toll of the midnight hour from distant church bells was the only sound that could be heard in the quiet outskirts of downtown Berlin. Colleen looked around as the dark cobblestone alleys began to appear with a sense of horrific nostalgia. These streets weren’t all too different from the gutters of London she had been rescued from so long ago.
Suddenly, she felt warm fingers interlace with her own. Her face jolted up and saw Hunter’s eyes looking warmly at her. Even in the darkness of the night, she could feel the kindness that always poured out of them. He understood how scenes like this made her uncomfortable.
“Are you ok, Sweetheart?” Hunter whispered as he gently squeezed her hand.
“Y-yeah… I’m alrigh’, Love…” Colleen answered, swallowing her nervousness.
“This place is being much creepy… whyski would convent be here?” Exile asked aloud.
“Maybe the church tha’ the convent is out of came ‘ere before the neighborhood went down…” Colleen surmised.
The rest of the Rovers stopped as the sound of Hunter’s sniffing broke the thick silence that had surrounded them.
“Wha’ do you ‘ave, Love?” Colleen asked, knowing her husband’s abilities too well.
Hunter’s nose began twitching as the muddled scent of peppermint and sweat caused him to stiffen. He ran his nose along the ground following the scent along the damp cobblestones. Colleen knew these signs well. When Hunter’s nose had something, it was best to let him go with it.
“Go aftah it, ‘untie!” Colleen encouraged.
Without a word, Hunter flew down the street leaving his fire trail behind him.
“Come on…” Colleen urged, turning to Exile and Shag.
“Bolshoi, what is it being, comrade…?” Exile asked, trying to keep up with the swift collie.
“It’s Blitz… I know it is…” Colleen said as they followed the smoldering path of their leader.
Hunter rushed along block after block getting more and more of the smell in his nasal cavities. The scent seemed to follow a zigzag pattern along the streets, like one who was trying to dodge something coming behind them.
“What was he running from…?” Hunter thought as he continued on.
Before he could dwell on his thought too long, the scent trail took a sharp turn into a small grass area between two aged brick buildings. Hunter’s feet slid to a stop along the street, nearly missing the turn. The smell began to fade as he noticed the large puddles standing in the yard as well as copious amounts of mud.
“No… no… no… no… no…!” Hunter said, willing the scent to come back.
He dropped down to sit on his feet as he waited for the others to catch up. A sense of defeat, fatigue, and sadness swam through his mind. He glanced around the small yard and noticed something that could be described as déjà’ vu.
The small garden that had pictures of flowers at the head of the rows ran along the back fence, a small wooden cart that could be used for transporting tools and goods was peaking out from behind a small shed, and a brightly lit sign with the symbol of a cross beside the name: Der heilige Benedikt Kloster (Saint Benedict Convent).
“This has to be the convent Blitz talked about…” Hunter realized.
The retriever’s ears turned around upon hearing the out-of-breath panting of the other Rovers as they finally caught up to him.
“Blimey, Love, we need to get a rope around ya to ‘old on to or somethin’…” Colleen said in between pants trying to catch her breath.
“Da… or a sledski…” Exile panted as he and Shag leaned against the building to rest.
“Sorry, guys, but I think we’re at the convent… Blitz’s scent gets mixed up here with all the rainwater and mud… I can’t really follow it much further,” Hunter said.
“Well, time’s a wastin’…” Colleen said as she went to knock on the door.
“Comrade, would it not be being rudeski to do the waking now…?” Exile questioned, knowing the late hour.
“Undah normal circumstances, Exile, I’d agree, but when I would go by Saint Paul’s in London, there was always someone tha’ kept watch through the night… I would think tha’ would go for any nunn’ry…” Colleen explained.
“True, but how do we explain us being here…?” Hunter thought aloud.
As the four canines conversed, the backdoor of the convent began to slowly creak open. Maria Genevieve’s face glanced outside and saw the familiar appearance of the four Rovers. Knowing they had most likely followed Blitz’s trail here, she smiled warmly sensing that they were looking for him.
“Ihr Lieben, kommen Sie bitte innen, bevor Sie erfrieren,” (Dear ones, please come inside before you freeze to death) Maria Genevieve called out.
The conversation suddenly stopped upon hearing the gentle voice. She was a perfect picture of the woman who Blitz described in his journal. Hope rose in Hunter’s heart.
“Maria Genevieve…?” Colleen asked, clasping her hands.
“Ja…” Maria Genevieve answered with a soft nod.
She opened the door and motioned for them to enter. The canines graciously accepted as they followed the gentle women inside. All of the main lights were out and the main room was dimly illuminated by groups of candles in the dark corners and a fire going in the hearth keeping the den nice and toasty. Silently, everyone settled next to the glowing logs as Maria Genevieve settled into her rocking chair.
“Sie sind Adel Freunde, nicht wahr?” (You are Adel’s friends, yes?) Maria Genevieve began.
Shag dug around in his fur and handed Hunter a hand-held device in the shape of the Road Rover’s insignia. The Sheepdog nudged the device into Hunter’s hand before the conversation continued.
“Oh, thanks Shag…” Hunter said, realizing it was one of their portable translators.
He punched in German as the language selection before answering, “Bitte Sie noch einmal sagen?” (Would you please say that again?)
“Sie sind auf der Suche Adel, nicht wahr?” (You are looking for Adel, correct?) Maria Genevieve answered.
“Ja, er verfolgt die wir hier. Ist er hier?” (Yes, we tracked him here. Is he here?) Colleen said.
“Er war hier,” (He was here) Maria Genevieve answered.
“War…?” (Was…?) Exile questioned.
“Ja, er hat für eine Weile zu bleiben. Ist etwas passiert?” (Yes, he did stay for a while. Has something happened?) Maria Genevieve asked with a worried tone.
“Die Wahrheit ist Fräulein, wir wissen nicht, wo er ist. Wir hofften, dass er hier war still, “(Truth is, Miss, we don’t know where he is. We hoped he was still here.) Hunter explained.
“Ich sehe…” (I see…) Maria Genevieve said, leaning back in her rocker.
“Hat er etwas sagen, als er hier war?” (Did he say anything when he was here?) Exile asked.
“Hmm ..., sagte er viel, aber in wenigen Worten. Der Welpe Ich erinnere mich immer noch in diesen Augen vorhanden. Das Bedürfnis nach Komfort und Mitgefühl aus ein Herz immer noch weh ist immer noch sehr klar,” (Hmmmm… he said a lot but in very few words. The pup I remember was still present in those eyes. The need for comfort and compassion from a heart still hurting is still very clear…) Maria Genevieve explained.
Shag whimpered at the mental image the sister had described. Exile gripped the Sheepdog’s shoulder in support.
“Das ist, warum wir müssen ihn finden,” (That’s why we’ve got to find him) Colleen said.
“In der Tat Sie ... nach dem Zauber, den er hatte ... Ich würde so sagen ...” (Indeed you do… after the ‘spell’ he had… I would say so…) Maria Genevieve said.
“Zauber…?” (Spell..?) Exile asked along with Shag giving a confused look.
Maria Genevieve closed her eyes as she recalled the look on the Doberman’s face when he stumbled away from the piano earlier that morning. The fear and pain and anxiety were so tangible. She took in a deep breath as she looked at the other Rovers with tears in her wizened eyes.
“Nachdem wir ihn davon überzeugt, zu frühstücken, gingen wir alle nach oben, um unsere Gebetsraum, wo wir Chorprobe. Wir haben das Auswendiglernen Händels Messias für den Weihnachtsgottesdienst im nächsten Monat. Meine Noten waren verlegt worden und zu unserer Überraschung, sagte Adel er alles auswendig spielen konnte. Ich habe noch nie solche Emotionen, bevor in diese Musik an gehört. Sobald wir das Stück beendet, hat Adel nicht aufhören zu spielen. Er fing an, sie zu wiederholen und raste die Musik auf wie er verzweifelt zu halten zu gehen war. Ich habe versucht, seine Aufmerksamkeit wieder zu bekommen und er warf sich quer durch den Raum, bevor Ohnmacht auf dem Altar Treppe,” (After we convinced him to eat breakfast, we all went upstairs to our prayer room where we have choir practice. We’ve been memorizing Handel’s Messiah for the Christmas service next month. My sheet music had been misplaced and, to our surprise, Adel said he could play it all from memory. I’ve never heard such emotion put into that music before. Once we finished the piece, Adel didn’t stop playing. He began to repeat it and sped the music up like he was desperate to keep it going. I tried to get his attention back and he flung himself across the room before fainting on the altar stairs) Maria Genevieve recounted.
“Blimey…” Colleen thought as tears ran down her face again.
“Comrade… what is going on in headski…?” Exile pondered to himself.
“The one thing that gave him peace made him crack…” Hunter reasoned silently.
“Es war etwas anderes über ihn, als er aufwachte ein paar Stunden später. Er schien friedlich, wie er sich mit, was hatte ihn stört gekommen waren,” (There was something different about him when he woke up a couple hours later. He seemed peaceful, like he had come to terms with what had been bothering him.) Maria Genevieve continued.
“Was macht Sie so sicher?” (What makes you so sure?) Colleen asked gently.
Maria Genevieve smiled at the Collie before answering, “Es war wegen dem, was er sagte, als er ging,” (It was because of what he said as he left)
“Welches war ...?” (Which was…?) Hunter nudged.
“Er sagte, er sei bereit, nach Hause zu gehen ...” (He said he was ready to go home…) Maria Genevieve revealed.
“I wondah wha’ ‘ome ‘e meant?” Colleen asked aloud.
“Da, since he is not being at HQ…” Exile added.
“Or at the Chancellor’s mansion…” Hunter finished.
Shag scratched his chin before a spark of an idea hit him. He grabbed Hunter’s shoulder and whispered his thoughts to the retriever. Hunter’s eyes widened at the hopeful possibility.
“Shag, you are a true visionary… and not just with food,” Hunter said making the Sheepdog blush.
“Whatski…?” Exile asked curiously.
“Shag suggested that although Blitz may have come to terms with what happened to him; he still has the tension between all of us and the Chancellor. Maybe he’s just taking the long way back…” Hunter translated.
“Makes sense…” Colleen agreed.
“Vielen Dank für Ihre Hilfe und Gastfreundschaft, Maria Genevieve. Wir hatten besser wieder auf den Fersen,” (Thank you for all your help and hospitality, Maria Genevieve. We had better get back on his trail) Hunter said as he stood up.
“Ich bin damit einverstanden. Bitte sicher,” (I agree. Please be safe) Maria Genevieve said as she saw them out the door.
With a wave of gratitude, the Rovers headed back out onto the dark, damp streets and continued on their way.
“Now which ‘ome do ya think ‘e went back to…?” Colleen questioned.
“Well… all we can do is…” Hunter began.
“Rovers…! Come in, Hunter!” Master’s voice rang out, causing the canines to jump in surprise.
Hunter glanced at his Comm-tag and saw it actively blinking red… that meant trouble. Hunter pressed the receive button on the back so he could answer.
“Master, what’s wrong? Did something…?” Hunter began to answer.
“No time to go into details, Rovers, a news report just came in about two men and the downtown junkyard. They were severely beaten and several mutilated and dead dogs were found. I believe it had to have been Blitz. Get to the junkyard quick before Blitz’s trail fades…” Master explained.
“The junkyard…? It had to be the same one he was tortured at. Let’s go, Rovers! On our way, Master…!” Hunter answered.
Hunter started to make a mad dash down the street until he felt Colleen’s grip on his tail holding him back.
“Hold on, Love. We don’t know which way the junkyard is yet…” Colleen said.
“Oh… right…” Hunter realized with a sheepish grin.
“Shag, you are to be having GPS?” Exile asked.
Shag rumbled around in his fur and going so far as to stick his head inside a thick patch of fur, finally retrieved the much needed item.
“Spaisiba, comrade…” Exile thanks as he entered their current location in the search bar.
The Husky punched in the desired location and saw the nearest one was only six blocks away from their current position.
“GPS says we go that wayski…” Exile stated, pointing to the opposite side of the street.
“Can I go now…?” Hunter said with a playful smirk.
Before answering, Colleen rummaged through Shag’s fur, making the Sheepdog giggle and twitch as she pulled a coil of bungee cords out. She quickly attached them around Hunter’s waist and the opposite ends to Exile, Shag and herself.
“Now you can, Love…” Colleen grinned as she braced for the burst of speed.
Hunter smiled back as he kicked into his top speed. The others only held on as they flew along behind the retriever. Six blocks wasn’t far, but with the situation they were currently dealing with, time was not something they could afford to waste.
Hunter began to see flashing lights coming up as well as cautionary tape encompassing the street, blocking the rest of the way. Remembering Master’s message, it had to be the junkyard. Without warning, Hunter put on his brakes making the others crash into his back.
“AH!” Hunter, Colleen and Exile yelped as the sudden stop slung them forward making Shag land on top of them.
“Blimey, ‘untie, a bloody warnin’ would ‘ave ‘elped…!” Colleen said as her head poked out of Shag’s fur.
“Da, you are needing brake sound, comrade…” Exile followed up as he emerged.
“Reah…” Shag groaned in agreement.
“Sorry guys, if I didn’t stop, I would’ve passed it up…” Hunter said as he pointed to the scene a few feet away.
A few officers were still on the scene along with what appeared to be an animal control transport vehicles. The others dusted themselves off and approached the caution tape to see if they could get anyone’s attention.
Captain Heinz von Gluck had stood back to observe the horrible scene for probably the hundredth time that night. He had never seen such an example of human cruelty towards so many innocent creatures. He rubbed the sleep from his eyes when he noticed a blurry group standing on the edge of the security line.
“Halt! Wer sind Sie?” (Stop! Who are you?) Captain von Gluck barked.
Hunter ducked under the security tape coming into the captain’s vision clearer. Colleen, Exile, and Shag were close behind.
“Die Road Rovers… sind Sie über die Szene?” (The Road Rovers… are you over this scene?) Hunter asked.
“Ja, ich bin Kapitän Heinz von Gluck. Wie Sie sehen können, haben wir damit beschäftigt. Was führt Sie nach etwas klein wie diese?” (Yes, I am Captain Heinz von Gluck. As you can see, we’ve been busy. What brings you out for something small like this?) Captain von Gluck asked.
(We’ve been searching for one of our members and believe he’s been here. With your permission, we would like to search the scene) Colleen requested.
“Nun, Tatort-Techniker gerade verlassen. Die einzigen, die noch hier sind die Tiersteuerooffiziere. Gehen Sie voran,” (Well, crime scene techs just left. The only ones still here are the animal control officers. Go on ahead.) Captain von Gluck said, giving the go-ahead to the canines.
“Danke,” (Thank you) Exile said.
With a nod of acceptance, Captain von Gluck went back to his paperwork. The remaining Rovers wandered past the rusted gate only to freeze in shock at the horrendous conditions. There were at least twenty dogs of all sorts being treated by the remaining animal control officers amongst the stinking heaps of garbage.
Colleen immediately went over to one of the officers treating a bad leg wound on a German shepherd to offer whatever help she could.
“Wow ... hätte nie gedacht, ich würde die Straße Rovers wie diese zu erfüllen, “(Wow… never thought I’d meet the Road Rovers like this) the officer said.
“Es tut mir leid für die Umstände auch. Können wir Ihnen helfen? Diese armen Lieben müssen zum Tierarzt zu bekommen,” (I’m sorry for the circumstances as well. Can we help? These poor dears need to get to the vet) Colleen said.
“Wir brauchen alle Hilfe, die wir jetzt bekommen kann ... dieses ist bereit, in der van gestellt werden. Mehrere andere auf der anderen Seite im triage,“ (We need all the help we can get right now… this one is ready to be put in the van. Several others are on the other side in triage) the officer replied picking up the German shepherd gently.
Colleen motioned her head for the others to pitch in where they could. Mangled and torn ears and tails along with broken bones and lacerations were nothing compared to broken spirit in every single one of the tortured dogs’ eyes. It became more real to the rest of the Rovers that the look that they would catch glimpses of on their Doberman comrade’s face was this very same look. Brokenness… not arrogance…
As Exile loaded the last dog into the van, a Great Dane, large drops of rain began to slowly fall. Shag rustled through his storage compartments again and pulled out a few large umbrellas for everyone. As the van pulled away, the Rovers turned back to the ominous scene.
“If Blitz came back here, he had to have a reason apart from the obvious… maybe something in that shack could tell us why…” Hunter pondered.
“Those poor things… I can’t imagine wha’ they’ve ‘ad to endure,” Colleen said as she leaned into Hunter’s chest.
“Da… makes it much sadski thinking of comrade…” Exile said.
“I agree. Why don’t we see what’s in that shack? We could get back on the trail once we’re dried off,” Hunter said.
Everyone nodded as they entered the tattered, rusty building. To their utter shock, they were greeted with a scene they couldn’t have even imagined in their worst nightmares. Stacks of plain manila folders stuffed with pictures of dogs in various stages of torture cluttered the desk and table within the small shack. Dust and the smell of mildew and blood nearly gagged them.
“Wh-where are we…?” Colleen said trembling as she noticed the dried blood stains on the floor.
“It is looking like doggie nightmareski…” Exile said as he scanned the rest of the room.
Shag whimpered as the rusted ties and chains clinked together from disturbance. It sent shivers down his spine thinking of Blitz tied down and being mangled like the others.
“Guys…” Hunter said as he stared ahead to something attached to the wall.
“Wha’ is it, Love?” Colleen asked softly.
“Look…” Hunter said solemnly.
It was a bulletin board covered in more of the faded snapshots similar to what littered the other surfaces, but these were labeled with a foreboding title: Beste Arbeit (Best Work)
“Beste Arbeit… wha’ does tha’ mean?” Colleen wondered.
“Hang on…” Hunter said as he scanned the words with the translator.
“Beste Arbeit… translation… Best Work…” the digitized voice spoke from the device.
“Best workski…? Not even KGB did this badski…” Exile said as the terrified looks of the dogs in the pictures stared back at him.
“And to think… so many of them died here…” Colleen said running her fingers over a few of the pictures.
“Blitz was lucky… hey… what’s that on the door…?” Hunter said as something caught his eye.
“Thatski, comrade…?” Exile asked as he removed a small white card from the back of the door.
It was the back of another photo, but someone had written on the back of it. Exile could swear he could recognize the writing but couldn’t be sure. He handed the photo to Hunter who immediately flipped it over and gasped in shock.
“No…” Hunter whispered as tears filled his eyes again.
“Oh…” Colleen squeaked.
Shag tilted his head in curiosity almost asking, “What is it?”
Hunter turned the picture around to reveal the horrific picture of a Doberman pup covered in blood with pieces of its now mangled ears and all but two inches or so of its tail. Its wide eyes reflected the betrayal and terror that happened at the moment this tortuous event was taking place. Hunter looked at the note on the back and scanned it with the translator.
“Das war meine Hölle... translation... this was my hell...“the translator recited.
“ Blitz… this… this is…no…” Hunter realized as he looked at the picture again.
“Blimey, gents, look over ‘ere…” Colleen said bringing everyone’s attention to a gaping hole in the back wall.
“Whatski…?” Exile asked.
“This hole… it looks like it ‘appened recently…” Colleen said as she noticed a familiar pattern.
“Yeah… and this building is steel…so…” Hunter began.
“Only comrade can bite through metalski…!” Exile exclaimed.
“Exactly and look where the hole is… its right under these chains… he rescued someone…” Hunter realized.
“That means ‘e did’t come ‘ere for vengeance…” Colleen added.
“He come to do goodski… and he did not be killing bad men…” Exile noted.
“True… like he did enough to get his point across and moved on…” Hunter said.
“Da… but whereski…?” Exile asked.
Little did they know their Doberman comrade was closer than they realized. Blitz continued a slow and steady pace back towards the mansion. He couldn’t put everything he was feeling into words, but one concept was prevalent… he felt complete. For the first time in so long, he felt like the joyful, exuberant dog that he was before. He knew that there was still the issue with Master and the other Rovers, but he no longer felt the overbearing sense of dread.
“I hope Master von’t be too upset vith me for running off…” Blitz thought.
“You know he cares about you a lot, right?” ‘Orel’ answered.
“Ja… *sigh* I can only hope for dhe best…” Blitz reasoned as the iron fence at the back of the property came into view.
Blitz ducked back behind the boysenberry bushes and opened the secret hatch that led to the transport tube back to HQ. He slung his duffel off his shoulder so he climbed back down. Suddenly, a soft glow caught his eye in the darkness. It was nearly two in the morning. Who could possibly be awake at this hour?
“A quick check couldn’t hurt…” Blitz thought as he dropped his duffel into the hatch and secured back into the ground.
The inky blackness still giving him plenty of cover, he crept over to where the soft glow was coming from. He knew it was the den beside the main foyer, which only made him grow more curious.
The pale orange-yellow glow emanating from the fireplace bathed the room in a dim comforting light. Blitz scanned the scene to find his former master sitting in his accustomed chair staring into the flames. The Madame was sitting down on the floor looking down at something. Blitz panned down to see Eva sleeping soundly with her stuffed rabbit tucked under her arm snuggled against….
“Muzzle…? Nein… dhat means…” Blitz noticed in shock.
Blitz looked frantically around the room only to confirm his suspicions. Master was seated across from the Chancellor watching his tablet and smiling down at Muzzle.
“If Meister is here dhat means dhe odhers are out looking for me…” Blitz thought.
His mind ran in a thousand directions until he looked back at Eva and Muzzle. His eyes narrowed as he pouted to himself.
“And vhat does Muzzle mean by cuddling vith MY Eva…? She’s my girl…” Blitz said with a low growl.
Blitz’s shadow shifted against the window causing Muzzle’s head to shoot in his direction. Blitz felt sweat dripping down his back. The Rottweiler was far from slow when it came to canine instincts. Blitz froze in place to keep his shadow still. He must have heard him too.
“Please… please lay back down, Muzzle…” Blitz prayed.
Muzzle’s eyes darted around the room before slowly laying back down around Eva’s sleeping form. Blitz heaved a silent sigh of relief. Slowly, he stepped away from the window and around the dark side of the mansion.
Blitz pressed his hand into his chest trying to take quiet breaths. His heart was pounding in his chest and ears. He sank to his knees beside a row of hedges trimmed in decorative lights. It was true that he wanted to let Master Shepherd he was alright, but the guilt of causing him so much worry made him fearful of being cast out by the other Rovers.
Unbeknownst to him, a figure was approaching him from behind. The sense that he was not alone began to become palatable to the Doberman as he turned his gaze to see the unexpected guest. Blitz turned to scramble away to make a run for the transportation pod back to HQ until he heard a voice that made him almost stop breathing.
“Blitzen, ich bin es, Plätzchen, “(Blitzen, it is me, Cookie) the sweet voice of the mansion’s head chef announced.
“Plätzchen...? “ (Cookie...?) the Doberman questioned, finally finding strength to speak.
Cookie nodded gently, reaching her hand out for him. Blitz’s heart slowed down as he took hold of the soft warm grasp. Before he could brace for it, Cookie pulled him into a tight embrace before pushing him back with a snort of her nose. She pinched her nostrils closed as she looked at the Doberman with a slightly disapproving gaze.
“Oh, was hast du da eingelassen? Sie müssen über ein Bad. Komm herein ...” (Oh dear... Blitzen... what have you gotten into? You need a bath. Come inside...) Cookie said with her usual mothering tone.
Blitz dropped his head as a child not wanting to listen to their parents would before catching the strong sweaty musk dripping off of him.
“Eww... she’s right. A bath vould help... vait... no I need to get back to HQ...“ Blitz argued silently.
“Plätzchen, ich... ich kann nicht kommen... Meister...er...er immer noch,“ (Cookie... I... I can’t come in... Meister... he... he still...) Blitz said with a slight trembling of his lip.
“Ich werde es später behandeln. Ich lasse mein Liebling, Blitzen, Gefriert außen. Jetzt, im Inneren zu kommen und wir können Ihnen aufgeräumt,” (I’ll handle it later. I’m not letting my darling Blitzen freeze outside. Now, come inside and we can get you cleaned up) Cookie said holding the door to the warm inviting kitchen open.
The yeasty smell of bread dough and the sharp sweet bite of the boysenberry jam drew the Doberman inside without a second thought. Cookie watched with a satisfied smile as she gently closed the door behind him. As she turned to look at her beloved friend, she noticed the cuts and swelling that covered his body from the night’s events.
“Blitzen, was mit dir passiert? Du siehst schrecklich,” (Blitzen, what happened to you? You look horrible) Cookie said as she ran her fingers over a large gash on his arm.
“Danke… habe dich auch vermisst, Plätzchen, “(Thanks... missed you too, Cookie...) Blitz said sarcastically.
“ Nicht bedeutet, zu unhöflich, liebe klingen ... Ich glaube, einer meiner Kräuterbäder werden Ihnen helfen,” (Not meaning to sound rude, dear... I think one of my herbal baths will help you) Cookie said as she marched him across her kitchen.
“Plätzchen...“ (Cookie...) Blitz whined.
“Nicht in diesem Ton mit mir zu machen nicht, Blitzen ... nun, weitergehen. Ich bin in einer Minute wieder,” (Don’t make that tone with me, Blitzen... now, go on. I’ll be there in a minute) Cookie reprimanded.
Blitz heaved a sigh of mock annoyance, but smiled gratefully. He was here now so he might as well.
The washroom was right next to the main kitchen so no one would see him. It wasn’t a normal washroom like most homes would have. It was actually a special room Cookie had furnished with a large spa tub along with her specialty herbal remedies that worked wonders.
The intoxicating smell of fresh lavender and vanilla extracts filled his nose, making his forget about his fears for a moment. The soreness of his body was beginning to catch up with him as he peeled his outer shirt off. He just kept to the undershirt and his boxer shorts as he turned the hot water tap on and adjusted the temperature.
Cookie heard the water being turned on. She could act now. Blitz wouldn’t hear her walk by and become concerned. She tiptoed down the hall and knocked on Alaric’s bedroom door. She heard the butler’s weary footsteps approach the door as the handle began to move.
“ Plätzchen...?“ (Cookie..?) Alaric said groggily, rubbing the sleep from his eyes.
“ Es tut mir leid für Sie aufwachen, Alaric. Es ist wichtig. Komm mit mir ...“ (I'm sorry for waking you, Alaric. It is important. Come with me...) Cookie whispered.
Alaric could sense the urgency in Cookie’s voice. He grabbed his robe and flung it around his shoulders as he followed her down the hall to the washroom. He heard the sound of the running water along with the sound of someone entering the tub.
“ Plätzchen, der ist ...?“ (Cookie, who is..?) Alaric began to ask.
Cookie put her hand over his mouth to silence him. She opened the door as silently as she could to reveal the Doberman’s presence. Blitz’s ears were barely poking out of the tub as the hot water swirled around him. Alaric had to silence a gasp of surprise as he started trembling in excitement.
“ Er ist nach Hause gekommen, Alaric. Gehen und lassen die Kanzlerin wissen. Ich werde Blitz von hier zu behandeln,“ (He's come home, Alaric. Go and let the Chancellor know. I'll handle Blitz from here.) Cookie said with happy tears in her eyes.
“Ja...! Sofort...! Das ist wunderbar!“ (Yes... ! Right away...! This is wonderful!) Alaric said as his adrenaline carried him down the hallway.
Cookie entered the steam-filled room and shut and locked the door quietly. She tiptoed over to the table and poured a milky white liquid into a large bowl releasing a strong wave of peppermint through the room. Blitz inhaled the comforting aroma as he raised his head out of the hot water. Cookie grabbed a bunch of dried lavender just trying to act as casual as possible. She turned towards the tub and set the bowl on the small stool next to the tub.
“Es tut uns leid, dass es so lange, Blitzen. Ich konnte nicht feststellen, dass Pfefferminzseife hielt ich für Sie so hatte ich zu schüren eine weitere schnelle Charge,“ (Sorry for taking so long, Blitzen. I couldn't find that peppermint soap I kept for you so I had to whip up another quick batch) Cookie said as she reached for a washcloth.
“ Hmm ...? Oh ... du meinst du, dass rund gehalten ...?“ (Hmm...? Oh... you mean you kept that around...?) Blitz responded.
Cookie poured a fair amount of the pearly fluid into the hot bath making Blitz sink back down into the relaxing warmth.
“ Ich habe immer die Hoffnung, Sie wieder zu uns kommen und hier sind Sie gehalten,“ (I've always held the hope you would come back to us and here you are.) Cookie said as she swirled the mix in the water.
Blitz looked down with a shamed look on his face. It didn’t have time to sink in as a tingling sensation began behind his right ear. His leg twitched slightly in habitual reaction as his canine instinct lapsed momentarily. Cookie enjoyed the familiar touch of the Doberman’s soft fur as she extended his arm to reveal the bad gash.
“ Ich hätte nie gedacht, wie sehr ich es verpasst hier. Nach Meister schickte mich weg ... Ich habe versucht, zu vergessen ...“ (I never realized how much I missed it here. After Master sent me away... I tried to forget...) Blitz said.
“ Es ist nicht dasselbe gewesen um hier seitdem. Eva hat dich so sehr vermisst. Sie hat auch nicht viel geschlafen,“ (It hasn’t been the same around here since then. Eva has missed you so much. She hasn’t slept much either) Cookie said as she poured some rubbing alcohol in another small bowl with some strips of cloth.
“ Ich erinnere mich noch an den Blick auf ihrem Gesicht ... *sigh* GAAHH!“ (I still remember the look on her face... *sigh* GAAHH!) Blitz said until the pain in his arm shook him from his thoughts.
Cookie pressed the alcohol-soaked strips against the wound making the Doberman’s body tense up in pain. After a moment, the pain subsided and she was able to continue cleaning it. Blitz remained silent as she worked until she had wrapped it in clean gauze.
“ Nun abgetrocknet zu werden. Sie müssen sich im Obergeschoss Kopf,“ (Now, get dried off. You need to head upstairs.) Cookie said matter-of-factly as she handed him a warm towel.
“ Was ?! Aber Meister ... er ...“ (WHAT?! But Master... he’ll...) Blitz raised his voice in shock at Cookie’s statement.
“ Ich sagte ... Ich werde alles tun könnte die Kanzlerin neben handhaben ... .... wenn Sie nicht wirklich wollen, um ihn zu sehen ... warum haben Sie ihn immer noch Meister nennen ...?“ (I said... I’ll handle anything the Chancellor might do... besides.... if you didn’t really want to see him... why do you still call him Master...?) Cookie said with a smile.
Blitz froze. She was right. No matter what had happened he still loved the Chancellor and his family with all his heart. His hands trembled part from cold and part from nerves as he emerged from the tub and wrapped the large towel around his shoulders. Cookie cupped his face in her hands and wiped the tears that were forming in his eyes away.
“ Es wird gut sein, Blitzen. Würde eine Snack helfen?“ (It will be just fine, Blitzen. Would a snack help?) Cookie suggested.
Blitz thought a moment and with a sheepish smile gave her a nod. To refuse any of Cookie’s goodies was blasphemy to everyone in the house. It was like she sprinkled magic in everything she made.
“Gut ... kommen in die Küche, wenn Sie gekleidet sind ...“ (Good... come along into the kitchen when you’re dressed...) Cookie said as she left.
Meanwhile, the Chancellor was still sitting in his armchair in front of the fire. Heidi had settled on a cushion next to Eva and Muzzle. Master Shepherd was keeping an eye on his tablet, waiting for news from the Rovers.
“Kanzler, ein Wunder geschehen!“ (Chancellor, a miracle has happened!) Alaric’s voice burst in from the foyer.
Eva stired a bit from her snuggled spot against the Rottweiler on the floor before settling back in after some coaxing from her mother.
“Alaric, halten Sie bitte ruhig. Eva schläft,“ (Alaric, please keep quiet. Eva is asleep) Heidi said.
“Ich entschuldige mich, Madame, aber ich bin ... Ich bin so aufgeregt, ich ... ich kann nicht einmal it out ...“ (I do apologize, Madame, but I’m... I’m so excited I... I can’t even get it out...) Alaric said as he shook all over.
“Über was, Alaric ...? Was könnten Sie so erregbar diese spät in der Nacht?“ (Over what, Alaric...? What could have you so excitable this late at night?) The Chancellor asked, standing to his feet.
“Er ist hier ...“ (He’s here...) Alaric said with a broad smile.
“Wer...?“ (Who...?) Heidi asked.
Master noticed the gleam in Alaric’s eyes. Could it be...? He tapped the translator app on his tablet so he could speak.
“Es ist Blitz ... nicht wahr ...?“ (It’s Blitz... isn’t it...?) Master asked with an air of certainty.
“ Ja ... ja es ist. Plätzchen fand ihn außerhalb der Villa ... wie er noch Kontrolle über jeden. Sie bekam ihn hinein, um ihn sauber zu machen. Er sah ein wenig rau. Meister, er ist hier. Er ist endlich zu Hause!“ (Yes... yes it is. Cookie found him outside the mansion... like he was still checking on everyone. She got him inside to clean him up. He looked a bit rough. Master, he’s here. He’s finally home!) Alaric said bouncing in his place.
“Blitz...“ Master and the Chancellor said with tearful smiles.
“Wo ist er, Alaric?“ (Where is he, Alaric?) The Chancellor asked.
“Unten in Plätzchens Waschraum ...“ (Downstairs in Cookie’s washroom...) Alaric answered.
“Ich muss ihn sehen ...“ (I’ve got to see him...) The Chancellor said determined as he began to walk out of the room.
Before he got very far however, he felt a delicate hand on his shoulder. He turned back in surprise to find his dear wife stopping him.
“Was ist los, Liebling?“ (What is it, darling?) The Chancellor asked in confusion.
“Johann, auf ihn warten ... lassen Sie ihn zu dir kommen ...“ (Johann, wait for him... let him come to you...) Heidi said softly.
“Aber er ist ...“ (But he’s...) The Chancellor began.
“Ich weiß, meine Liebe, aber mit allem, was er durchgemacht hat, könnte es am besten sein, ihn nicht so plötzlich zu konfrontieren,“ (I know, dear, but with all he’s been through, it might be best not to confront him so suddenly) Heidi explained.
“Du ... du hast recht, mein kostbares Frau. Ich ... ich muss nur um ihm zu sagen, wie falsch ich war ... Ich will ihn zurück nach Hause,“ (You... you are right, my precious wife. I... I just need to tell him how wrong I was...I want him back home) The Chancellor said, embracing his wife.
“Ich weiß, Johann. Wir werden ...“ (I know, Johann. We will...) Heidi said.
“The fact that Blitz is even here tells a great deal... I believe you will see a very different Doberman. I think he wants to see you as bad as you want to see him...“ Master said.
“I hope you are right, my friend,“ The Chancellor said as they sat back down.
Downstairs, Blitz was waiting with baited breath at the prep counter in the center of the kitchen. He felt the saliva pooling in the sides of his mouth as the smell of boysenberry jam and cinnamon-sugar dough filled his nose. Cookie had been in the middle of preparing her famous boysenberry-filled doughnuts when she found him outside.
The baseball-sized pastries were turning a golden brown as they floated in the hot oil. Blitz almost couldn’t stand it. He remembered back when he woudl return home very late in the night and Cookie would be up preparing the next morning’s goodies. She always made him one special of whatever she was currently making. These doughnuts were his favorite. It was like she knew about his secret life before the Chancellor did and always had a treat for him.
The smell of said treats knocked him out of his memory as he looked down to see two of the pastry spheres dusted in powdered sugar and drizzled in honey. The Doberman swallowed the saliva puddle in the back of his throat as he reached for a fork. Cookie just smiled as Blitz slowly dug in and savored every sugary morsel.
Cookie smiled sweetly as the fork clinked against the plate as Blitz licked the sugar off his fingers. She picked the plate up to put in the sink when Alaric knocked against the doorframe that led out to the hallway.
“Plätzchen, kann ich reinkommen?“ (Cookie, may I come in?) Alaric asked.
“Natürlich Alaric ...“ (Of course, Alaric...) Cookie answered.
Alaric entered and paused a moment, unsure of the Doberman’s reaction. Blitz didn’t even flinch. He looked joyful to see the family butler that he remembered so very well. Alaric would often take him for walks downtown when the Chancellor was extremely busy. He would always take him with him when he went to the barber shop and get him a new chew toy on the way home.
“Blitz ...? Oh, schauen dich ... du bist hier ... Oh mein lieber Freund Ich habe dich so sehr vermisst,“ (Blitz...? Oh my, look at you... you’re here... Oh my dear friend I have missed you so much) Alaric said as he embraced the large canine’s shoulders.
“Alaric! Ich habe es hier so sehr vermisst!“ (Alaric! I’ve missed it here so much!) Blitz said as he embraced the man tighter.
Being a Cano-Sapien, Blitz had become much stronger than when he was in his four-legged form. Alaric felt the tight, albeit affectionate, constriction around his lungs depriving him of much eeded oxygen.
“Blitz ... Ich kann nicht atmen ...“ (Blitz... I can’t... breathe) Alaric choked out.
“Oops! Es tut mir leid, Alaric. Ich glaube, ich vergesse immer, wie stark ich bin ...“ (Oops! I’m sorry, Alaric. Guess I keep forgetting how strong I am...) Blitz said as he released his grasp.
“Nichts passiert, Blitz ...“ (No harm done, Blitz...) Alaric answered.
“Nun Blitzen ... sind Sie bereit?“ (Now, Blitzen... are you ready?) Cookie asked.
Blitz swallowed a bit of nervousness as he closed his eyes. He took in a deep breath as he slowly nodded his head. The snack helped calm him down, but he still felt a thick wall against his chest.
“Bereit für das, was ...?“ (Ready for what...?) Alaric asked, unaware of the earlier agreement.
“Alaric, ich will Meister zu sehen,“ (Alaric, I want to see Master) Blitz revealed.
The room grew quiet. Nothing could be heard save for the crackling of the fire in the kiln behind Cookie. Alaric’s face had frozen in a shocked disposition. Blitz gulped down a few tears, thinking that Alaric was about to bear bad news of his request. Suddenly, Alaric began to laugh in excitement as he embraced the canine again, only this time Blitz was the one needing oxygen.
“Oh Blitz! Das ist das, was ich so gehofft. Master will dich so sehr schlecht zu sehen,“ (Oh Blitz! That is what I was so hoping for. Master wants to see you so very badly) Alaric revealed as he released his grip.
“Er ... er tut ...?“ (He... he does...?) Blitz said in shock.
“Ja ... er wartet auf dich ... er wollte hier herunter zu kommen, als ich ihm sagte, dass Sie hier waren, aber er wollte nicht, dass Sie konfrontiert fühlen. Bitte ...“ (Yes... he’s waiting for you... he wanted to come down here when I told him you were here, but he didn’t want to make you feel confronted. Please...) Alaric said as he began to leave into the hallway.
To Cookie’s surprise, Blitz followed Alaric willingly out of the kitchen. Before he disappeared, he turned back and picked Cookie up in a tight hug.
“Vielen Dank, Plätzchen... für alles,“ (Thank you, Cookie... for everything) Blitz said as he set her back down.
“Nie ein Problem für meine Blitzen ... viel Glück,“ (Never a problem for my Blitzen... good luck) Cookie replied.
Blitx smiled as he entered the dark hallway that led upstairs. He felt tingles of excitement and fear causing some of his fur to raise up a bit.
“Meister... vants to see me...? Has he missed me? But vhy is everyvun acting like dhis...? I need to stop vurrying. I’m dhis close...“ Blitz thought.
“Exactly...“ ‘Orel‘ said in agreement.
“I nevah tought I vould miss being me dhis bad...“ Blitz answered himself.
“One ting, Blitzy...“ ‘Orel‘ said.
“Ja...?“ Blitz urged.
“Don’t let anyting stop you... evah...“ ‘Orel‘ encouraged as he faded into his rightful place.
Blitz smiled as the dim light from the den illuminated the dark hallways. This was it. The moment of truth...
The sound of footsteps caused the Chancellor’s heart to begin to beat at a hurried pace. It sounded like more than one person walking along the hallway tiles. Heidi gripped her husband’s hand as Master stood to the side awaiting to see if the Doberman would appear. Alaric entered the room, but Blitz paused a moment as a wave of nerves hit his stomach. He took in a deep breath and slowly rounded the corner of the doorframe.
A gasp of surprise came from Heidi as the Doberman slowly walked into the room. The Chancellor looked at him with a blank expression. Blitz felt his heart stop. Was he wrong? Did the Chancellor still hate him? Before he allowed himself to think such things, he saw tears falling down the Chancellor’s face.
“Blitz...“ The Chancellor said as he opened his arms up.
“Meister...“ Blitz responded as he ran into the Chancellor’s embrace.
“You have no idea how much I’ve missed you...“ The Chancellor sobbed into the Doberman’s ear.
Blitz couldn’t say anything. He never thought he would hear those words. He returned his former master’s embrace as tears of relief ran down his face. The Chancellor pulled away and ran the back of his hand over Blitz’s head as he always had done. Master Shepherd stood quietly as the family scene played out.
Eva stretched out against Muzzle letting out a soft yawn, catching Blitz’s ear. He turned his head to see Muzzle trying his best not to disturb the young girl for wanting to greet the Doberman. Blitz knealt down and picked Eva up from the floor and hugged her close. Muzzle got up and went to stand by Master Shepherd so Blitz could sit down with his family. The Rottweiler nuzzled the Doberman’s leg, letting him know he was glad he was alright. Blitz found it strange for Muzzle to behave in such a way towards him, but he would ask questions later.
Blitz sat on his former dog bed and leaned against the stone hearth allowing the little girl to continue her slumber. The Chancellor and Heidi took their accustomed seats reveling in a usual scene that had been long denied. No more words were spoken. The family silently rejoiced as Blitz began to fall asleep himself, cradling Eva in his arms. Master Shepherd and Muzzle shared a happy smile as they moved out to the foyer.
“Well, Muzzle... looks like we need to call the others back in...“ Master Shepherd said as he tapped the Comm-Tag app on his tablet.
Muzzle gave a happy bounce as he turned back to see the reunited family peacefully asleep in front of the fire.
As the rain continued its heavy drizzle, the rest of the Rovers were at a loss for where to go next. Any scent that Hunter could have followed was so muddled it would probably lead them nowhere. Blitz didn’t leave any other clues apart from the cryptic note on the back of the photo.
“Where did you go, Blitz?“ Hunter thought.
“It doesn’t make sense...why would Blitz leave if he obviously wanted these ‘orrible blokes caught?“ Colleen said as she looked at more photos.
“It is not making any... I would be thinking him to be staying to be sureski...“ Exile added.
“Reah, rararararara rara...“ Shag agreed expressing the odd behavior of the Doberman.
Hunter remained silent as he looked out the door that led out to the junkyard. The rain continued to make the puddles outside grow outlining the ridges that were in the soil. Hunter focused in as familiar shapes began to form outside the door. It looked like...
“Hey, Rovers, look here...“ Hunter said calling everyone’s attention to the ground.
“Blimey, those look like...“ Colleen said noticing a familiar design.
“Road Rover boots... see logo in heelski...“ Exile said, pointing out the canine head inside a circle imprint.
“Blitz must have run out after calling the paramedics,“ Hunter surmised.
Before they could follow this new trail, Hunter’s Comm-Tag began to blink, but instead of the foreboding red it was flashing green. Green meant non-critical information. Hunter pressed the receive button on the back to allow Master to talk.
“Rovers...report back to the mansion...“ Master said in a calm tone.
“HUH?“ Everyone answered confused.
“But Master...“ Hunter began.
“Easy, Rovers... come on back... your search is over,“ Master said.
“Master... Blitz...?“ Colleen stammered.
“He’s here...“ Master said with a smiling tone.
“He’s what...?“ Hunter asked not processing what was being said.
“You heard right, Hunter. Blitz is here... safe...I’ll explain more when you get here...You’re good dogs...“ Master said as the transmission ended.
Hunter pressed the tag again to cut off the static. They all gave one another confused and shocked looks.
“Why would ‚e go back to the mansion? Oh blimey, I’ve go‘ a ‚eadache...“ Colleen said as she rubbed her temples.
“Well... Master said he would explain when we got back... let’s get going, Rovers,“ Hunter said as they exited the metal shack.
*beepbeep* *beepbeep* *beepbeep*
“What is being thatski?“ Exile asked at the peculiar sound.
“That’s weird... it’s my text message sound...“ Hunter said as he pulled his cell phone out of his back pocket.
Hunter opened the message and saw that it was from Master and a photo was attached. Hunter pressed the file and smiled as the image opened.
“Wha‘ is it, Love?“ Colleen asked.
Hunter turned his phone around to show the others what had been sent to him. Master had taken a picture of Blitz curled around Eva sound asleep with a content smile on his face.
“Awwwww...“ the other Rovers cooed.
The trek back to the mansion was filled with excitement and relief knowing that their Doberman teammate was safe and sound. Upon arriving, Alaric let them back in as quietly as he could without disturbing the family. The Rovers poked their heads in to see the endearing scene. They gathered around Master Shepherd and Muzzle, not making a sound to ruin the moment. Alaric tapped Master Shepherd on the shoulder and motioned for the group to follow him.
“ Es ist sehr spät, Herr, lassen Sie mich Ihnen zeigen, im Obergeschoss. Sie alle brauchen etwas Ruhe,“ (It is very late, sir, let me show you upstairs. You all need some rest.) Alaric said.
Master nodded as he motioned for the other Rovers to follow.
“Master, what happened with Blitz and the Chancellor?“ Hunter asked.
“Da... there are being many wonderings...“ Exile said, confused over the whole situation.
“Ha-ha... I think its best if we wait till in the morning for explanations, Hunter. Let’s just say... I think we will meet a new Blitz in the morning,“ Master said.