“Welcome to Alcaster Academy!” Scarlet proudly presented her school to the awestruck Kuekuatsu.
His deep brown eyes panned up, to glimpse at the top of the onyx stone castle tower. From what he could tell, the stone structure looked to be about as high as 200 feet.
“So? What do you think?” Scarlet stood by his side and nudged his shoulder as he gazed at the massive castle tower.
“Wow…” The word fell out of his mouth. “I’ve never been this close to a castle before.” He then turned to look at Scarlet. “Is this place is really a school?”
“It sure is.” Scarlet replied with a nod. “And this tower right here is connected to five other towers that make up the entire campus.” She gestured toward the onyx tower.
“Six towers? Just how big is this place?” Kuekuatsu asked, as he followed the fire mage, who began to make her way up the hill.
Scarlet paused to think about it, and then replied. “It’s big enough to be known as the largest magical institute in the country.”
“The largest huh?” He raised his brow. “That’s an impressive reputation.” The black wolf looked up at the tower once more.
“Well, of course.” Scarlet smiled, looking at the tower as well. “Some of the greatest witches and wizards in history have graduated from here.”
“Really, like who?
“Jericho Swift, the pioneer of teleportation.”
“I’m not familiar with the name.”
“You’re kidding right?” She looked at the wolf and giggled. “He founded the Swift Corporation, the number 1 delivery service in Coventos”
“Uhh…sorry, it’s…it’s not ringing any bells” Kuekuatsu chuckled awkwardly. “In fact there’s a lot about this country that I don’t know” he admitted.
“Wow, so you’re a foreigner?” Scarlet’s face lit up as she gasped. “Where did you move here from?” She seized the opportunity to learn more about him.
“Luna’Crest.” Kuekuatsu answered. “It’s a small country in the far east, across the Anoktsu Ocean”
“You’ve come such a long way.” Scarlet replied, pushing back her red hair. “What was the journey like?”
“…That...” The black wolf paused. “Is an incredibly long story...” He trailed off, as he gazed at the ground below.
his eyes then panned up to scarlet as he said
"But to give you the short version, there was never a dull moment" he smiled
"I could say the same thing about this place" she gestured toward the castle they were approaching.
“How long until you graduate from here?”
“About four or five days.” Scarlet then sighed. “Assuming that I pass my finals.”
“Were you supposed to take them today?”
“I was…then all this happened.”
“I was supposed to be collecting kazcuza berries for my Mom, and then I heard you scream; which hurt my ears by the way.” The black wolf grinned.
“ Sorry your delicate ears couldn’t handle my cries for help.” Scarlet giggled softly. “But I’m glad you heard me.”
“I’m glad I made it in time.”
Kuekuatsu and Scarlet reached the top of the hill, and approached a large black gate stationed at the base of the onyx tower, in front of wooden double doors.
Before she took another step closer to the gate, Scarlet felt the black werewolf’s hand on her shoulder.
“What’s wrong?” Scarlet asked, looking over her at him.
“Now that we’re here, what should we do about Dream Spark, and the person who used it on me? Will she do it again?”
“Probably not, since she got what she wanted so far, but I wouldn’t put it past her.” She answered.
“Is there a way to block it?”
“It’s possible.” Scarlet pondered for a moment. “But I need more information to be sure. In fact, this magic could be closely related to telepathy.”
“I wish she’d use telepathy right now and tell us what the hell is going on.” He folded his arms.
“That reminds me….when we were in that dark void, I heard her voice.”
“You did?!” Kuekuatsu blinked in surprise. “What did she say?”
“That my fate does not end here.”
“Oh…” His furry ears folded back. “So it’s just a reminder that she knows your future.” He looked away, scratching his head.
“True, but you’re missing the point. She contacted me while I was in another dimension.” She emphasized the last word. “This girl must be an immensely powerful telepath, if she is capable of achieving a feat such as that, let alone using Dreamspark.”
“With power like that, she could probably get people to work for her…” The black wolf turned to look at the forest below.
“Or she may not need anyone’s help to know where we are…” Scarlet glanced up at the sky to see that the hour of dusk had arrived.”
“Ugh! All this is making me paranoid!” Kuekuatsu ruffled his hair and barked.
“Me too…” Scarlet sighed, putting her palm to her face.
Scarlet then turned to face the black gate again and said. “Before we continue this investigation, we should take care of ourselves first. Because I need a shower and you still need medical attention.”
“I told you I’ll heal. My Immu—”
“I know, I know. Your immune system is very strong” she interjected. “The least you could do is wash away all that blood, and get a change of clothes. You must be exhausted after all that fighting.”
“Look Scarlet, I’m fine.” He pounded his chest with one fist.
Scarlet shook her head and sighed. “Alright tough guy, let’s go.” She grabbed his arm and approached the black gate.
Kuekuatsu noticed that a small rectangular box was attached to the gate, with a built in screen and speaker. He watched as the red haired teen pulled out a card from within her blazer, and then held it up to the metal box and waited.
“Welcome to Alcaster Academy, please state your name and provide a card of Identification. Thank you.” A mechanical voice echoed from the box.
“Uh…what the hell is that thing? And why did it talk?” the black wolf pointed toward the speaking metal box.
“It’s an ID Scanner, it's part of the school's security system.” Scarlet answered, before responding to the scanners request. “Scarlet Blazerune,”
A green beam of light burst from the screen, and vertically slid across the surface of the card that featured a recent picture of Scarlet’s face, which was taken earlier that year. As well as an ID number, grade year, and the name of the castle she belonged to.
“You may now proceed.”
“Kogenta would freak out if he saw one of these” He said as the gate opened.
Scarlet passed through the gate and gestured him to follow.
Once Kuekuatsu took a single step into the gateway, he felt a solid wall push him back. The metal box beeped and spoke again.
“Warning, unauthorized personnel detected. Please vacate the premises until exam hours are over.”
“What …?” Kuekuatsu looked puzzled as he tried to push against the invisible wall.
“Oh god, I can’t believe I forgot!” Scarlet face palmed. “Guests aren’t allowed during exam days…”
“That’s an important detail to forget don’t you think?” He furrowed his brow.
“Well, there were twenty other exam rules I was supposed to remember. You can’t blame me for forgetting just one.” She argued.
“Whatever, what do we do now?” the wolf asked, after backing away from the wall.
“I’ll go on ahead and find my Professor and explain everything to her. Hopefully she’ll be able to make an exception for you. Then later she can help us find out who that girl is.”
“Alright then, I’ll wait here.” Kuekuatsu sat down with his legs crossed.
“Be back as soon as I can.” Scarlet said as she jogged toward the wooden double doors, and opened them.
Minutes after the doors closed, Kuekuatsu turned to face the forest at the bottom of the hill. He placed a hand over his stomach and rubbed it.
“I wonder if there’s time to eat…I could really use some kazcuza berries right now…”
Before he knew it, twenty minutes had past and he was still sitting in front of the gate, waiting for the fire mage to return with help. He was willing to wait, because his body could use the time to rest, but his increasing hunger was building up his impatience. His fingers tapped, tail wagged, ears twitched, and stomach growled.
“….There has to be something…” He growled. “…Something I could eat….”
He uncrossed his legs and stood on all fours, taking on his quadruped form. The wolf then trotted downhill and began sniffing the area for some easy prey. It took about two minutes to acquire the scent of a nearby woodland creature.
“I hope it’s not a squirrel, I hate squirrels.” The wolf stuck his tongue out in disgust.
Kuekuatsu traveled deeper into the forest, tracking down a potential meal. While walking beside a set of bushes, his ear twitched at the sound of a twig being stepped on. He paused at first, and then turned to face the bushes before lowering his head and back; his claws peered out as he spread his paws. The wolf’s nostrils flared and took in a new scent…a familiar scent. He then heard another footstep from within the bushes, followed by a low rumbling growl. Kuekuatsu’s hackles were raised and his tail pointed straight, he was ready to pounce upon his enemy.
“GRAWR!!!” The black werewolf lunged into the bushes, tackling another wolf who was larger than he was.
The two of them tumbled across the ground for a moment, until the bigger wolf kicked him off. Kuekuatsu rolled over and recovered his balance, before letting out a fierce bark as he assumed a threatening pose.
“I see you’re too stubborn to die!”
Still mostly hairless and burned from their previous battle, Zetrov growled back at the young wolf.
“You….are a fool to think…. that I could die so easily…” His voice sounded raspy with each breath.
“I watched you burn, it was very convincing.” Kuekuatsu snarled, taking a step closer to his opponent, and Zetrov did the same.
“That was merely…. my shadow acting the part... while I escaped….however….I can’t say that I came out….unscathed….” his words were dripping with anger.
“You’re the real fool if you think you can win!” Kuekuatsu barked. “Scarlet is out of your reach now, so I suggest you leave while you’re still alive.”
“Don’t insult me you petulant brat!” Zetrov barked before wheezing.
“You and I…have at least one more fight left in us…” His gruff voice rumbled. “So let us honor our fathers…. and make this final battle….. a glorious one!” He bellowed, and stepped closer.
“Fine by me!” Kuekuatsu roared. “But there is something I want to know first!”
“And what would that be…. young pup?” Zetrov smirked.
“Why do the elders want me dead? And what is the curse of the black wolf?!”
Zetrov shook his head and chuckled. “If your father were here….he would slaughter me on the spot for telling you this…..” Zetrov began to move, and Kuekuatsu matched his movements; their path soon formed a circle.
The black lycan glared at the older wolf, waiting for him to explain everything.
“You are responsible for the deaths….of hundreds…. if not thousands of our kind.” He said bluntly
“Wha…what the hell are you talking about?! I would never do something like that!”
“Irrelevant! The fact remains that you are responsible…. So many lives were taken from this world…. On the day you were brought into it.”
“Damn it, that doesn’t even make any sense! How could my own birth be the cause of such a massacre ?!”
“The moment you drew your first breath….. a deadly storm took shape in our homeland….”
“That doesn’t explain a damn thing! A storm showing up after I was born could easily be a coincidence!”
“Only ignorant fools believe in coincidence!” He barked. “You were…the only newborn on that day.” Zetrov coughed. “And it was only until…. Your parents took you away….that the storm finally subsided.”
“If any of that was even remotely true, then I would be able to conjure up a storm right now!” Kuekuatsu’s anger continued to build. “My father told me that I was born the day before war broke out in Luna’Crest”
“Of course, that’s exactly what your father wants you to believe…! However, he was right about one thing…. There was a war between the many packs… but the truth still remains….you are a curse to us all …and your existence must be purged!!”
“I don’t believe a single damn word that you say! I’ve had enough of your crap!!” Kuekuatsu roared, and charged at Zetrov.
The hairless Lycan grinned, then raised his paw and swiped it, smacking the black wolf in the face as he lunged. Kuekuatsu skid across the ground on his back, and then rolled over; his legs wobbled a bit before he stood back up.
“Accept the truth boy! Accept that it is your fate to die for the greater good!” Zetrov barked. “Your parents thought they could change your fate…. by running away…. but they were wrong, and I’m going to prove it!!” He jumped at the young wolf.
Kuekuatsu tried to dodge, but was too slow. Zetrov pounced upon him, and had begun to press his large paw down on his neck. While struggling under his weight, the black wolf could feel the saliva dripping from Zetrovs’ maw as he glared at him with menacing eyes.
Kuekuatsu transformed into his partial human form, and punched Zetrov in the throat. While the bigger wolf choked, he pulled his legs back and kicked him in the chest, sending him flying onto his back. The black wolf jumped to his feet, and then changed into his bipedal wolf form. Zetrov coughed for a moment before taking on the same form as well. He then watched as the younger wolf struck a unique fighting pose. His claws were out, left hand out with palm facing down, knees bent, left foot forward, right foot back, and right hand raised up and pulled back with the palm facing his enemy.
“You think you can defeat me with your father’s technique?” He asked, as he began marching toward the young wolf. “I bet you haven’t even begun to master it.”
“I don’t need to master anything to take you down!” He rushed forward.
“When will you learn…” Zetrov smirked, and raised his left arm and swiped his claws at Kuekuatsu.
The black wolf stood his ground and blocked the attack with his right shoulder. He then pushed the arm away and jumped up, giving the older wolf a rising knee kick to his lower jaw. While Zetrov began to stagger backward, Kuekuatsu followed up with a mid-air spin kick to the face. Dazed by the attack for only a moment, Zetrov recovered and began his retaliation. The black wolf, who had switched to his quadruped form, dodged the slash attack, and then circled behind the older wolf and chomped on his right leg.
“Argh!!” Zetrov roared in pain.
As he turned around, the black wolf had backed off and returned to his biped wolf form. Kuekuatsu rushed in again, and then slammed his right palm in the center of Zetrov’s chest. In that moment his arm was grabbed, and he realized too late that it was a trap. Zetrov grabbed his left shoulder and picked him up and started running forward. Various trees were knocked over as Zetrov used the young wolf to take them down. He continued to run, using Kuekuatsu to plow through any obstacle that was in his way. His rampage went on until he came across a steep hill that he neglected to see in time, causing the two werewolves to tumble downward into a calm flowing river. While they were submerged, the blood that stained their bodies began to wash off of them, and created a crimson mist inside of the river.
Kuekuatsu, who was free from Zetrovs grip, realized that the river was shallow enough for him to stand in. He coughed, spitting out both river water and blood, he then fell to his knees and crawled to shore. A moment later he noticed that Zetrov was doing the same. Breathing heavily, Kuekuatsu forced himself to stand up. He was at his limit; several of his bones were either fractured or broken, and they could take hours or even a day to heal. Zetrov was forcing himself as well, since his wounds could take up to a week to heal. Facing each other on opposite ends of the shore, Kuekuatsu and Zetrov prepared themselves for their final clash.
“This….was a great battle….but now…..it must come to an end….” Zetrov raised his claws, and they began to glow bright red. “Are you ready… young pup?”
“Atla….Che’milla!” Kuekuatsu growled in their native language.
Zetrov dashed forward, and Kuekuatsu forced himself into a sprint. When the two werewolves met at the middle of the shore, Zetrov slashed his red claws at the black wolf, but he ducked at the last second and then with his palm open, he gave Zetrov an uppercut to the throat. The older wolf coughed up blood, but he was not done yet. He lunged forward with the claws of his right hand to stab Kuekuatsu, who was to slow to dodge. The red claws burned as they plunged deep into his chest and stomach. Zetrov roared in triumph as he slammed Kuekuatsu to the ground.
“Axel…..was a fool…..for trying…to protect you…” Zetrov’s voice was much raspier than before, and he appeared to have trouble breathing.
“Damn you…!” the young wolf barked, and coughed up blood.
Kuekuatsu did not want to admit it, but he had lost. He no longer had the strength to fight back, and he could feel the blood loss and exhaustion chip away at his ability to stay conscious. There was so much pain in his body, so much that it was unbearable and he wanted it to stop. Then finally, as everything in the world around him began to fade away, the last thing he saw was a set of red claws swinging down toward his head, delivering the final blow.
(Scarlet suspects that she and kuekuatsu are being watched by the person that orchestrated their meeting and asks Professor Spriggs to help them hide themselves. Using a spell tag.)