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Chapter 17

“You let her what?” Oracle screamed.

“I didn’t let her do it.” Vincent told him. “She surprised me as I was pushing her over the edge. It doesn’t matter anyway. She’s dead and I’m supreme ruler of the earth.”

“What did you do with her mate?” Oracle asked.

“I left her in the woods with the Keeper’s body and her pitiful friends.”

Oracle nodded. “So what will you do with the world now? From what I can tell, it’s utter chaos.”

“I’ll just make sure the world is back in order, rule for a few days, then announce Jacob as my successor.”

Oracle waved his tail thoughtfully. “Shall we check the cauldron to see how your plan goes?” he suggested.

“No Oracle, I am truly confident that no one will be able to defeat me now.”

“All right, Vincent. Just be careful.”

“There is no need, but I will heed your warning Father. Now, how long do I have to live?”

“About a week, Vincent.”

“Excellent, that’s plenty of time.”

Vincent then took his leave after bowing to the Oracle. Oracle sighed and looked into the cauldron. “You should have taken a look, Vincent.” he groaned. “Then you would be better prepared for what is to come.”

“We should probably go find Alex.” Mike suggested.

“Yeah, who knows what a grief-stricken Alex will do.” Gabriella agreed.

They stood and bowed to Cassidie’s body before heading toward the edge of the clearing. Before they were even halfway there, Alex burst through the bushes and grinned at them.

“Hey, cats?” They turned to Jake. “I have to go, but I’ll try to be back as soon as possible.”

They all nodded as he ran off into the trees. “Hey Allie,” Cat said gently.

“How’re you feeling?” Stefan added.

“Killer,” Alex replied excitedly. “Because I’ve got a plan to make this new world living Tartarus for Vincent.”

“Really?” Gabriella inquired.

“Really.” Alex affirmed.

“How?” the others asked eagerly.

“We… are going to start…” Alex paused and her grin widened. “… a rebellion.”

“A what?” Stefan exclaimed.

“In the puffball history books that Kate used to bring over so we could compare, the rulers that were bad always had trouble because people were always rebelling against them. Like in France, they say that the Majesty Monster Massacre was called the French Revolution.

“The humans hung their royalty and became a republic or something like that, when what really happened to the royalty was that a whole bunch of puffball soldiers found them practicing witchcraft and had them all beheaded. But that’s what we’re going to do. All we have to do is rebel and then dear old Vince can’t stop us while keeping the world in check as well and viola! More monsters rebel and then I can finally take him down.”

The others nodded and they continued through the trees. They traveled through the city with their jaws set in determination; any of Vincent’s wolves that happened to be near them felt the power radiating from them and shivered. It was almost like when Cassidie had been leading only a half an hour before.

Alex and Cat helped the female monsters, Stefan and Mike helped the males and Gabriella got the children to safety. When they had cleared up that problem, they set about putting out fires and rebuilding the broken down homes. They had a bit of trouble rebuilding a swamp home, but it was cleared up eventually.

When they had finished with the majority of the city, Alex told the others to head back to the clearing. “What about you, Alex?” Mike called.

“I’ll be fine, just wait for me there.” He nodded and followed the others.

Alex flicked her tail loftily and puffed out her chest to give herself a bit more courage. Strutting easily down the street, she began heading to the place she knew Vincent was hiding: City Hall. As she made her way through the still destroyed part of the city, Alex looked at the destruction with a guilty eye. Just as she was reaching City Hall, a thundering voice came from the roof and Alex stopped to listen.

“Come home, my siblings. You’ve had your fun, now it’s time for order.”

There was a collective groan throughout the city, but the sinister wolf pack began running for City Hall. Alex knew she would soon be surrounded so she hurriedly touched the charm on her necklace and closed her eyes. Feeling the familiar warming sensation run through her, Alex knew the silent spell had worked and she was no longer visible. Climbing up the side of City Hall, the purple-furred vampire reached the roof and stood a few feet away from Vincent and an old, blue and green wolf.

“My brothers and sisters,” Vincent called down to the pack below. “It is time to set some laws in place and you have the privilege of enforcing these rules. Are you ready for the spell to be cast?”

The wolves below sent up a cheer and Vincent slowly chanted, “I am the ruler, you follow what I say, so change the world and make it my way.”

Another vortex burst from his hands and the world began changing again. City Hall became a palace, the wolves below had seals emblazoned on their chests, and the houses below became run down and crumbly. Alex growled as she realized that she had a lot of work to do.

Jumping from the roof, she turned into a bat and headed for the clearing. Hovering over it, she changed back into her humanoid shape and landed smoothly. Her friends turned to her and nodded at the rock. Alex climbed it easily and stood upon it just as Vincent had, but she was on four feet, rather than two.

“Ok cats,” she called. “We have some serious work to do. The city is run down, the palace is huge, and everyone on the planet is working their tails, fins, and wings off. We need a good rebellion; one that can fight back, lead the other monsters to join us, and take back what belongs to everyone.”

“What’s our name?” Mike asked.

“Yeah,” Stef added.

“It has to reflect who we are.” Cat said.

“How about the Crusaders?” Gabriella suggested.

“No, sounds too much like history.” Alex told her, shaking her head.

“What about the Destroyers?” Mike offered.

“Sounds too much like the Terminator or something like that.” Alex sighed.

“How about our band name?” Stefan asked.

“The Carnage Angels.” Cat added.

“They’ll know it’s us right away and we don’t need that.”

Alex thought a moment and her red eyes widened as an idea formed in her head. “How about the Keeper’s Angels?” she called down.

“It’s like our band name,” Cat murmured.

“But putting Keeper instead of Carnage.” Stefan muttered.

“I love it!” they shouted together.

“It makes our purpose clear without giving us away.” Gabriella exclaimed excitedly.

“Exactly.” Alex grinned. “Now, we need to see how many clearings are in this forest and which are usable. Since you’re all still in werewolf form, why I don’t want to know, we’ll all have to look on foot. Scratch and rub on as many trees and forestry as possible so that we can sniff you out if you get lost and when you shout for help. Ready? Go!”

Alex jumped from the rock and they all took off. Alex ran north and encountered a spacious clearing that was still smaller than their main clearing. Alex scratched a claw across one of her paw pads and dragged it along back to the main clearing before licking it and heading back out. When she felt they had done enough, Alex sent up a howl to call the others back; it wasn’t so long that it drew attention, but it wasn’t so short that it was a cry for help. She headed back to the clearing and found her friends.

“Ok,” she began, climbing the rock. “How’d we do?”

“I found three on the south.” Gabriella called. “All three were filled with rocks, but if we move those, it would make a killer sparring area.”

“But where do we move the rocks?” Mike inquired.

Alex flicked her tail thoughtfully as she looked around the clearing; she noticed how many entrances it had and knew that couldn’t be a good thing. “How about here?” she asked, the gears in her brain working furiously.

“But then where would we hold meetings?” Stefan said in confusion.

“No,” the purple wolf shook her head. “I mean we could build a wall around all the shaky areas in this clearing so that we can be safe. Most of it is surrounded by those sharp brambles, but the multiple entrances could cause infiltration too easily. So if we use the rocks from Gabby’s clearings then we can be protected. Gabby you marked the paths right?” Gabriella nodded and Alex smiled. “We’ll build paths to the different clearings once we’ve got this sorted out. Anyone else?”

“We found one on the east side!” the twins exclaimed together.

“It doesn’t have any rocks,” Stefan said.

“But there’s a medium-sized mud puddle bubbling in the center of it.” Cat added excitedly.

Alex grinned. “Mud is good. We don’t want them to see exactly who we are so we can streak ourselves with it. Well, the monsters with fur and scales can. That can be the inauguration pit where we welcome new members. Good work Twins. Who else?”

Mike’s fist shot into the air. “Ok,” he said energetically, like he was getting hyped for a skullball game. “There’s this clearing in the west with all these herbs and plants and stuff growing all around; I’ve never seen so much medicine in one place.”

Alex nodded. “That can be the healing center for monsters that get injured while joining us. Nice, Mike. I’ve found a clearing where we can perform songs to get the spirit up. You know, like a puffball pep rally. How about it?”

“Can you sing?” Mike asked. Alex nodded and the others smiled up at her.

“Killer idea Allie.” said a voice from the shadows on the right side of the clearing.

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