Ch. 1: FOXWOOD
In the middle of the night, underneath a city in Canada, there lay an underground base. That base was known to the people who worked there as FOXWOOD One, the first base ever built for FOXWOOD. The walls, floors, and ceilings were so white it hurt the eyes when one looked at them. Most of the doors were made of glass that, if it weren't for the logo for FOXWOOD composed of several white triangles shape like an "F" emblazoned on the doors, were flawlessly see though.
Inside one of the room is where the newcomers of FOXWOOD are about to receive their codenames and their Brigade names. There are nine of them, all of them anthro animals due to the Fines Malum Incident, which happened two weeks before. The accident/Fines Malum case caused them to be transformed into what they now were. At the center of the nine, there is a red fox with his green eyes looking at the commandant of FOXWOOD, the Commander.
The Commander’s face was wrinkled due to his old age and had several scars; the most prominent ones were the three claw-like scars running from his left temple to his chin. His green eyes and hair looked dull, but shining at the same time. His blue uniform was filled with several medals; with the most prominent one being the gold medal he'd gotten during the Vietnam War.
"Daren Virtus," the Commander said, "do you swear to work for FOXWOOD at the cost of your life?"
"I do," Daren said without a shred of fear in his voice.
"Then, from now on, your codename will be Brave Fox," the Commander said. "Show your courage when it's most needed." Brave Fox saluted at the Commander and the Commander saluted back.
"Kyler Sapiens," the Commander said, "do you swear to work for FOXWOOD at the cost of your life?"
"I do," Kyler said.
"Then, from now on, your codename will be Wise Wolf," the Commander said. "Show your wisdom when it's most needed."
This he had repeated for the others, though Margaret was a bit unsure and the Commander looked liked he might change his mind about her before she accepted in the end. Chris Potens became Power Coyote, Margaret Virtus became Spotted Leopard, Anna Amor became Lovely Vixen, Karson Ecclesia became Belief Cat, Ethan Libertas became Living Wolf, Tim Libertas became Free Fox, and Jon became Follow Jackal. ("What kind of codename is that?" Daren heard Jackal said under his breath).
When the Commander finished giving out codenames, he said, "Now it's the time to give second Brigade for FOXWOOD. I do believe it is time to tell you FOXWOOD goals.
"It all started in 2008, when a war had finally come to an end, or so we though. The technology of our enemies, the Nex Mutatio, is still functioning, but it was supposed to deactivate when they were all dead. Now, we believe that one Nex Mutatio is still alive and as long as it lives, the technologies cannot shut down for good. So, we created FOXWOOD to find it and kill it, ending this once and for all.
Living Wolf spoke out, "Wait a minute. FOXWOOD exists just to seek and kill someone, just to destroy some machines?”
"They're not ordinary machines," the Commander said. “They’re technologies that can corrupt the mind by just being near them. I’d heard good people had become insane by just being near them. If we even give them even a small chance to be able to rebuild them, then the universe, at large, can be corrupt beyond recovery. Anymore?”
“You also mentioned a war,” Living Wolf said. “What war are we talking about?”
“The war between the Athrú and the Nex Mutatio,” the Commander said. “I don’t know much about it since the Trickster Brigade refused to talk about it. What I do know is that both sides are driven to near-complete destruction. In fact, there’re only two Athrú living in the entire universe.”
“Trickster Brigade?” Living Wolf said in a confused tone. “Athrú?”
“The Trickster Brigade is the first Brigade for FOXWOOD,” the Commander said, “led by Solid Fox.” There was a noticeable harshness in tone when he said that codename. “And the Athrú; all I know about them is that they love to transform people.
“Ok, since there’re no more questions, it’s time I assigned you to your mentors,” the Commander said. “Brave Fox, Wise Wolf, and Follow Jackal; you three train under Thunder Jackal. Power Coyote, Free Fox, and Living Wolf; you three train under Wild Coyote. And Lovely Vixen, Spotted Leopard, and Belief Cat; you three train under Silver Vixen.
“Now, the first thing to know—”
“Um, excuse me sir,” Brave Fox said fearlessly.
“What is it?” the Commander asked in an impatient tone.
“What about Fox? I meant Solid Fox,” Brave Fox said. “Doesn’t he get to train one of us?”
“Solid Fox,” the Commander said in that same harsh tone, “that’s what I’m going to tell you about.
“The first thing you should know is to stay away from him.”
All of the Lycan Brigade looked confused, especially Brave Fox. “Why?” he asked. “He seems to be ok.”
“He spells trouble,” the Commander said harshly. “There’s not a place that he can go without some incident happening which people died in. These three scars,” he pointed at the claw-like scars, “were a result of an incident which he was involved in. But, even knowing these things, I let him go with Silver Vixen on that vacation a year ago.
“But all that vacation was just incident after incident along with death list after death list. Finally, I pulled him them out of that blasted vacation before more innocent people got hurt or killed. You see, he means trouble!”
The Commander looked sternly at the Lycan Brigade who, except for the unfazed Brave Fox, looked shocked. “Let’s test it out,” he said. “How about I train under Solid Fox and see for myself?”
The two stared at each other with a stern face. The others, on the other hand, looked at Brave Fox with concerned spelled out on their faces; worried that he’d get reprimanded for that comment. Just then, the Commander sighed.
“Alright,” the Commander said. “You get your wish. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.
“Ten-hut!” Everyone stood straight and at attention. “Dismiss!”
The newly formed Lycan Brigade walked out of the room in an orderly fashion. The last one to leave was Brave Fox and, before he left, he turned around and looked at the Commander. The Commander was staring at him with a stern look on his face. Brave Fox left the room, sighing all the way while looking down.
He then looked up and saw Lovely Vixen with a worried look on her face. Her silver fur and hair, along with her blue eyes, only made her even more stunning. Her heavy black shirt and pants made her looks larger than she really was, but, to Brave Fox’s green eyes, she was still the most beautiful vixen in the world.
“Are you sure you want to train under Fox?” Lovely Vixen asked worriedly. “What if the Commander’s right? What if he could spell deaths wherever he goes? You might get killed.”
“True,” Brave Fox said. “But that’s the same with you and everyone else here.”
“I’m just worried about you,” Lovely Vixen said.
“Don’t worry,” Brave Fox said. “I’ll be fine.”
“Well,” Lovely Vixen said. She looked down while biting her lips; not entirely convinced. She then looked up with a desperate look on her face. “Just promise me that you won’t get kill.”
“Anna,” Brave Fox said as he hugged her lovingly. “I promise.”
Lovely Vixen hugged Brave Fox back when she heard those words. After several seconds they let go and she kissed him on the cheek. She then walked away to the others while he touched where she kissed him.
He then walked away to the opposite direction, deciding that he should talk to Solid Fox, the one who helped the Lycan Brigade get a job at FOXWOOD, about what happened at the meeting. Along the way, he was looking at the glass doors with signs next to them, telling what was in those rooms. One door, however, caught his attention. It was the only steel door in the whole base with a sign on it.
Project Oncoming Storm
ONLY TRICKSTER BRIGADE
This reminded him of that phone call two weeks ago, when Fox was calling Jackal for a ride. During that phone call, Fox mentioned Project Oncoming Storm, asking on how it was doing. Brave Fox’s hand then move closer, inch by inch, to the doorknob, debating whether or not he should go in there. But, in the end, he pulled his hand back.
“You wouldn’t be able to get in there anyways,” a creepy voice behind Brave Fox said.
Brave Fox jumped in surprised and turned around to see an anthro coyote standing there, trying to suppress his laughter. His sandy color fur and hair reminded Brave Fox of Power Coyote, but he had friendly deep blue eyes instead of Power Coyote red eyes. His clothing’s are as black and heavy as that Lovely Vixen was wearing, except he’s also wearing a pearly white lab coat.
“Scared you,” he said in his normal northern voice while chuckling, “didn’t I?”
“Whatever,” Brave Fox said. “I think you’re Wild Coyote.”
“Right as rain,” Wild Coyote said. “You must be one of those new members Star Fox was talking about. What’s your codename?”
“Brave Fox. What do you mean by I can’t get in there anyways?” Brave Fox asked.
“Brave Fox, huh? I must come up with a nickname for you soon,” Wild Coyote said while grinning wildly. “What I mean is this door’s handprint protected. It would only allow itself to be open if you’re one of the four that can, and I’m sure you’re not.”
“Oh,” Brave Fox said. “Do you know where, er, Solid Fox is?”
“Star Fox?” Wild Coyote said. “Yeah. He’s in his room. Just continue on until you find his room.”
“Ok, thanks Wild Coyote,” Brave Fox said.
“You’re welcome, er,” Wild Coyote said, struggling to come up with a nickname for Brave Fox.
Brave Fox then continue on his way, occasionally looking back at Wild Coyote, who was still struggling to come up with a nickname. After a few minutes of walking in the painfully white hallway, Brave Fox finally reached Solid Fox’s room, with the same see-through glass door allowing him to see inside.
The room had a bed, which Solid Fox was sitting on now, a desk with an iPod player on it, an advanced computer, and a TV. Solid Fox’s eyes were close tight, but not asleep. He wasn’t wearing a shirt at the moment, showing his skin. His dirty blond hair, Brave Fox noticed, was standing up a little bit. He was also not wearing any shoes and his heavy black pants were not clinging to his skin like it had when Brave Fox had first met him. Brave Fox was about to enter the room when he saw something incredible happening before his green eyes.
Solid Fox’s hands grew jet black fur as his fingernails were getting more claw-like. Solid Fox wasn’t even responding to the changes in his hands. The jet black fur spread to his elbows where the continuously growing furs became rusty red in color.
The fur spread to his torso, where it again changed from rusty red to white. It quickly spread up to his neck and his head. His hair color changed from dirty blond to rusty red, as rusty red fur from the top of his jaw met the white fur at the bottom of his jaw. His nose and mouth then began to move forward into a muzzle with sharp teeth as his ears, once covered by his long hair, moved upwards and became triangular black foxy ears on the top of his head.
The fur spread to his feet, becoming jet black again, as they stretched into digitigrades-like feet. While that was happening, something was growing behind him. It grew into a three and a half feet long, bushy tail, which had rusty red fur and a white furry tip on the tail. There wasn’t any noticeable ripping in his pants, at the feet and at the seat of the pants; he must have expected that he’d change and prepared for it.
Brave Fox took three steps back with his face filled with shock and his jaw open wide. Even with everything that had happened to him, he was still surprised at moments like this. Solid Fox opened his sea blue eyes and saw Brave Fox there, still looking surprised. Solid Fox just smiled, stood up, and went to open the glass door.
“You’re going to hurt that jaw if you kept it open for long,” Solid Fox said when he opened the door.
Brave Fox shut his mouth and gave a nervous laugh. “Well, you would also keep it open wide if you saw something unexpected, like someone changing before your eyes.”
Solid Fox chuckled at that. “Yes, but not someone changing before my eyes.” He turned around, showing a furry white “A” on his back to Brave Fox. “The shock of watching someone changing before me had diminished completely.”
“Yes, um, straight to the point,” Brave Fox said nervously. “I was assigned to train under you.”
Solid Fox quickly and abruptly turned around, his sea blue eyes, for the first time to Brave Fox, are wide in surprise. “What? I thought the Commander—”
“I’d asked him to train under you,” Brave Fox said quickly.
“Ah,” Solid Fox said; his eyes are friendly again. “That explains it.”
“Well,” Brave Fox said nervously. “When he talks about you, he seems to think that—”
“Death’s right behind me,” Solid Fox said sadly. He turned around and looked at the wall behind him. “I can’t explain it either. No matter where I go, something happens and people get killed.”
“So, the Commander’s right about you,” Brave fox said, looking down. “You do bring trouble and death.”
Solid Fox turned back to Brave Fox, walked forward, and placed his hand on Brave Fox shoulder. “Look at the bright side.” Brave Fox looked up. “It’s never a dull moment.”
Solid Fox then removed his hand and went to the desk.
“By the way,” Brave Fox asked. “How did you transform? And why did you transform just then?”
“It’s in my blood,” Solid Fox said as he opened a drawer. “It’s sort of like puberty to us. I first transformed when I was twelve. It was . . . painful.”
“Does it still hurt?” Brave Fox asked, remembering when he first transformed in that dream two weeks ago.
“Every time, but I’ve gotten used to it,” Solid Fox said, rummaging through the files in that drawer. “As to why, I needed to clear my head. Ah, here it is.” He pulled out and showed Brave Fox a file that says, ‘Fur Trade Incident’.
“What happened?” Brave Fox asked worriedly.
“You know about the triple A’s?” Solid Fox asked. Brave Fox nodded. “We didn’t think about it much, then.” Solid Fox said while going through the papers in that file. “But now, they added a new story in our REA adventure.”
“What do you mean?” Brave Fox asked.
“When we scanned the Anima in our hardware, it didn’t found a match, but,” Solid Fox said while taking out a paper from that file, “when we scanned all three, Anima, Anthro, and Animam, as one, we got a perfect match.”
Solid Fox handed the paper to Brave Fox. He looked at it and saw a graph; comparing the triple A’s to an unknown from the Fur Trade Incident. The lines were so close together that they had to be the same thing.
On the bottom it said:
Tests show that the triple A’s from the Fines Malum Incident are the same chemicals used in the Fur Trade Incident. Possible connections. Suggests checking the histories of the people involved in both Incidents.
“When we checked out the people involved, we’d found out that the mastermind behind the Fur Trade Incident, Matthew Domino,” Solid fox said while Brave Fox was looking at the sheet, “was a nephew to Earh Rego. That must be how he got those chemicals.”
“Excused me,” Brave Fox said, looking up from the paper, “but what’s the Fur Trade Incident?”
“Well, I’ll tell you. Sit down,” Solid Fox said, motioning to the bed. Brave fox went into the room and sat on the bed. It felt soft to him. Solid Fox sat next to him and he seemed to be looking not at Brave Fox nor at anything, but at the past. “It all happened a year ago, when we had our vacation the Commander was forced to take us out of. But we weren’t referred to by our codenames during our vacation. We were known as Daren and Zelda Crevan—”
“Wait a minute,” Brave fox interrupted. “Your name’s Daren too?”
Solid Fox stopped gazing at the past and looked at Brave Fox. “Yeah, what a coincidence.” He seemed to be unusually nervous about his name. “How about, when we’re both off-duty, you can refer to me as Crevan.”
“Ok,” Brave Fox said.
“Anyways,” Solid Fox said, gazing at nothing but the past. “It was the second to last town we’d visited. It was known as the town of Geisel. We went there by car. From the moment we saw a newspaper, we knew our next adventure had begun.”
Ch. 2 Geisel Town Suite
It was a warm summer day at the town of Geisel, yet the people in that town were hesitant to go outside to enjoy the day. This town had a heavy air of danger and terror just waiting to be found. Despite this, or because of this, a red Chrysler Neon 2000 LE drove through the mostly empty streets until it went to the hotel of the town, a four-story brown building called Geisel Suite. The parking area was surprisingly, or rather unsurprisingly, empty, yet the driver still parked it correctly.
The engine died, the driver door swung open, and Daren Crevan, wearing his old yellow shirt with a green Hawaiian shirt unbuttoned over it, his tattered jeans with his Fóntais belt on it, and his old red Converse All Stars, jumped out the car and walked to the passenger door to open it. Zelda Crevan, wearing her loose grey shirt, tight jeans with the same belt Daren was wearing (only she called it by its proper name, Athrú), and her white walking shoes, stepped out of the car when Daren opened the door. Zelda looked around and, while Daren was opening the trunk to get both of their suitcases, she saw how empty this town (was? Looked like?). When Daren took them out and closed the trunk, Zelda walked up to him and said, “Daren, is it normal for this town to be so empty?”
“I don’t think so,” Daren said. “I mean, it’s not like there was a nuclear bomb dropping down nearby.”
“Then why’s there no one outside?” Zelda asked.
“There’s someone,” Daren said. “Look.”
The two saw a woman walking rather quickly with a face filled with terror and when she saw them, she quickened her pace.
“Why’s she scared?” Zelda asked.
“Let’s find out,” Daren said.
The two tried to walk to her, but when she saw them walking towards her, she sprinted out of here, like she saw two solider holding flamethrowers with threats to burn her to the bone.
“Maybe it’s better to find answers in the hotel,” Daren said.
“OK,” Zelda said.
Daren picked up the suitcases and walked to the hotel with Zelda. The two went in, and there was only one person in the lobby; he was sleeping. The person was a forty year old man with his hair, sideburns, and goatee that looked like it couldn’t decides what hair color it should be; black or dirty blond. He was wearing a white shirt, and, from his position behind the front desk, he seemed to be the front desk attendant. The two walked to the desk and, seeing the bell, Zelda rang it, waking the man up. He looked in every direction until he saw the two. He looked surprised.
“W-what do you two want?” the man asked.
“We want to rent a room overnight,” Zelda said.
“Oh,” the man sighed. “I’ll check to see if there’s any rooms open.”
“I don’t think you’ll have to check,” Daren said. “From the looks of the parking lot, all of the rooms here are open.”
“Oh, right,” the man hits himself in the head with his hand. “This hotel was once the most popular in this town. At least, in better time, it was.”
Daren cocked his head in confusion. “Is there anything going on?”
The man looked startled by Daren’s question. “You don’t know? Don’t you people read or heard the news?”
“We don’t read the news since they’re making molehills looked like mountains these days,” Zelda said. “And we only used the radio to listen to music from the 60s or 70s.”
“So you two don’t even know. . . .” the man said. He opened the drawer of his desk and pulled out a newspaper clipping. He then handed it to Daren. “This should explain why.”
Another Kidnapping. Fear Grips the Town.[/i]
Last night there was another girl kidnapping, making her the 26th victim. The victim’s name is Ariel Obire, a 17 year old girl from 27 W. Dobson Dr..
Ariel Obire left her house at 6:05 PM last night to see her friend. Two hours later, a photograph appeared at the police station. The photograph contained Ariel, unconscious, in an unknown area. The police recognized this as the Minotaur’s M.O, or modus operandi. The M.O. of the Minotaur is to kidnap teenage girls from the ages of 15 to 17. Then he’ll take a picture of the girl and delivers it to the police; it is unknown how the Minotaur is able to deliver it without being caught. The police were unable to find any fingerprints on the picture.
“We have some ideas but we will not release any information at this time,” Inspector Ben Hund said on the way home.
Meanwhile, due to the terror caused by the Minotaur, the town is losing activities. Tourist-related businesses are taking a plunge as visitors flee the area.
“We would like to get our hands on this Minotaur,” said Wilfred Bischel, the owner of the Geisel Suite. “Then we’ll let him know how we feel about these kidnapping; with our fists.”
“I really do want to get my hands on that bastard,” the man said after Daren finished reading. He then stood up and lifted his hand. “Anyways, I’m Wilfred Bischel.”
“Oh,” Zelda said to Wilfred as she shaked his hand; it felt rough. “So you’re Wilfred. I’m Zelda Crevan and this man here,” motioning to Daren, “is Daren Crevan.”
“OK, Mr. and Mrs. Crevan,” Wilfred said.
“No, no, no,” Daren said, waving his hand in denial. “We’re not a couple.”
“We’re so not married,” Zelda said, also waving her hand in denial.
“Oh,” Wilfred said. “OK then,”
“By the way,” Daren asked as he shook Wilfred hand, “who’s Bend Hund?”
“The lead Inspector of the police force here,” Wilfred said. “Very few criminals have gotten away since he’s been on the force. If you want to talk to him, be careful.”
“Why’s that?” Daren asked.
“Well,” Wilfred said while rubbing his hair, “I know Ben since childhood. Good man, except for one flaw. He sees the world spilt up into two teams; the police and the criminals. In his mind, if you’re not with the police, then you’re with the criminals and should be arrested. So be careful of what you say. If you say something that suggests you’re not with the police, then he could arrest you, especially in this atmosphere.”
“Thanks for the advice,” Daren said. “It also mentioned possible leads. Is it true?”
“Only one,” Wilfred said, “and it’s not too powerful in my opinion.”
“Wait a minute,” Zelda said, looking confused. “You know what that lead is?”
“Yeah,” Wilfred said proudly. “Ben and I are friends since childhood, so he trusts me. Admittedly, I shouldn’t be telling you, but I think you two are trustworthy. Besides, business has been dead here, until now and this is the only way I could think of to repay you back.
“You see,” Wilfred said seriously, “for the last few times, since the people are too scared to even go to the supermarket to get some milk, witnesses claimed to have seen the girls with a young man named Brandon Proditor before she was kidnapped. If that’s true, then he may have something to do with the kidnapping.”
“Do you know Brandon Proditor?” Daren asked, cocking his head to the side.
“Yeah,” Wilfred said. “He was a high school Senior in our local school. He was a model student before that robbery—”
“Robbery?” Zelda interrupted.
Wilfred looked down hard on his desk. “A couple of months ago, before all of his kidnapping began; this hotel was robbed of several thousand dollars. The police, led by Ben, discovered the money in Brandon’s backpack,” Jeff shook his head in denial. “Even now, I still cannot believe that he would rob me. When they were deciding on what to do with him, Matthew Domino, he’s another of Ben friends that he trusts, offered to coach him. Everyone agreed and Matthew became Brandon’s responsibility ever since. In fact, today’s the last day for Brandon to be coached.”
Daren and Zelda were silent, taking in the information. Model student gone bad. . . . Coached by Matthew. . . . Seen with the victim before she was kidnapped. . . .
Wilfred then looked at the ceiling. “It’s strange. . . .”
“Sorry, but what’s strange?” Daren asked.
Wilfred then looked directly at Daren, his brownish green eyes meeting Daren’s sea blue eyes. “It’s strange that, ever since Brandon is under Matthews coaching, he’s been taking a turn for the worst. He doesn’t seem to care anymore and has been swearing like there’s no tomorrow.”
Wilfred shook his head and sat back down. “Well, it’s not my problem. Now, what will be your method of payment?”
“Oh, right,” Daren said, nearly forgetting that he was there to rent a room for the night. He went to his pocket and pulled out Alex’s credit card (Alex let them borrowed it for their vacation). He then handed it to Jeff. “Credit please.”
Wilfred typed in the information in that cheap looking computer and handed it back to Daren while handing the cardkeys to Zelda.
“Your room number is 101,” Wilfred said. “I hope you have a great stay.”
Putting the credit card back into his pocket, Daren picked up the suitcases and, before they went to their room, Daren asked, “By the way, where do Brandon hangs out by this time?”
Wilfred looked at his watch. “He should be at the basketball court right about now. Why? Are you planning to get involved in finding the Minotaur?”
“Maybe,” Daren said.
Daren and Zelda then went towards the room 101. Along the way, thoughts repeat themselves again and again in Daren’s head. A town in peril. . . . Kidnapped girls and the mysterious Minotaur. . . .
Finally, the two reached the room 101. Daren saw Zelda swiped the cardkey in and, when he heard a click sound, opened the brown door. They entered the room; which comprised of a sandy color rug that covered the entire floor, two beds with a red, white, blue, and green checker colored blankets and two white pillows on each bed, a desk between the two beds with a lamp and a telephone, drawers with a TV on top of it across the beds, a window with blinds over it, and a sparkly clean bathroom. After Daren put the suitcases on their beds, he turned to Zelda, who had a serious expression on her face.
“Daren,” Zelda said, “you’re not thinking of getting involved again, are you?”
“I admit it,” Daren said. “I was thinking of helping.”
Zelda gave a sighed and sat down on a bed. “I know that you love adventure and you love to help, but this is your vacation and going after trouble is not going to make you relax. Remember what happened at the last the last city we went to?”
Daren chuckled as he sat down next to Zelda. “How could I forget? Then again, that dragon girl just had to change her human boyfriend into a dragon with a dragon tooth necklace, which was dangerous, so dangerous in fact that they had to bring out ice packs to keep his body temperature stable. If we hadn’t interfered, he would’ve continued with that rampage and his changes wouldn’t have stabilized.”
“Yeah, well,” Zelda said, “what about the place before last?”
“You mean where that kid’s kitsune blood had awakened and we’d helped him control his abilities while killing demons?” Daren said while chuckling. “Yeah.”
“And what about the place—”
“—where we met—”
“—an anthro silver fox—”
“—and we helped—”
“—thwart the military inhumane testing?” Zelda finished.
“Of course,” Daren said. “I rather like that one.”
“Don’t you see,” Zelda said. “This is not making a vacation. This is breaking a vacation.”
“True, but,” Daren said as he looked up to the ceiling, “how could I ignore all of that? How could I turn a blind eye to a cry for help? How could I close my ears to the sounds of crying? After living as long as I did; after seeing people tolerating those actions instead of reacting to them, it’s hard. It’s really hard.”
“But on your vacation when you can lie down for once?” Zelda said in a concerned tone.
Daren sighed and said, “How about this; we question Brandon and if there’s evidence that he’s involved in the Minotaur, we handed him to the police and they do the rest. And if there isn’t, oh well.”
“Well. . . .,” Zelda said. “I don’t know.”
“Zelda. . . .,” Daren said as he put his arm around her. “I promise you, as long as something doesn’t happen, that is as far we go on this kidnapping business.”
“Well . . .,” Zelda said, thinking, “alright.”
Daren smiled. “Fantastic. After we rest for a bit from that drive here, we’ll go.”
Ch. 3 I Just Don’t Understand
After half an hour of resting from their road trip, Daren and Zelda prepared to go ask Brandon a few questions. Before they left, Wilfred took Daren aside. When Daren looked at his face, he noticed it was filled with deep concerned.
“If you’re going to investigate Brandon,” Wilfred whispered so that Zelda could not hear, “then be careful with Ben.”
“Sir,” Daren said in a low voice, “I respect the police—”
“I know. I know,” Wilfred said. “But this is Ben we’re talking about. He may be a good man, but since what’s been happening, he could go too far.”
“What are you talkin—”
“I promised Ben I wouldn’t tell,” Wilfred said. “But, you see, he can tolerate people talking to criminals, even though he thinks it’s illegal. Now, he’s getting desperate and, even though he’s not telling, I think he’s getting anyone who’s talked to Brandon. If he sees you, be careful.”
“I . . . see,” Daren said, thinking about what Wilfred said. Could getting involved in this town’s trouble have been a mistake?
“That’s what I wanted to hear,” Wilfred said. He then took Daren back to Zelda and waved them goodbye. “Have a safe investigation.”
Daren was still thinking about what Wilfred said to him when they reached their destination. It was an old basketball court, worn out paint on the ground and with the hoop nets barely hanging on with a few threads. Daren parked the Chryster Neon at the empty parking lot while looking at the court.
There were two people there; one of whom, Daren guess, was Brandon. His long greasy black hair shone while his brown eyes and his old dark clothes seemed dull in the sunlight. He was talking to a girl with her flaming ginger hair and her glowing red hair seemed to burn in Daren’s eyes, in contrast to her blue shirt and short blouse. Brandon must’ve said something bad because, before Daren could even open the doors, she left with both of her hands covering her face.
“He sure is a heartbreaker,” Zelda said.
Daren chuckled as he jumped out of the car, then circled the car to help Zelda get out. The two then walked up to the man, who had just noticed them.
“Hi,” Daren and Zelda said in union.
“Who the Hell are you two?” the man asked, glaring at them.
“My name is Zelda. Zelda Crevan,” Zelda said, ignoring his rudeness. “And this is Daren Crevan.”
“What do you two want?” he said, crossing his arms.
“Oh, just looking around, talking to people,” Daren said while walking around the man with Zelda. “That’s what tourists do, don’t they?”
“You two dare to tour around in this town, with all that’s been going on recently?” the man said, his eyes never leaving Daren sight. “You two have got to be shitting me.”
“Anyways,” Zelda said, stopping. “I think you haven’t introduced yourself. What’s your name?”
He scowls at them and said, “Brandon. Brandon Proditor.”
“Ah, nice name,” Daren said while glancing at Zelda, who nodded. “Since we’re visiting here, a town in trouble, perhaps you can tell us about the Minotaur kidnapping from your point of view.”
“Oh no,” Brandon said, his brown eyes filling up with such fire that they burned even Daren’s sea blue eyes. “You two are with Inspector Hund!’
“Wait, you got it all wrong—”
“You two are wired!!” Brandon said. “You two hope to put the blame of the kidnapping on me! Well, here’s my message: Go fuck each other!!”
Brandon then stormed off, leaving Daren and Zelda speechless. The two of then looked at each other with dumbfounded looks.”
“That . . . didn’t go too well,” Zelda said.
Daren sighed. “Well, we tried.”
“Since we got nothing,” Zelda said, looking at Daren in the eye, “and nothing happened, I guess we should tour around the rest of this town since you’re still bound to your promise.”
Daren looked at his right arm and saw two swirl of light on it, linking onto each other like a chain. They were the Kitsune no Yukusoku, the highest form of promise one could make. When it appears, it means the person who made the promise is deciding whether or not to break it. During that time, the light will shrink and if it disappears, either by debating for too long or deciding to break it, then the person will die. But if the person decides not to break them, then they’ll enter the arm again.
“Alright, let’s tour around this town,” Daren said, defeated while he watched as the chains of the promise went back into the body. “Now I know I’m getting old.”
Zelda giggled and said, “No. You just need a break from adventures.”
“I guess so,” Daren said while rubbing his hand behind his head. “Let’s get back to the car.”
The two then started to go back to that little red car, but before they could even reach it, a cold voice said, “Stay where you are sir.”
Daren and Zelda turned around and saw three men with the one in the middle dressed as an Inspector. The Inspector had pure white hair despite him looking like he was in his forties, and his eyes were completely black. The other two men were dressed in police uniforms; one of them has dark hair looking around stupidly while the blond policeman looked at them, intelligence plain in his eyes.
“Um, hello,” Daren said. “What are you three fine men doing here?”
Ignoring the question, the Inspector said, “You, sir, are under arrest.”
“Wh—” Daren said, shocked. “What?”
“Inspector Hund?” the blond policeman said. “He may have just been asking questions.”
“Maybe so,” Inspector Hund said. “But there’s a chance that he’s working with the Minotaur, and I can’t take chances anymore.”
Daren, realizing that he was the Inspector Hund Jeff was talking about, remembered what Jeff said about him: “Now, he’s getting desperate and, even though he’s not telling, I think he’s getting anyone who’d talked to Brandon.”
“This is an outrage!” Zelda said, furiously. “We’re not with the Minotaur!”
“Zelda,” Daren whispered, “please don’t make it worse.”
“Not you missy,” Inspector Hund said. “Him.”
“Still, I’m not going to let something like this happen!” Zelda said, her voice slowly rising. “I’m not going to let you arrest him just for—”
“Zelda, please,” Daren said. “If he wants to take me, then let him take me.”
“Daren!” Zelda said. “How could you let them—?”
“It’ll be alright,” Daren reassured her. “Just wait for me.”
The two policemen handcuffed Daren; the brunette muttering his rights, while Zelda helplessly watch. The biggest blow for her was, since something had happen, the promise Daren made had ended. Zelda saw the Kitsune no Yukusoku coming out of Daren’s right arm like broken chains and fade away; the others couldn’t see it since one needs magic to see it, but Zelda knew what it meant.
The men took Daren away from the basketball court, farther and farther away until they turned a corner and she couldn’t see him anymore. Zelda then looked at the ground and felt foolish; she’d known about how Inspector Hund saw the world in cops versus crooks. She should’ve realized that, even though they were doing it for the police, talking to Brandon was enough to make Daren seem suspect, since the inspector suspected Brandon.
“I shouldn’t had let it happened,” Zelda said to herself. “I should’ve told him to not go on with this adventure.”
“And now you’re going to pay the price,” a voice behind her said tauntingly.
Zelda’s eyes widened in shocked, looked up, and turned around, but there was no one there; only the sound of wind blowing. “Did I just imagine that?” Zelda asked herself.
“No, my little vixen, you didn’t,” the same taunting voice said.
Before she could react, she felt something being forced onto her mouth and nose. She smelled a strong odor and slowly drifted into unconsciousness. Before she lost all awareness, she looked at the attacker’s arm and saw it was covered in sandy colored fur.
Well, here's the first three chapters of Fur Trade. I hope you'll enjoy it.
By the way, those three stories Daren and Zelda were talking about in chapter 2 were based on stories I'd read which have a couple things in common: They have TFs and aren't completed for various reasons. . . . No, I'll not write on how I think they'll end without the original writers involvement. Also, I'd asked each of them permission to use them if I'd link them the chapter. So, without further ado, here are the authors and the stories in order.
Edited by BCRE8TVE.