Wolfe Chapter 3: Zane's Plan
“Absolutely not, young man!” Sarah said, grabbing his ear, “You are not going out there!”
Zane was amused that she thought it would work on him at a moment like this. Any other time he would have obeyed her, but not now. Besides, the cuts on his chest hurt worse than her pulling on his lobe. He was always respectful, but right now he needed to prove himself.
“If you won’t help me I’ll do it alone.” He said, completely ignoring his mother at this point.
Sam practically knew what the Elder was thinking, so he didn’t even respond to his son. The boy walked away, his ear pulling out of Sarah’s grip as if she wasn’t even there. She turned to her husband who was calmly watching the battle below.
“Aren’t you going to do something?! Our son is planning on going down there and you aren’t going to stop him?!” She waited a moment for him to reply then punched his shoulder when he didn’t. “Answer Me!”
Zane approached the twins who still had two dogs from the initial fight. They were battered a little, but he figured they’d serve his purpose. The others were about to enter the fray against the beast so he needed to hurry if this was going to work. Jimi and Jama were healing their hounds while still in transformation since they could be necessary at a moment’s notice.
“I need your dogs.” He said, cutting right to the chase with the two brothers. “All four, and I need a saddle on one of them.”
“You’re awful demanding…” Jama said.
“…what makes you think we’d help you?” Jimi said, finishing his twin’s sentence as they sometimes did.
“We’re on the same side here, right? Just help me out. I need to get down there and fast.” His tone was calm but stern.
They were using willpower to accelerate the healing for their beasts and Jimi’s finished first. The final wound closed up in seconds; tissue growing back and sealing like the cut was never there, not even a scar. The twins were both skilled in various arts, their top three being agility, tracking and medical; though others like strength and endurance willpowers weren’t bad either. It was fact that one day they’d be masters, as if they were born for greatness; and the envy of Zane.
Despite this rivalry, they were still on the same team, and now wasn’t the time for pettiness. It wasn’t long before they saddle one up and sent him on his way down the cliff with the other dog in lead. The two at the bottom heard their barks and howls as they alerted them to not enter the battle just yet. Zane might not have had control of his power, and these weren’t his beasts, but they could grasp the plan from his mind all the same since he was had will.
The ride was worse than he thought it would be, especially downhill. He nearly fell off a couple times, but it wasn’t like a horse that doesn’t care if you’re knocked off, the dog could feel it and corrected in time to give him a chance to balance. It was like their enormous paws were tearing up the ground in front of them, he looked to see clumps of dirt flying behind them. The wind raked across his face blowing his ear-length hair back. His long coat whipped back and forth as if to pull him off. He’d seen plenty of beasts run before, but now he could appreciate how fast they were going.
In no time, they caught up to the two that were waiting who joined in at the rear. Plunging through the streets now, the pack avoided narrow alleys and after a few turns, they found a scene of destruction. Here there were no alleys or roads, just a large area of rubble from destroyed houses and shops. There were two paths, one where the monster came in, and another that led off further into the district towards the ocean. Raulf was unsuccessful at leading it away, and it was continuing in its previous course. If that wasn’t enough indication as to where it was, the giant birds circling above were.
Finally they joined pursuit; now the wolf knew the plan once it was relayed. Communication was a critical element to this battle, and only trained animals were even capable of it. Suddenly they were at the docks, and the cat stopped when it saw the water. It seemed they had opportunity in this moment of confusion. The four canines with Zane split off as the rest charged in to distract it.
Three of the twin’s dogs were merely there to hold it steady for a second. They swooped in behind it and all latched on to the back left leg. The one Zane was riding jumped as high up as it could manage and dug in.
Wasting no time, he placed both his hands on the creature and tried his hardest to reverse the transformation. That’s when the feline kicked out its leg and through them off. Two of the dogs were flung into the water, while Zane’s and another landed on a pier. Wood chips splintered out and a few boards were broken, but they were still up, and somehow the young man was still on his mount. The beast figured that the plan had failed, and was taking off to remove his rider from the battle.
“No! Give me one more chance!” Zane cried.
Hearing his thoughts more than his voice, it stopped to look back at him. Seeing his determination, it turned to give this one more try. That was only possible if they could get close enough though. Currently the cat was shaking its head to and fro with a beast’s neck in its jaws. Clearly the dog was dead now, and its carcass was tossed at an owl that was coming down for another attack; this thing was getting smarter too.
The bird landed on its back just a few feet away from Zane, but quickly got up and took flight again. This battle was getting more dangerous every second; apparently Zane’s out of control mutation was able to heal itself slowly. It was practically unheard of; normally only the one who transformed it could heal a beast, but in this case it was able to do this all on its own.
The boy could add causing the death of a highly trained dog to the list of offences on top of the destruction of the district. Now the Elder’s wolf was in danger as well. Raulf had slammed into the cat’s head as it was lashing out to grab another one. All he managed to do was grab its attention. The wolf’s pack immediately unleashed a fury of attacks, but they were just barely avoiding devastating swipes from massive paws.
Every once in a while, a splatter of tissue and blood would splatter the ground and buildings as it was ripped from the cat. That’s when Zane finally realized something; it was so obvious. This was still just a feline. It was reacting purely off of instincts. The dogs were natural predators, and despite its size it either wanted to fight when cornered, or flee when it could. Back at the Wolfe family district, It charged the dogs because all the commotion made it feel trapped. Ever since then, it’s been driving itself away from the cliff. When it reached the water, it was like another barrier, so now it feels trapped on all sides. What Zane needed was a way to get to that cat, but it wasn’t about to stop fighting as long as these dogs were attacking it.
“Tell them to stop!” He shouted to the one he was riding.
The wolf could understand him though, even from this distance. It took a couple howls to call his pack off, and just as expected, it stayed put and didn’t chase them. Zane dismounted and his took off as well, even the birds retreated somewhat and stopped their barrage. It remained tense and started hissing as a warning to stay back. However, it knew it was trapped, so at this point it didn’t want to fight unless necessary. Zane had to approach this confidently, his fear couldn’t be felt or he’d risk being attacked too. Since he was so small in comparison, it didn’t notice him at first.
He was walking calmly over to it when suddenly the cat spotted him. The beast’s enormous head was now a meter in front of him, and he was staring into giant eyes. He felt his heart race, but at the same moment it was if time had stopped. The creature was mostly just interested, but Zane was focused, it could kill him with little effort. After a pause, he found himself walking slowly towards even though every bone in his body told him to run. He did his best to project his mind into the cat’s, and due to its calmer state, he managed to reach it a little.
Of course, Zane didn’t know if he was having any effect, but that didn’t matter, he had to try. His hand raised and placed on its nose. It actually recognized him now; it took touch and sight to establish a link. This was so close to being over, all that was left was to try and reverse what was done. The boy concentrated, pushing even the slight sting on his chest wounds out of mind. Now he felt the connection; it was like nothing he’d ever experienced before.
He had heard that focusing on the link between trainer and beast had a mesmerizing effect, but this was not expected. It was like he could see it too. His eyes were looking into a tunnel of colors, mostly red, and he could practically feel the cat’s emotions. It was afraid; not angry, not aggressive, merely wanting to protect itself and didn’t understand what was happening. Zane’s whole body felt like it was being attached to the monster; he could feel its heart beat next to his own.
He was so close to doing it, when next thing he knew, it wasn’t in front of him anymore. Something large had plunged into its side. The young man was stunned, and the link was broken. He recognized this beast; it was a bear from another district’s Elder. Obviously he didn’t know the situation was under control. Nothing could have been worse at this moment. Once that happened, the cat forgot all about him and went back to fighting.
The bear was still somewhat smaller than the feline, but had a lot of weight. Speed wasn’t at its advantage though, so it took a beating at first. Of course, once it had the chance to tackle, it went for the cat’s face. Their claws at least seemed equal in size, and one swing was enough to rip into its cheek like the wolf and dogs weren’t able to. Within no time, the kitten was flipped on its back. The display of strength and training from the bear was impressive.
It was able to lift the cat up and slam it back down with the intent to knock it out. Seeing the fight start up again, Raulf charged with the pack behind him seeing an opportunity to end this the other way. Zane noticed that it was getting darker out when he looked up to see rain clouds blowing in and covering the moon. The bear kept pounding the beast so there wasn’t much the others could do, but they circled around waiting to assist.
Finally, the cat stopped struggling; it was out cold from having its head pounded repeatedly. That was all it took for the reverse to happen. If a beast loses consciousness, then it returns to its normal state. After it started reverting, the brute stopped. At first it was slow; then went rapidly faster as it decreased in size. Soon the destructive monster was just a kitten again. Its fur seemed to magically appear from its skin at the end; which instantly turned bloody. The cat was motionless, and the threat dealt with. The fish in the rivers were reverted, and the owls were too as they took another flight over their trainers. Raulf took a quick look at Zane, then walked off to return to his master, taking the others with him.
At that moment, rain burst from above and beat down on the village and surrounding area. This was all too common around here. Storms come and go quickly. He just stood there in it though, gazing off at the top of the hill around where his house should be, now so much further away than it was a few minutes ago. He thought about his parents, but mostly his dad and whether his efforts were satisfactory for the hard ass. Then he thought about the earful he’s about to get from mom, and his feet felt heavy all the sudden.
“You alright?” came a voice through the pattering of the rain.
It was Elder Magnus from this district. The man didn’t approach; he just stood there waiting for a reply. Zane told him he was okay, but he didn’t expect what was coming.
“Good, then you won’t need medical care. Guards, seize him.”
Now he was surrounded, and it was apparent they weren’t joking. He took a quick glance at the cat on the ground with a trail of watered down blood flowing away. After feeling what it was, he actually felt sorry for it; and looking at the chaos this had caused, the guilt was overwhelming. If only he hadn’t been so impatient, but it was too late for regrets. Two guards grabbed an arm on either side of him, and gently, but firmly, guided him through the downpour.
“Damn it…” he said under his breath.