breezeshadow: It's a wolverine, hey! (Default)
[personal profile] breezeshadow
First part of the story, minus a few paragraphs: Here.

Now for an excerpt from the second part:

Even with the sun rising, there were no doubt scavengers in the area -- men and women who preyed upon the victims of the war, taking advantage of the destroyed land. Though there were signs of the gangs -- shanties made of debris and dead trees, an unfortunate soul rotting on a pike as a gruesome trophy and warning -- not a single person showed their face for miles. They would have to be truly insane to go after a leopard, a vampire, and a demon. Occasionally, Anca would stop and growl, planting her feet and lifting her fur, causing Fin and Nur to get on the offensive. Then they would move on again when the demon relaxed.

It got worse the closer they came to the border, and indeed having Fin morph in an area so exposed was a risk. There was no way they would get in with her as a leopard, however. They took a small break three kilometers out, to give them the energy to defend her, and also to permit Nur to scout the area. Her telepathy sensed numberous people, of course, none of them feeling friendly. She sensed no distress from the border, at least, just boredom and tension. Anca growled a few times as they rested -- an unnatural noise for a demon, but she had found it especially effective against ignorant humans.

Something would happen; Fin could feel it. They simply could not get this lucky; there wasn't enough fortune in the world for it.

They crossed the next two kilometers safely, and found that the old tree Fin had planned to use was splintered and gone, leaving them only more exposed. Anca looked toward one side, Nur during the other, as Fin morphed back--

And just as she reached for her undergarments, Anca screamed and launched forward, whipping one of her giant front paws out in front of her. There was a sickening crack as her paw hit something, and Fin saw out of the corner of her eye a human head roll unnaturally as their body fell backward, charge cut off mid-stride.

Four more launched from the tall grasses, armed but scrawny; scavenging was not a rich livelihood. Anca immediately whipped around toward a man charging her with a spear; the shaft set alight right near his hand and he threw it angrily, skin already blistering. The other tried to sneak up on Anca with a handleless blade, but Fin moved faster, leaping up and punching him across the face. Nur would likely hold her own against two; Anca was a bit clumsy on land.

The spear soared over Anca as she crouched down , slicing open the other scavenger's leg as he stumbled from the punch. He whipped his blade up and Fin blocked the blow with her arm, the rusted metal cutting some of her hair off. His other hand moved quicker than she expected, though, and pain exploded from her lower stomach; with a snarl she fell to her knees, stomach heaving. Her legs feeling like liquid, she allowed herself to fall and roll; the attacker's blade jammed though grass and dirt instead of her head, but dry heaving would not save her from a second attack.

Luckily, the man rated Anca a bigger threat, or she assumed that was why she did not die on the ground, heaving up breakfast and ignoring warm fluid soiling her crotch. That could work to her advantage, at least; he may think she was dying, rather than suffering from old wounds. The pain did not subside, but at least the vomiting did within the minute, and she crouched on her feet, noting that the sounds of fighting had died down.

Anca had a few fresh stab wounds, but they were mere cuts compared to what her attackers looked like. The one Fin had blocked had three massive gouges splitting open his torso -- Anca was not able to kick with her back feet easily, but apparently the man had gotten close enough for it to work. The other was not even visible, no doubt dead among the grass. Nur looked alone, though her robe was torn; she had her wings lifted awkwardly to provide shade.

"Poor bastards." Nur clicked her tongue, tail waving. She turned away from the unseen bodies and picked up Fin's clothing as she walked over. "You okay? I could feel it."

Fin could not imagine being a telepath; selfishly speaking, her own pain was too much for her to be able to handle everyone else's. "I think so. He only got one hit in. I think he thought I was dying." She took the clothes and began pulling them on; there was no time to wash the blood off, and she could just throw the undergarments away later.

"He was confused. Your punch shattered his face." Anca grunted as she sat down, twisting to sniff at her wounds. "He got me a few times, but on his knees. Lost his balance, but I didn't lose mine."

"So I see." The man's intestines leaked out of the center wound. Thankfully being a wereleopard gave her a strong stomach. "There were five of them? A whole gang?"

"Three men, two women. The ladies went for me, of course." Nur grinned cheekily, getting a groan from Fin and a snort from Anca. "Their last mistake. Maybe. I didn't check if they were dead."

"Even I showed that mercy." Anca rose to her feet and walked away, toward where Nur had fought. As Fin struggled on her blouse, the demon returned with fresh blood staining her lips. "One was. Not anymore."

"For the best. The toxin isn't nearly as fast." Nur sighed; despite the joke, she seemed disquieted. Fin sensed that she had hoped that both were still alive, so Anca or Fin could finish the job and leave Nur free of that guilt. It was not the first time any of them had killed, but Fin guessed that being a telepath made it a bit more painful, especially if the death wasn't slow. And vampiric toxin, while quick to paralyze, was slow to kill.

"Nice of the border to help us." Anca grunted as she turned toward Welen; her fur was just beginning to settle. Fin had no idea how the demon knew where to turn without her vision.

"They're overworked with shitty guns. And I doubt the Empire would appreciate them leaving their posts to help nonhumans." Nur snorted. "Maybe they'll collect the bodies before the cats do. I think we ruined our cover for Anca, though."

"Do you think they will refuse me after this?" Anca dug her front claws into the earth. "We saved them the trouble of dealing with a gang."

"I sincerely doubt they care about that, but the Msakajunia could. The gang is-- was on their territory, but Welen has clearly not bothered to help with them." Fin got to her feet with a wince, swallowing a gag. Walking would be awkward for hours, though she thought the bleeding had stopped. She walked over to their bags. "Nur, do you need another robe?"

"No. They didn't get much of it." The vampire adjusted the robe a bit; soon it covered her fully, though pieces of it dangled uselessly. Soon those pieces floated out of the way, Nur smirking; she always did enjoy showing off.

They left the bodies behind, Anca growling lowly as they passed through; perhaps the cats were already approaching for the free meal. Thankfully, wild animals were wiser than humans, and likely would leave them alone.

The border office looked in rough shape, with old bullet holes in the walls; the guards standing in front of it looked exhausted as they aimed their guns at the approaching group. A fourth person left the office.

"State your business!"

"This dance again?" Nur sighed. "We want to cross. Here are our IDs. Anca does not have one because she is a citizen of no country."


"The demon."

All four guards glanced at Anca, who sat back and basked in the unseen intimidation. The man aiming at Nur switched to aim at her instead.

"What is your business?"

"We are going to the wereanimal camp. Then I have a ticket back to Rezten." She flashed the ticket at the guards. "Ambassador from Coldsmith."

"Also we just cleaned up a threat for you. Imagine how many more we could clean up." Nur smiled innocently at one of the guard's incredulous look. The other slowly lowered his gun, leaving only the two aiming at Anca.

"Your identification is from the old Empire..." The man trailed off when all three of them stiffened, Nur's wings rustling. "But I can make an exception, since you are with Ms. O'Cuinn. Same for your... Animal."

Anca stiffened, lip curling, but Nur put her fingers atop the demon's head before her teeth were visible. Fin curtsied. "Many thanks. We won't cause any trouble."

They were rushed through; no longer were there doctors to examine nonhumans, forcing them to stay in limbus. Many of the larger border buildings had been destroyed, supposedly some by the Empire to destroy evidence. The crumbling building these guards claimed had probably been a rancher's house before the war, stolen to use as customs until the actual lines were finalized.

No doubt, with scavengers so close, it would soon be overpowered, forcing the Empire to find another place to steal.

Apologies for any typos or general crappiness. Writing this while waiting for Toyota to stop holding my car hostage. They said 1PM and apparently they plan to hold to that estimate.

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