The Werewolf and the Witch
Bleeding out in the arms of the red haired girl he had seen in his dream, Kuekuatsu fought to stay awake as he writhed in pain. He completed the task that was asked of him, only to find out that the girl in the red cloak had no idea who he was...
"What the hell does this mean...?" he thought to himself. "...Nevermind, she's safe now, and my pack won't be suspected of attacking a human…... but still, who is she...?" Kuekuatsu stared into her teary emerald eyes.
"How can you tell me to not worry about it!?" Scarlet cried, looking down at the dark haired boy who saved her life.
"I….I can't stop the bleeding!" she said, while putting as much pressure on the lycanthrope's injuries as she could. Then she decided to take a different approach.
The young witch lowered his head to the ground and then removed her cloak. "Sorry Grandma ..." she whispered to herself as she folded the red cloth, and placed it firmly over the gushing stab wounds.
"This won't be enough..." Scarlet said as she watched her cloak become damp with a darker shade of red. "I have to take you to a hospital!"
"No...it's…It's alright." Kuekuatsu said before coughing up more blood. "…I'll heal….but I need some time…"
Scarlet blinked in surprise. "Wait. Are you saying that you know a healing spell?"
"No," the wolf shook his head with a pained expression. "Lycans… have a high... metabolism... and our immune system...is very strong... allowing us to... heal faster than normal." Kuekuatsu gripped the red cloak as he let out a painful groan.
Scarlet looked into his eyes, then back at the wound she kept her hand on. "But at this rate, you could die of blood loss before this wound closes up!"
"Damn!" Kuekuatsu cursed with a growl. "And that asshole said...he wasn't going to...kill..." He trailed off, the color draining from his face.
"HEY!" Scarlet smacked his cheek hard with her bloodstained hand. "Don't you dare pass out on me!"
"S...Sorry..." He replied weakly.
Suddenly, Kuekuatsu's nostrils flared when a familiar scent caught his attention. He then turned his head and glared in the direction where the grey werewolf Zetrov had landed amongst charred and demolished trees. The black wolf closed his eyes and focused on his hearing, ignoring the pain as much as he could. Fixed on that one area, he listened for a sound to confirm his suspicion. After a moment's silence, he relaxed, believing the worst to have passed.
And then he heard it.
"We...We have to get moving...!" He groaned as he tried to lift himself up.
"What? No! you'll make it harder for yourself to heal if you start moving." Scarlet argued.
"You let me worry about that..." He grimaced. "Besides...I'm not the only one...that's in the process of healing..."
"What...?" Scarlet's face went pale. "You mean...he's still..." Her eyes wandered in the direction of the demolished trees.
"Yes." Kuekuatsu nodded. "I heard his heart beats...They're faint, but still going…"
"Then...Then we have to get to the academy!"
"The academy, Alcaster Academy. It's the safest place I know!"
"Al-alright...how do we get there?"
"There's a road in the forest that I use as a shortcut to get to the southern entrance, but..." Scarlet sighed as she scanned the immediate area. "I have no idea how to get back there. When I was attacked I veered way off course. It could take hours to find it…"
"I can take you there," Kuekuatsu replied, "but like you said, it could take a while."
"Really?" Scarlet's face lit up. "Are you saying you know where the road is?"
"No, I don't." Kuekuatsu shook his head. "This part of the forest is actually unknown to me, but I can guide you through it using the trail that you left behind when that grey wolf was chasing you down."
The black werewolf sat upright, and removed the folded red cloak from his torso, revealing multiple bloody scars. He offered the blood soaked cloth to the young witch with an apologetic look.
"I'm sorry you had to use this." His furry ears folded back.
"It's alright," Scarlet smiled with a relieved sigh as she took back the bloody cloak. "I'm just glad you're not bleeding to death anymore."
Kuekuatsu chuckled while trying to rise to his feet, but stumbled back onto his knees. His wounds may have healed, but the fatigue was still there. Scarlet unfolded her cloak and threw it over her shoulders before inching over to the black wolf's aid. She took his right arm and put it over her shoulder, then rose to her feet.
"Thanks..." Kuekuatsu murmured, as he found himself leaning against Scarlet at first, but gradually beginning to reclaim his own balance.
Scarlet held her ground and put her arm around his waist to help keep him from wobbling.
"Okay, which way do we go?" Scarlet asked.
Kuekuatsu narrowed his eyes, scanning the area for tracks that were still fresh.
"There." The wolf pointed southeast.
The two of them began to move in unison. But their pace was slow.
"How long do you think we have until that wolf comes back?" Scarlet asked, after about ten minutes of walking down the trail.
"A couple hours for him to heal...and maybe another few to track us down, assuming we get that far..."
"That sounded a little pessimistic," Scarlet replied, glancing at the wolf from the corner of her eye.
"Sorry, I didn't mean it like that." Kuekuatsu scratched his head.
"Then what did you mean?"
"I mean...well..." Kuekuatsu paused. "Look, I'm not sure how long it will take for us to get there...If I wasn't so weak right now, I would just carry you there in no time."
"Carry me?" Scarlet stopped, forcing the black wolf to stop as well. "What makes you think I'll let you carry me?" She searched his bloody face for an answer.
"The fact that you want me to get you out of here as soon as possible," the wolf replied, as if the answer was obvious. "I'm also pretty fast on my feet." He smirked
She looked away, rolling her eyes and paused in contemplation.
"Fair point..." she admitted, and continued to move in unison with the wolf. "But I don't think it's necessary."
"Why is that?"
"Because... I think it would be...weird." The red-haired teen replied, hoping that he would figure it out without further explanation.
Kuekuatsu glanced at her with a puzzled look on his face, then looked straight ahead and thought about what she said. "Oh yea...that's right." The wolf's eyes widened when he realized something. "I'm still a complete stranger to you."
"You are." Scarlet nodded in agreement. "But then again, so am I."
"That's true..." Kuekuatsu paused. "Then I think it's about time we fix that."
Scarlet raised an eyebrow.
The black wolf removed himself from the young witch and stood on his own. Scarlet watched the wolf try to clean up his partially bloody hand, and then presented it to her.
"My mother says that this is how you humans introduce yourselves." Kuekuatsu said, with his right hand still outstretched. Amidst the stains of blood on his mouth and fangs, a warm smile came forth to greet the girl in the red cloak.
"Hi, my name is Kuekuatsu and it's very nice to meet you." His voice was deep and confident.
"Kuekuatsu…." The name of her savior echoed in Scarlet's mind as she paused. The name was quite odd and sounded very foreign in its pronunciation. But it was unique, and seemed to carry a lot of mystery with it. In that moment, Scarlet decided that it was a mystery that she wanted to uncover. Scarlet outstretched her hand to grab Kuekuatsu's and smiled back.
"My name is Scarlet Blazerune, and it's very nice to meet you too." Her voice was strong and cheerful.
The werewolf and the witch shook each other's hands; both were eager to learn more about one another. And soon, they would learn why they were destined to meet again.
In the two hours that passed, Kuekuatsu's wounds and stamina had mostly healed. Despite Scarlet's protests, he proceeded to carry her through the forest, insisting that it would be a much faster method. The trail that they followed still had the lingering scent of Scarlet and Zetrov, as well as their footprints.
"I told you not to carry me!"
"Yea, I heard you the first five times!"
"Then put me down!"
"Not until we get to the road, just give me ten more minutes and we'll be there!"
"Fine...! Just don't drop me!"
"Wouldn't dream of it!" Kuekuatsu laughed.
The black wolf leapt into the air over a fallen tree, and then he jumped even higher after he landed. Scarlet was amazed by the Lycan's agility as he went from sprinting across the ground to jumping from branch to branch. It was a much more pleasant adrenaline rush than the one she felt earlier when running away from the gray wolf.
"Are you sure you know where you're going?!" Scarlet asked while trying to keep her red hair out of her face.
"Of course!" He shouted. "My nose doesn't lie!" His dark hair flowed wildly with the wind.
"We're almost there!" Kuekuatsu shouted as they soared through the air toward another tree branch.
Scarlet looked down and estimated that they were about fifty feet up in air. Then the ground seemed to get closer when she felt the force of gravity begin to pull them down. The young witch shut her eyes and wrapped her arms around Kuekuatsu. There was an audible *THUD* followed by silence. Scarlet opened her eyes slowly to see where they had landed.
"We're here..." Kuekuatsu said before letting Scarlet stand on her feet again.
The fire mage looked around, and recognized the area right away as the exact location where the gray wolf had approached her. Feeling relieved to be in familiar territory; Scarlet walked up to the black wolf and hugged him.
"Kuekuatsu, thank you so much." She said before letting go.
"Uh..." Kuekuatsu replied awkwardly, and scratched his head. "Don't thank me just yet; I still have to get you to that academy."
"Well then what are we waiting for? Let's go!" She grabbed him by the hand and began leading the way. "We should reach the entrance in about ten minutes or less."
Following behind the girl in the red cloak, Kuekuatsu pondered what his next move was going to be.
"I don't smell that prick Zetrov anywhere..." Kuekuatsu looked over his shoulder. "I guess he hasn't started tracking us yet." He looked down at his bloody torn shirt and sighed. "How the hell am I going to explain this to mom and dad when I get back home?" The black wolf raised his head and looked at Scarlet, still walking ahead of him. "And of course there's Scarlet..." He folded his arms. "None of this still makes any sense. I saved her, told her my name, and she told me her name, but she has no idea who I am... wait a minute..." The wolf remembered something. "Their voices are different..."
Leading the march toward Alcaster Academy's southern entrance, Scarlet was in deep thought about what her plans were.
"I have to do better..." She clenched a fist under her cloak. "If I want to be a member of V.A.L.O.R., then I can't run away every time I see something big tall and scary...and with fangs...lots of fangs...My training should have been more than enough to handle that werewolf alone..." She unclenched her fist. "But if he could survive that fireball, could I really have stood a chance?" The witch glanced over her shoulder and noticed that the black wolf was in deep thought as well. "At least I know that I'll have nothing to worry about, if I run into anymore trouble." She smiled, but it soon faded when she remembered the blood that stained her cloak. "How the hell am I going to explain this?" Scarlet looked down and examined the dried blood stains."If this doesn't guarantee a makeup test, then I don't know what will." She sighed.
Kuekuatsu picked up his pace and walked side by side with Scarlet.
"Hey...Scarlet..." the wolf said, still unsure of how to present what he was about to say.
"Yes...?" she replied, noticing how odd he appeared to be acting.
"You wouldn't happen to have a twin sister would you?" Kuekuatsu looked her in the eyes, and she did the same.
"I do have a sister," Scarlet answered with a nod, curious about what inspired this question. "But we're not twins."
"I see..." He looked away
"Why do you ask?" Her head tilted slightly when she asked.
"Last night," Kuekuatsu started. "I saw a girl who looked exactly like you"
"You...You did?" Scarlet blinked in surprise.
"Yes," The wolf looked back at her. "And when I met you today I thought you were the same person, but I just realized that your voices are different."
"Really...?" Scarlet raised an eyebrow; she was taken aback at how weird it all sounded. However, she had already decided to put her trust in him, and gave him the benefit of the doubt.
"What was she like?" she inquired, giving him a chance to explain further.
"Mysterious," Kuekuatsu then broke eye contact and looked up. "...And beautiful."
"Wait...does that mean... he thinks I'm beautiful too...?" Scarlet blushed as she thought to herself, while Kuekuatsu continued speaking.
"She knew my name somehow, and refused to tell me hers. Then she just...spoke in riddles, and disappeared..." he finished his sentence, lowering his eyes.
"Is there really someone out there that looks just like me?" Scarlet thought to herself, becoming more intrigued, but still skeptical.
"Are you...are you sure that we were identical?"
"I am." He answered firmly. "She had your appearance down to every last physical detail, including that red cloak of yours –" he added.
"What?!" Scarlet sounded shocked, and clenched her hand on part of the cloak. "That's not possible." She shook her head and then stopped in front of the black wolf..
"I know I'm not the only one in the world with a red cloak, but this one is one of a kind! It can't be duplicated."
"How can you be so sure?" Kuekuatsu looked at her curiously
"Because of this." Scarlet replied firmly, turning around to draw attention to the sun-shaped insignia on the back of her cloak. "This crest represents the Blazerune family name!" she exclaimed with a hint of pride. "And my late grandmother made this cloak just for me."
She then approached the black wolf and placed both her hands on his shoulders.
"There's only one way that person could share my appearance to every exact detail. And that's with magic; she must have used an illusion spell to look like me before she approached you."
"But...I don't get it, why would she do that?" Kuekuatsu replied, considering her statement.
"You said she spoke in riddles, what exactly did she say?" She let go of his shoulders.
"She told me that I was going to find her and save her when the time was right."
"Save her?" Scarlet looked puzzled. "Was she in some kind of trouble?"
The black wolf paused for a moment before answering her question. He believed that if he divulged the fact that his encounter with Scarlet's doppelganger all occurred in his dream from last night, it would be difficult, if not impossible for her to believe.
In spite of that he answered anyway, "Yes...she was." He sighed before continuing. "After she disappeared, I tried following her. When I eventually caught up...she was being attacked by a werewolf..."
Scarlet took a step back as a chill went down her spine. "What...did you say...?"
"She was attacked by a werewolf." He repeated. "But the next part is where things get... complicated."
Scarlet opened her mouth to say something, but decided to let him finish.
"When I tried to save her, everything went dark. The next thing I knew, I was awake at home in my room...all of it was just...just a dream." His furry ears folded back when he saw the expression on Scarlet's face. "Or so I thought..."
Scarlet's mouth gaped open; a look of confusion with a hint of fear took over her face. She took another step back, and turned around to process everything she had just heard.
"I'm sorry," Kuekuatsu stepped forward. "I know this is impossible to believe but—"
"NO!" Scarlet silenced him with a raised hand.
"Scarlet…Please I just want to—"
"Shut up!" Scarlet raised her voice. "Just...Just let me think okay." The fire mage stepped away from the wolf.
A few minutes of silence came between them. In that time, Kuekuatsu thought for sure that he had lost her trust, but then the witch said.
"Alright..." Scarlet slowly turned around and sighed. "I believe you."
"You...you do?" The wolf's furry ears pricked up again.
"Yes," she nodded. "You basically had a dream about something that would happen in the future, in other words, a premonition of some kind."
"That's right, but I still don't understand how that's even possible... or why it happened." Kuekuatsu replied, feeling relieved that Scarlet did not think he was insane.
"I know what you mean." Scarlet said. "But what you described, sounds a lot like a form of witchcraft that I once read about at the academy. It's a very high level spell called Dream spark. I don't remember all the details about it, but what I do know is that it's a forbidden spell; because it allows the user to remotely enter, and manipulate someone's subconscious mind while they're asleep." She explained.
"Ma...Manipulate!? Are you serious? Someone actually hijacked my mind?!" The shock on his face was palpable as he growled. Kuekautsu ruffled his wild black hair as he paced back and forth.
"Wait...wait!" Scarlet approached the black wolf to calm him down. "Listen, we both can't freak out right now. Alcaster Academy is not too far from here, so let's just focus on getting there, alright?"
"Right..." Kuekuatsu nodded.
The werewolf and the witch continued down the road.
"I can't stop thinking about it though..." he said with a hint of frustration in his voice.
"I know, but I think I understand why this happened." Scarlet looked at the werewolf, and could tell by the expression on his face that he wanted her to elaborate.
"Whoever used Dreamspark on you knew that I was going to be attacked today, and chose you to be the one to save me."
"But why me? Surely it would have been better to show you."
"Maybe...but I think whoever did this wanted us to meet each other."
"To what end?"
"I don't know..." She replied, and after a pause she said. "Hey, Kuekuatsu..."
"Hmm?" he glanced at her.
"Do you... believe in fate...?" she asked.
"GRAAAAWWRRR!" a ferocious animal writhed in pain as he crawled away from the remains of charred wood and ashes.
"THAT BITCH!" He cursed the fire mage who inflicted third degree burns on him.
"That wretched human... will pay for this!" roared Zetrov who struggled as he climbed to his feet.
"And that accursed son of Axel...he truly is the bane of every Lycans existence!" He limped while walking on four legs.
The majority of the fur on his body had been burned away, leaving seared flesh exposed and sensitive to the slightest touch. It had already taken an hour for Zetrov to regain consciousness, and there was no certainty that he could catch his prey in time, if he waited for his wounds to heal.
The wolf allowed his years of battle experience to help ignore the pain to a degree, while he focused on locating his prey. He closed his eyes and flared his nostrils to draw the scent to him. A vicious grin formed on his maw when he acquired the scent of Kuekuatsu's blood.
"This time I'll kill him, and drag what's left to Luna'Crest to present to the Elders. Then I will be rewarded, and be called a hero!" He cackled.
Zetrov marched down the trail with his body stiff with pain. It did not take long before he fell to his knees and howled in agony.
"DAMN IT!" he bellowed. "This won't work, I can't possibly catch up to them in this condition...!" he breathed heavily.
"And how could I even fight with my body like this...?" He thought to himself then paused. "There's no choice...I have to use that spell." Zetrov growled in thought as he crawled toward a large tree, and took refuge in its shadow. He sat upright and then used a single claw to dig into the ground and draw a circle. An archaic symbol was then drawn inside of the circle; after it was complete, Zetrov let his hand hover over the symbol as he recited an incantation, in the native tongue of the Lycanthrope.
"Spirits of the shade, I command you to obey, lend me your power and find my prey!"
The circle expanded and the symbol melted away as a dark figure began to rise from it. The creature's body struck a strong resemblance to Zetrov, but lacked distinct facial features, except for yellow eyes, and a snout.
"Go my shadow." Zetrov commanded. "Find them, separate them, open a portal to their nearest location, and then return to me."
The dark wolf nodded in response, and then dissolved into the shadows. Zetrov growled as he tried to ignore the pain of his burnt flesh which was still sensitive, even to the touch soft grass. He was well aware that he had just taken a big risk by using dark magic of that caliber, but at the same time, he was confident that the sun would not become a threat to him as long as he stayed in the shade.
"This is ridiculous..." The wolf snarled. "I shouldn't be this desperate against children..."
"I believe I can choose my own fate." Kuekuatsu answered and then replied. "What about you?" The black wolf glanced over at the fire mage.
Scarlet pushed back her red hair, and casually clasped her hands behind her back as she continued to walk. "I believe that fate is like a compass. Its purpose is to guide you to where you need to go in this life."
"But fate can sometimes be cruel." Kuekuatsu folded his arms. "Would you be willing to follow that compass, if you thought for even a moment, that it was taking you in the wrong direction?"
"I can't say that I would." Scarlet answered with her head slightly tilted as she looked down. "But we have no way of knowing which direction is right or wrong. All we can do is follow the path that feels right."
"Unless you can see the future, and manipulate that path..." He said with a serious look.
"Do you think the mage who used Dream Spark on you is trying to control our fates?" Scarlet inquired.
"I don't know..." the wolf sighed and scratched his head. "And not knowing is starting to piss me off!" he growled.
"Hey, I'm frustrated too, but getting mad won't help anything." She looked at him intently. "We'll find some answers soon enou—AAAAAHH!" She screamed as she fell into the swirling dark vortex that appeared beneath her feet.
"SCARLET!" the black wolf reached out and grabbed her hand before she was completely consumed.
Kuekuatsu pulled, and was careful not to accidentally rip the girl's arm off, but as soon as Scarlet began to rise from the darkness, the vortex expanded, and claimed two victims.
"KUEKUATSU!" Scarlet shouted when the world had turned pitch black.
She shouted again, but could no longer hear her own voice. The scent of blood and sweat that the black wolf gave off had vanished. All she had left was the feeling of Kuekuatsu's hand gripping her arm. Soon it became harder for them to breathe as they drifted deeper into the void. All of a sudden, a large furry hand firmly grasped Kuekuatsu's left shoulder, while a row of sharp fangs happily sank into his right shoulder. The wolf could not hear himself as he roared in pain.
From within the darkness, a fist slammed into his back and continued its assault. Kuekuatsu maintained his grip on the girl's arm, but the brutal attack and the absence of air were taking their toll. Scarlet realized that something was wrong with Kuekuatsu, when she could feel his hand loosening its grip on her.
Scarlet's free hand grabbed her throat as she continued to suffocate. All she could do was hold on to Kuekuatsu with dear life, but even her grip was beginning to loosen as well.
The young wolf jerked his elbow back to defend himself, but it had no effect on the shadow wolf.
"DAMN YOU!" His roar was inaudible.
Kuekuatsu could feel himself becoming weaker by the second. With no air to breathe, his consciousness began to fade, and the sight of Scarlet succumbing to asphyxia, continued to blur. Finally, they lost their grip on each other, and Scarlet and began to float away in the void. With its mission nearly complete, the shadow wolf opened another portal, and then tossed the frail boy out like a rag doll. The young witch felt her life slip away as she took her last breaths. Scarlet reached out into the darkness, and tried to call out his name one last time.
"Worry not, Scarlet Blazerune." A voice echoed. "Your fate does not end here..."
Scarlet felt something pull the hood of her cloak and drag her away. She was then flung into the air and then tumbled across the grass and dirt. She desperately gasped for air before rolling onto her back. The lack of oxygen from earlier had left her vision blurry, but it started to come back. The fire mage raised her wand in an unsteady hand, when she realized who had pulled her out of the void, which had now closed.
The third degree burns on his body had been reduced to first degree burns on fifteen percent of his muscular frame. Feeling a little more limber, but still stiff with pain, Zetrov stood menacingly before Scarlet and said.
"I could have left the two of you in there to die, but that isn't my style." He growled. "I would prefer that my prey watches me tear apart their flesh!"
Zetrov threw his claws at the girl, who instinctively rolled out of the way at the last second.
Scarlet scrambled to her knees and glanced at the scratch she just received on her left arm. The fire mage looked at her hands and watched them tremble along with the rest of her body. She found herself taking deep breaths as if she were on the verge of hyperventilating.
"No one's saving you this time, wench!"
The wolf cursed out loud, and shot his ominous yellow eyes at the young girl. He tried to break into a sprint, but his weakened legs could only permit him to march aggressively across the ground.
"Get it together!" Scarlet thought to herself, as she trembled in fear at the sight of a hairless werewolf marching toward her with claws reaching to grab, and fangs ready to rip apart flesh and bones.
"You have to move...! You have to fight...! You are not going to die here!" Scarlet shouted in thought and her body responded in kind.
She stood on one knee, then twirled her wand in her left hand before gripping it at its center, and reached out with her right hand. Flames began to ignite at both ends of her wand and quickly took the shape of a bow. The claws of the hairless werewolf burned bright red once he reached a striking range. Zetrov lunged and Scarlet fired her arrow.
"Zetrov you asshole!" Kuekuatsu roared as he watched the portal that he was thrown out of close.
The moment he began to breathe normally, he stood on one knee and cringed, the pain of his shoulder wound was deep and trickling with blood, while his broken rib may have punctured something important. Kuekuatsu punched the ground and rose to his feet, letting out a fierce growl as he took on his beast form. The rush of adrenaline in his body kept him from passing out.
"I never thought he would resort to using magic to track us down!" He growled while searching for a scent to follow.
The black wolfs furry ears twitched at the sound of the explosion, and the startled birds that flew away in response. His nostrils flared when he caught the scent of smoke. He then calculated the distance of the scent and estimated that it would take less than ten minutes for him to reach Scarlet.
Kuekuatsu howled as he then burst into a sprint.
Scarlet jumped back from the dust and smoke and coughed. Once she had caught her breath, the fire mage took aim and prepared another arrow. The moment the smoke began to thin out and reveal the silhouette of her opponent, Scarlet immediately fired three shots. The three flaming arrows flew in unison as they approached their target, but were destroyed by Zetrov's red claws before they could pierce his chest.
"Damn it! He did it again..." Scarlet clenched her fist in frustration.
The Hairless werewolf howled with excitement, and then dashed out of the pillar of smoke. His legs seemed stronger than they were before.
The flames that constructed her bow fizzled out as the fire mage aimed her wand at the incoming target. She focused her energy into a single point, and then released it.
Zetrov snarled when he saw the blazing ball of fire race toward him. It was much larger than the one that hit him before.
"Not this time!" he growled before hurling himself out of the fireballs wake.
Scarlet cursed out loud and flicked her wand, causing the fire ball to dissolve into nothing. Her emerald green eyes focused on the hairless wolf as he approached. Flames engulfed her wand once more as it took the shape of a new weapon. Scarlet gripped both her hands around the hilt of a blazing short sword and prepared for battle.
"Remember your training...you can do this..." She whispered to herself.
Once Zetrov reached striking distance, he swung his flaring red claws at the girl, and they connected with her sword. Scarlet knocked his claws away and made a lunging motion toward his chest, but it was blocked by the wolf's red claws. Zetrov reached for Scarlet's throat, and missed when the fire mage ducked and then made an upward thrust, aiming for his head. The hairless wolf stepped back, barely dodging the flaming sword. He raised his foot in response and knocked Scarlet backward. The fire mage fell to the ground, but recovered quickly and jumped back when Zetrov lunged at her again. Scarlet then found herself backed up against a tree, with a hairless beast charging toward her. She raised her sword at her foe and prepared for the worst.
"ZETROV!" Roared another beast.
Kuekuatsu jumped off of a tree and planted his feet firmly into Zetrov's face. The black wolf back flipped and landed in front of Scarlet while the hairless wolf fell to the ground, reeling in pain.
"Scarlet, are you alright?!" He growled, with his eyes focused on the enemy.
"Yea...I'm fine." Scarlet replied, startled at first, but soon calmed down when she realized that he was still the same person that had come to save her.
"Good, you go on ahead and get to that Alcaster place. I'll hold him off!" He barked.
"No!" Scarlet walked over, and stood by his side. "I am NOT going to run away from him again!" She raised her flaming sword.
Kuekuatsu turned his head, and their eyes met. Without uttering a word, he understood that nothing he could say would deter Scarlet's conviction. As a wolf, it was a form of pride that he respected.
"Alright then," Kuekuatsu grinned, showing off his fangs. "Let's take him down together!" he barked.
"Agreed." Scarlet nodded, while tightening the grip on the hilt of her sword.
"Damn...! If I just had more time, I would have slaughtered that bitch." Zetrov growled while picking himself up. "Now I must deal with the both of them..." He stood on his feet once more and raised his blazing red claws.
"When you see an opening, take it!" Kuekuatsu said to Scarlet and charged forward before she could reply.
Zetrov watched the young wolf as he approached, and stood to defend himself, knowing that he was at a disadvantage due to his weakened state. Kuekuatsu slipped through his defenses and landed a punch to the stomach. Zetrov stepped back and tried to counter but the black wolf had already delivered a knee kick to the right side of his ribs. The hairless wolf stepped back again when he received deep gashes from the young wolfs claws. Kuekuatsu jumped up, kicked Zetrov's head as he flipped over, and landed behind him. Scarlet took aim with her bow and arrow and fired. After feeling dazed from the kick to the head, Zetrov saw the arrows and sought to destroy them, but his arms had suddenly been held back, while feeling the excruciating pain of an animal viciously biting into his shoulder. At the last second, the hairless wolf managed to tilt his body to the left before the two arrows hit their mark, and fell backward when they made contact.
"GRAAAAWWWRRR!" Zetrov roared in pain, and Kuekuatsu grimaced when he felt the hairless wolf's size begin to weigh down on him.
Scarlet ran toward the wrestling wolves, realizing that she had just narrowly missed Zetrov's heart. The flames around her wand curved and sharpened into a double headed axe. Eventually, Zetrov mustered enough strength to roll onto his stomach, and began to pry Kuekuatsu off his back by reaching for his torn black t shirt. The black wolf felt the heat of the red claws trying to grab him, and decided to bail before they could. After Kuekuatsu jumped back and landed, he saw Scarlet rush past him with a blazing axe in her hand. The young witch let out a battle cry as she jumped up and brought the axe down on the hairless wolf's head. Zetrov parried the attack in the nick of time with his claws. Scarlet's feet skid across the ground after she landed.
"Damn he's tough." Scarlet said as she watched her enemy get back on his feet.
"We have to end this before he uses that dark portal thing again." Kuekuatsu growled as he stood by Scarlet's side.
"He only used that to catch up with us." Scarlet replied. "Dark magic that powerful must have come with a price, so I doubt he would use it again for combat."
Zetrov let out a fierce roar as he rushed toward the two teenagers.
"I'll keep him busy while you come up with a plan." Kuekuatsu said before running off to challenge Zetrov. "Think of something big!" he barked.
"Big...?" Scarlet whispered as her axe fizzled out and returned to being a wand.
"What should I do? ...What should I do?" She thought to herself while watching the clash of the werewolves.
The wolves butted heads like rams, before gripping each other's shoulders, trying to overpower one another while snapping their jaws.
"Okay...Okay...Think of something big. I have to think of something big. Come on. Think, think, think! ...I can't just throw another fireball at him. If I miss again the forest might actually burn this time...I need to focus the flames on him, so he can't escape it...wait...that's it, spontaneous combustion!" A triumphant smile displayed itself across Scarlet's face.
The fire mage focused her emerald eyes intently on the hairless werewolf and began to whisper to herself.
"Focus on the targets molecules..." She held both ends of the wand close to her chest. "Make them vibrate..." Once the spell was ready she had to make sure her ally was safe. "Kuekuatsu! Get back!"
The black wolf's furry ear twitched when he heard the girl shout his name. Kuekuatsu snarled viciously as he head butted Zetrov and kicked him in the chest as he quickly backed away.
Zetrov fell to one knee and began to feel his body heat up. He glared at the fire mage, and cursed as he punched the ground, while his shadow started to alter its shape.
"Spirit of fire, I need your unwavering might! To rain down upon my foes, and make them IGNITE!" Scarlet shouted, and Zetrov burst into flames.
Once the hairless wolf was set ablaze, he let out a blood curdling roar that made Scarlet shudder as she watched the beast burn to death with a terrified look on her face. Kuekuatsu returned to his partial human form and rushed over to Scarlet.
"Come on, let's go!" He grabbed her shoulder.
"R-right" Scarlet stuttered, and then finally took her eyes off Zetrov's burning corpse.
The werewolf and the witch ran for fifteen minutes straight until they eventually found the road again. Scarlet bent over and rested her hands on her knees while she panted. Kuekuatsu stood in his quadruped wolf form with his tongue lolling out.
"Is...is he gone this time...?" Scarlet asked while catching her breath.
"Yes." Kuekuatsu hesitated for a second before answering. He knew that they could have stayed and made sure that Zetrov was dead for good. But once he saw that terrified expression on Scarlet's face, after she set Zetrov on fire, it was clear that she was not accustomed to taking a life like he was. Getting her away from that scene as soon as possible was the right thing to do in his opinion. The black lycan assumed his partial human form once more as he approached the fire mage.
"You alright?" He asked, putting a hand on her shoulder.
"Yea...he's dead now...I killed him..." Scarlet spoke slowly, letting the reality of the situation sink in. "I should feel glad right? …. He was trying to kill us after all…." The fire mage's eyes wandered; and they found themselves gazing at the ground below.
"This was your first real fight, wasn't it?"
"Yea ...I did pretty well, didn't I?" She tried to giggle as she looked him in the eyes.
"You did," Kuekuatsu nodded. "And I'm honored to have fought alongside you." He smiled, showing off the fangs that were still stained with Zetrov's blood.
Feeling a little cheered up, and at the same time disgusted, by the black lycans innocent bloody smile. Scarlet holstered her wand within her blazer and said.
"Well...now that we don't have to worry about him anymore...we can finally get to Alcaster Academy." Scarlet pulled the red hood over her head and took the lead down the road again, and Kuekuatsu followed. However, he noticed that something was still troubling her.
"Hey, Scarlet…" Kuekuatsu spoke as he walked by her side. "It's okay to feel remorse, even when you don't want to." He looked at her, but her face seemed to be hidden under the red hood. "That's what my father taught me, when I first learned how to hunt."
A small smile grew on Scarlet's face. She then nudged Kuekuatsu's shoulder and said. "Thanks."
For the next ten minutes they walked in silence, the forest and its inhabitants moved on as if that battle had never even happened. Kuekuatsu's shoulder injury had finally closed up, and his broken rib would heal itself in another one or two hours. Now that she had time to think, Scarlet remembered the words that echoed in her head when she was in the dark void. It was a girl's voice, a girl she did not recognize. Was it the girl Kuekuatsu was talking about? Scarlet pondered. But that dark void was clearly some sort of pocket dimension, so how could she have made contact her while within a place like that?
"Whoever orchestrated this must be very powerful..." Scarlet whispered to herself.
"I see the exit." Kuekuatsu said, snapping Scarlet out of her deep thoughts.
Scarlet's face lit up when the forest and all its troubles were finally behind them.
"Finally!" Scarlet breathed a great sigh of relief. "I really thought I would never see this place again." She said before stopping at the base of the hill.
Kuekuatsu's furry ears folded back as his jaw dropped. He was astonished by the castle-like structure that stood before him at the top of the hill.
Scarlet couldn't help but giggle at the awestruck look of the black werewolf. She stepped in front of him, and then raised her hands in a presenting motion and said.
"Kuekuatsu, welcome to Alcaster Academy."