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Private the ruff life

Discussion in 'Blackhaven' started by Alyssa, Feb 13, 2018.

  1. Alyssa

    Alyssa The End of the Fucking World

    Posts:
    57
    FEBRUARY 1ST
    late evening
    a grimy alley


    Maybe Alyssa didn't have the best sense of direction, but she was pretty sure that the streets in this stupid town changed. Just yesterday she'd taken a right after that store at the end of River Street and found a relatively clean side-street beside some hotel to hunker down in for the night. Today she took the same turn, and ended up here, in the filthiest fucking alley she'd ever been in. She pulled her jacket more tightly around her torso, hugging her arms against her stomach and scowling as she turned a half-circle and tried to figure out where the hell she was.

    "'s a bit late for a wee pretty girl like ya'self to be out all alone, innit?"

    Alyssa's blood went cold at the voice that came from the shadows at the back of the alley. Instead of turning heel and getting out of the alley like a smart person, she sneered at the man approaching her, wrinkling her nose when she got a good look at him. His skin was a muted green color - what the fuck was it with people in this town? Some of them barely looked human - and when he smiled at her (or leered, more like) she could see yellowed, pointed teeth behind his lips.

    "Ya lost, little one? Ol' Scabs here can help ya."

    She scoffed and rolled her eyes, and felt she was doing a pretty good job of hiding just how freaked out she was by the way he looked. His voice was weird, too. Had a weird sort of nasally thing going on, like there was something stuck up his nose. Gross. "Uh, no thanks, Scabs," she retorted, taking a step back toward the mouth of the alley as she did so. "Is that really your name? Did your mum hate you or something?"

    Oh fucking hell, why can't you just keep your mouth shut?

    The guy just threw his head back and laughed, baring more rows of teeth than should have been natural in a human mouth. Good sense finally won out and Alyssa turned to run only to smack right into what felt like a brick wall. Except the brick wall moved, and had massive hands that clamped over her arms and lifted her right off her feet to stare into the squat, bulbous face of the ugliest motherfucker she'd ever laid eyes on. Beady red eyes stared into hers, and the big man - troll? he looked more like a troll - let out a hearty laugh that left Alyssa pale with fear.

    I'm going to die. Like I might actually fucking die.

    She pressed her hands against the broad, hard chest, trying to keep as much distance as possible between herself and the ugly brute that had her in his grip. "Let me go or I'll fucking scream!" The big guy just chortled again and walked her farther into the alley, clearly amused by her threat.

    Good one, genius. They'll let you go for sure.
     
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  2. It had long been known to Amaterasu that wheresoever the seeds of prosperity dared to bloom, so too did darkness burrow into its roots. It was a slow, patient sickness that lived beneath the surface of what was visible; the joys of crime and the profits of corruption, an unfortunate reality of mortal greed. It was a soup of poison that ruined innocent lives with certainty that Nippon's demons could only dream about.

    And it was why, that of all the places in Pandora, Ammy considered the district they called 'Blackhaven' the one most worthy of her attention.

    Being a wolf, she recognized the stalking gait of a predator on the hunt when she saw it. The two who had melted off into the alleyway moments ago had caught the scent of prey, and she was loathe to let them catch their quarry. The goddess had little trouble following them, even with her coat of pure white fur. Her aura was an extension of herself, akin to a limb, easily flexed when the situation called for a display of divine presence, or put to rest when there was a need to remain inconspicuous. It was the latter she exercised now, slipping from shadow to shadow, her passage light and unnoticed, just another breath from the evening's breeze.

    The young woman they'd caught was a brave one. Brave and full of fight, but also terrified. Her fear sliced into Ammy as if the bite of a knife.

    She wondered if these ones were aware, if any of them had enough faith in gods to sense that she was more than the ordinary animal she appeared to be—to see the crimson markings on her fur, or the prayer beads she'd replaced her holy reflector with. They rotated around her neck with growing speed, eager to dole out punishment to the wicked.

    As the taller of the men started to march their captive towards what would surely be a ghastly fate, Ammy leaped into his path, giving a sharp bark to grab his attention. She reared briefly, front paws lashing as she tossed her head—and the prayer beads obeyed the motion, uncurling with fearsome speed to fly whip-like for the taller one. The weapon would seek to wrap around his ankle and throw him to the ground, hopefully with force enough to loosen his hold.
     
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  3. Alyssa

    Alyssa The End of the Fucking World

    Posts:
    57
    The big man (troll? she was pretty sure he was a troll) had walked Alyssa several feet into the alley, and she was trying to come to terms with the fact that she was going to die, when there was a sudden, sharp bark from somewhere behind her. She didn't have much time to consider it before she suddenly found herself sprawled on her back on the grimy alley floor, sharp pain shooting through her elbows and up her arms from where they'd cracked against the cement. Troll man was down, too, but not for long. He snarled in rage and scrambled back to his feet, but whatever he saw was enough to terrify him because his eyes widened and he backed away with his meaty hands held up in a supplication of peace.

    Feeling her heart sink - because if troll-man was scared then Alyssa definitely didn't have a chance - she slowly craned her head to look over her shoulder at whatever had spooked him. What she saw made her brows draw down in a scowl and her lips to twist in a sneer of disbelief.

    ''Troll-guy is afraid of a fucking dog? Am I dreaming?'

    Of course, the canine was bigger than any Alyssa had seen, but from her angle she couldn't really get a good enough look to see that it wasn't a dog, but a wolf. Behind Amaterasu, the green-skinned ugly with the pointed teeth was advancing, a wicked looking dagger drawn. Where the troll-man seemed cowed by the sight of the mutt, the green man looked disgusted.

    "This ain't none of yer business, wolf-bitch," Pointy Teeth spat, holding the knife out in a clearly threatening posture. Alyssa blinked several times because she was pretty sure the blade had a slight yellow glow to it, but that didn't make any sense. Knives didn't glow. People also didn't talk to dogs. Then again, people didn't typically have green skin or pointy ears, either.

    'I'm really starting to bet on the government social experiment theory.'

    Scabs brandished the knife threateningly, taking a step forward in a clear attempt to drive the dog back. "What're ya playin' at, ya big coward?" he snarled at Troll Man without actually taking his eyes from the dog. "Git the girl. I'll handle the holy mutt, here." He bared his teeth in a sneer, pointing the blade directly at the dog's face. "Hear that, Wolfie? I'm gonna make ya holey fer real." He let out a cackle that said he clearly found himself hilarious.

    Troll Man lurched forward to obey, and with a squeak of fright Alyssa scrambled backwards, scraping her hands and arms against the concrete in her effort to get away.
     
    Okami Amaterasu likes this.
  4. Ah, so they did recognize her. Then, they should also know that everything about this situation was precisely her business. The shorter one's threats had no effect on Amaterasu, neither his words nor his knife. The former was inconsequential; the latter only mattered if she let him get close enough to use it. Which she would not.

    The prayer beads settled back into place around her neck.

    The taller one advanced and so did Ammy, pouncing forward to close the remaining distance between her and the girl. Her shoulder brushed Ammy's leg. The goddess leaned down to grip the back of her collar firmly in her teeth, and another toss of her head flung the girl onto Ammy's back. Footsteps echoed from behind her now as well, Ammy's response to that a sharp flick of her tail.

    For a moment, the smell of ink seemed to fill the alley. Movement twitched in the darkness, a smoky black line tracing itself into a circle in midair with a single stroke, and a second line cutting partway through it. A ripple moved through the air, and a cherry bomb the size of Ammy dropped into the smaller one's path. Sparks hissed cheerfully at the end of its wick.

    Ammy sprang forward then, moving to leap over the taller man. At first glance it seemed impossible, the height of her jump simply not enough to clear his head. She kicked out with her back legs—a dull thump echoed as if hitting a window pane—and Ammy bounced off an invisible wall of air, gaining yet more height as maple leaves trailed after her, a banner of fluttering red.

    The bomb would blow in seconds, and she planned to be gone with her 'passenger' while the two men busied themselves with the aftermath of the explosion.
     
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  5. Alyssa

    Alyssa The End of the Fucking World

    Posts:
    57
    Scabs lunged for the dog, but it had already moved away from him and toward Troll-man, standing over Alyssa in what felt like a protective stance. Alyssa thought for a moment that the dog was going to attack, but instead there was a sharp yank at the back of her shirt and she was suddenly flipping up into the air to land squarely on the canine's back. A startled yelp left her and she instinctively reached for the nearest thing that would keep her from slipping off and cracking her head off the ground. That happened to be the thick fur at the back of Amaterasu's neck; Alyssa's fingers twisted tightly into its scruff and she squeezed her legs against the dog's side to steady herself, her eyes wide and startled.

    Was this really happening? Oh dear God had she gone insane?

    Alyssa didn't see what was happening behind them because she was too busy trying not to fall off or freak out. It was probably for the better because watching a bomb materialize out of thin air might have been the last straw for her fraying composure. Scabs scurried away from the cherry bomb and dove behind a nearby dumpster, while Troll-guy made a swipe for the animal but was too slow to catch her. She'd already launched into the air, causing an involuntary scream to leave Alyssa's throat as the ground dropped away from them. Dizziness and nausea struck her so hard that she closed her eyes, but then quickly popped them open as the giant dog kept moving. It was worse with her eyes closed. Much, much worse.

    There was a loud, distinctive bang from the alley, and the air rang with Scabs' curses and Troll-man's yowls of pain. He'd evidently been too slow to get away. Alyssa might have felt some measure of malicious satisfaction at those sounds except she was too busy trying really hard not to hurl chunks all over the pretty white fur she was clinging to.

    Oh, fuck, she was definitely losing that battle. A low groan escaped her and she ducked her head, swallowing hard against the saliva rushing into her mouth and the bile rising up the back of her throat. Would the heroic canine still be so keen on saving her if she vomited all over its back?

    Fucking hell, she hoped so.
     
    Okami Amaterasu likes this.
  6. There was some minor discomfort where the girl had found a tighter-than-necessary grip on the back of Amaterasu's neck, and for a moment she wondered if it wouldn't have been wiser to hold her in her jaws like a long-limbed puppy. But all things considered, the girl was hardly the heaviest passenger Ammy had ever carried—Susano, despite his tendency to be a silly drunkard of an oaf sometimes, had still been a tall warrior made of mostly muscle—so she kept the whine of complaint behind her teeth and pounded pavement as soon as her paws touched the ground again.

    A moment later, the cherry bomb went off with a noise like fireworks flying into the sky. The walls of the alley shook, scraps of multi-colored confetti showering past as wolf and girl made their escape. Ammy didn't bother glancing back; there was no need to worry how the girl's would-be assailants had made out. Cherry bombs, while full of explosive punch, were not lethal unless Ammy intended them so, and she rarely did unless she was facing down demons. Those two could stand to gain a little more wisdom, but they didn't deserve more than the shock and thunder of fireworks, and an opportunity to rethink the course of their lives.

    Still, it was with a satisfied wolf-grin on her face that Ammy left the rolling smoke clouds behind them. Tiny blades of golden grass shimmered beneath her footsteps as she raced off into the streets.

    ---​

    She ran for perhaps a minute, perhaps less, before deciding to stop by a convenience store. Even this shop was as shady looking as the rest of the district, but she hoped the buzzing, flickering lights that advertised round-the-clock service and plenty of alcoholic beverages would provide the girl refuge from the attention of more unsavory characters.

    Ammy rounded to a stop by the doors, still unaware of her passenger's discomfort. A glance both ways to ensure the two from before had not managed to follow, then she turned her head back to regard the girl, a sign that it was safe for her to dismount.
     
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  7. Alyssa

    Alyssa The End of the Fucking World

    Posts:
    57
    The moment the giant dog's paws touched the ground Alyssa rolled off its back, landing with an unceremonious grunt on her knees. Then she was up and stumbling toward the wall of the nearby shop, her hand slapping against the bricks for support as she doubled over and breathed deeply through her nose. It took a minute, but eventually the nausea faded and the world stopped spinning and she was able to straighten up. Her eyes rolled briefly toward the sky as she took a last deep breath and exhaled it in a short burst of air through her lips.

    A sudden stillness settled over Alyssa and she turned slowly to face the giant dog-wolf-thing again, almost as if she'd just remembered that it was even there in the first place. She stared at the creature, suddenly very aware of just how huge it was and that its jaws were big enough to wrap around her throat if it wanted. Her blue eyes were wide and her face pale; she pressed bloodless lips together and swallowed before speaking in a voice that was at least marginally steady. She deserved some fucking credit for that, probably.

    "Um... thanks?" It came out as a question because Alyssa was uncertain as to whether the canine had saved her, or had simply decided that it would rather have her all to itself. Alyssa couldn't decide whether she'd prefer to be sliced up by Scabs or eaten alive by a giant flying dog. Both options sounded really fucking unpleasant, so...

    Neither. Neither would be good.
     
    Okami Amaterasu likes this.
  8. Oh, dear. Ammy sat back on her haunches, watching with a worried tilt of her head as the girl sought the nearest wall. She seemed to be having trouble breathing, and there was a weakness in her limbs that led Ammy to believe a strong breeze was all it would take to knock her over. Was she hurt?

    No, it was worse than that. The girl turned to lock eyes with the goddess, and now Ammy recognized the look she saw there. She was afraid. Which, unfortunately, meant that unlike her two attackers, she was deaf and blind to the presence of divinity. She thought Ammy was a mere wolf. Many people in this strange cage-world did, and their reactions were not so different than the girl's. Humans might not have any natural enemies—aside from each other—but it was an old instinct that told them to be fearful when a supposed predator was sitting near.

    (In reality, Amaterasu did not hunt living beings. In fact, she vastly preferred a diet of fruits, vegetables, and pastries. Only if a dish of meat had already been prepared by mortal hands would she partake, because it was wasteful and disrespectful not to make use of the life that had been sacrificed to sustain another's.)

    "Ruff."

    The girl's uncertain expression of gratitude drew a quiet bark from Ammy. The goddess let her divine aura stretch into the space between them, and despite the dark winter evening, the air outside the shop grew balmy, fingers of warmth settling onto the girl's shoulders as if she was standing under the sun in spring. Ammy's tail wagged, her dark eyes gentle.

    Please don't be scared.
     
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  9. Alyssa

    Alyssa The End of the Fucking World

    Posts:
    57
    The dog - no, wolf. She could see that was the right word now that she was looking at it head on - not only seemed to understand her but it actually barked out a reply. At least that's sure as hell what it seemed like. Really she shouldn't have been surprised given the freaky shit that went down in Pandora, but it was still hard to see an animal as anything other than an animal. She felt warm suddenly, too, like she was standing on a balmy beach instead of on a dirty street in the middle of winter, and there was a part of Alyssa that suspected very strongly that the wolf was responsible for that. But that was fucking crazy, wasn't it?

    Who the hell even knew anymore?

    "Yeah, uh... okay." She shifted her weight, straightening up and not really putting two and two together enough to realize that the fear and nausea had dissipated as soon as the warmth touched her. "I'm gonna go now..." She edged away from the animal, watching it warily from the corner of her eye as she bolted around it and off down the street. As fun as that little adventure was, Alyssa still had things to do. Like scrounge up enough money to buy some breakfast in the morning.

    -----​

    An hour later and Alyssa had found her way back to River Street, this time taking care not to turn into any alleys. The street wasn't nearly as busy as it normally was during the day, but there were groups of people here and there, mostly those coming and going from the various bars and pubs around the city. Alyssa stood in the doorway of a closed shop, smoking a short she'd watched someone discard and managed to pick up before it went out. Not very sanitary but what the fuck else was there to do.

    A man was heading toward her from a short way up the street, head bent as he texted or played a game or whatever people did with their smartphones these days. The thing Alyssa immediately noticed was how clean-shaven he was, and how his long coat looked expensive. His shoes had a shine to them that most people's didn't, and that final detail was enough to cement her resolve. He was distracted, too, which meant the lift would be easy.

    She dropped the butt of the cigarette and put it out under the toe of one dirty boot, her eyes never leaving the stranger as he neared. He would pass right in front of the doorway in the next second and Alyssa tensed, shifting to step out in front of him and force a collision that would allow her to dip her fingers into his pocket long enough to snag whatever bills or wallet he had in it.
     
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  10. The tail wagging slowed to a stop as Amaterasu watched the girl disappear from view. She canted her head, pondering her options.

    As it stood, she could have left things alone. Ammy was sure those two troublemakers from earlier would not catch the girl again, not with her vigilance sharpened by the fright of tonight's experience. But something about the situation just didn't sit right with the goddess. A human her age should not be wandering a dark city at night, especially not during the winter when the air's bite was at its fiercest. She deserved the shelter of a roof overhead, the warmth of a merry fire, the comfort of friends or family seated near. And Ammy wasn't quite convinced that the girl was on her way to where such things were waiting for her.

    So the wolf stood up, shook the chill from her fur, and followed after her newest duty.

    ---​

    To her relief, the girl did eventually leave Blackhaven, but nor did she seem in a hurry to return home. Even more concerned now, Ammy kept watch from afar, a silent shadow hidden in the alleys and side streets. Familiarity with the city's back maze was a must when most of the populace only thought of wolves as rabid beasts or omens of ill fortune. Keeping a quick escape route within paw's reach was only prudent. It had been easier when Issun was still here to serve as her mouthpiece... but her Celestial Envoy had vanished months ago. In his absence, the goddess was forced to carry on in the manner of a mute performer, doing her very best to convey her good intentions to an audience all too quick to judge.

    As to the girl's intentions... Ammy had her suspicions when the young human stiffened with alertness at a stranger's approach. It wasn't the same as before, when she'd been cornered by the two sneering fools. No, this time the roles were reversed. This time the girl was the predator, and the man the prey.

    Ammy wasn't unsympathetic to the need to hunt for one's survival, but this was not something she could just sit by and idly watch happen.

    Her tail swished. Blackness scrawled a long, elegant spiral across the air, nearly invisible against the night sky.

    A moment before Alyssa made contact with her target, the wind suddenly kicked up in a gust as violent as if the trees themselves were sneezing. Clothes and hair were sent flapping, loose leaves and discarded trash flying about like snow in a storm. A row of birds dozing off on a power line went perfectly horizontal, only remaining anchored by their feet.

    Then the wind died down another two, three seconds later. The tarp on nearby buildings groaned as they settled back into place, and somewhere down the street a woman's voice shouted her confusion.
     
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  11. Alyssa

    Alyssa The End of the Fucking World

    Posts:
    57
    She'd braced for the forced impact and that was the only reason the sudden, violent gust of wind didn't knock Alyssa right off of her feet. That, and it knocked her right into her target and both of them went stumbling back with arms reeling and loud exclamations of surprise.

    "Watch it, asshole!" Alyssa shouted as she shoved away from the man, who only looked shocked. "Maybe if you looked up from your goddamn phone once in a while," she snapped angrily, before wheeling away and storming off down the street. In her frustration at having missed out on a golden opportunity Alyssa didn't even notice the large, shaggy white form hovering in a nearby side-street.

    ----​

    Not long after, Alyssa found herself walking by some hole-in-the-wall pub toward the southern end of River Street. A group of people was hanging around outside, laughing and talking and smoking cigarettes. One woman on the fringes of the group wasn't watching her step and nearly fell off the curb, reaching out to grab her companion's arm before she actually fell. She laughed and stepped closer to the group and away from the ledge, and that was when Alyssa noticed that she'd dropped her wallet near the gutter when she'd almost fallen.

    The girl stepped off the curb onto the street, presumably to go around the group, but her eyes were on the wallet. As she walked by she stopped suddenly and looked down, muttering a curse as if she'd dropped something, then quickly stooped to snatch up the wallet.

    It wasn't like this really hurt anyone. If that woman had money to blow on alcohol and cigarettes then she wouldn't miss a few dollars that could go toward filling a homeless teenager's stomach.
     
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  12. The night wore on, and still the girl showed no signs of finding shelter. What she was looking for, Amaterasu wasn't certain. The goddess had continued to trail her charge for some time now, hoping to confirm the youngster arriving at a place of safety, but she insisted on keeping to the shop district with its noise and lights, migrating around pockets of people who were similarly disinclined to return home.

    Then something in the girl's pattern changed. Amaterasu couldn't believe her eyes at first, but once the situation achieved clarity in her mind, the sudden burst of emotion that came on its heels finally brought her out of the shadows and across the pavement to the girl's side. Ammy leaned her white flank against the back of the girl's knees, tail wagging fiercely, mouth open in a proud smile.

    "Woof!"

    Retrieving a stranger's belongings from the filth so that it could be returned to its rightful owner... How considerate! How selfless! Amaterasu's heart swelled to see this display of charity, just as she applauded the girl's cunning. Surely the young human had seen now that thievery was not the way to go about acquiring coin, and realized that if she just performed a few good deeds for those around her, one of them would be inspired to reward her. And wasn't that ultimately more satisfying than benefiting from an act of harm?

    Ammy coiled around to the girl's front, tapping her front paws excitedly. The wolf's eyes were bright with expectation. She wanted to witness the wallet's reunion with its owner herself, to bask in the feelings of gratitude that would follow.
     
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