Two days had passed since the day I had to sneak into Nahai. My wounds had healed enough so that I was able to walk around, though I still had to wear bandages from my waist up to my chest. Everyone was in my room, thinking of our next plan.
“Since sneaking in to the city didn’t work, maybe we could all go together, and seek an audience with the queen,” Riku chipped in.
“Why didn’t we just do that in the first place, then I wouldn’t be like this!” I pouted. Before anyone was able to reply, there was a knock at the door. Riku got up from his spot in the living room and opened the door, revealing a wolf guard.
“Sir! Hordes of cats are charging toward Howling Falls!” The guard said with a salute.
“What?!” Riku asked, surprised at the sudden information.
“They must've tracked us when we left Nahai...” Sieve said.
“We await your orders, sir,” the guard told Riku.
“What did the elders suggest?”
“They told us to ask you, young leader.”
“Damn, so they choose now to put me to the test,” Riku cursed his luck. “Alright, alert the village and tell everyone to prepare for battle,” he commanded. The guard nodded and then ran off. Riku turned to speak to us, “We should probably get out there as well.”
We left the room, Luna snatching her sword as we did, and headed outside. We saw wolf guards and fighters armed with weapons, rushing civilians inside their houses to safety. Riku led us to a building on the other side of Soule and we stopped in front of it while he opened the door.
“What is this place?” I asked him.
“This is the armory, where all the weapons and armor are stored,” he told me, holding the door open for the rest of us to go inside. I went in last to see that Luna wasn’t coming inside, for she already had her weapon, and instead leaned against the building.
“Grab a weapon and then we'll head outside,” Riku said as he grabbed a black and white jagged-tipped sword. Sieve took a spear and Nero nabbed a long katana. I found myself a compound bow and a quiver full of arrows. All of a sudden there was a loud 'boom' outside that shook the ground violently like an earthquake.
“What the hell was that?” Nero asked, steadying himself by holding onto a rack of weapons.
“I don’t know, but I have a feeling we were just invaded,” was Riku's reply. We then headed out to find before ourselves a shocking scene. Cats, in both their human and animal forms, were running amok in Soule. Homes were set ablaze, and the civilians were being terrorized by the cats since they were forced to leave their home. Luna was nowhere to be found.
“How did they get in?!” Riku asked angrily. We all looked around to spot any signs of entering.
“I dunno about you guys, but I’m pretty sure that huge gaping hole in the ceiling of Soule had something to do with it,” Nero said. We glanced at him to see that he was looking upwards, and we all followed his gaze. Sure enough, there was a large hole in the ceiling. If the hole had been only a few feet more to the right, it would’ve been under the waterfall, and Soule would have been flooded.
“They must've blown the top right off!” Riku exclaimed.
“Well, no use worrying about that now! We have a village to save, and I have a sister to be finding, so I'll be off!” I told them and gave Riku a quick pat on his shoulder before running off.
“Hey! Wait Lee! You cant go off by yourself, its too dangerous!” Riku called after me.
“I'll go with her,” Nero said reassuringly with a shrug. “We're both looking for the same thing anyways.” And he took off after me.
“You know, that doesn’t make me feel any less worried,” Riku yelled at him and then sighed. He looked at Sieve, who gave him a quick nod, and they both headed in opposite directions.
I stopped running when I got near the entrance of Soule, when Nero caught up to me. We found Luna, who was fighting off cats that were attacking her from left and right. Her sword was just a blur as she fought, and cats dropped lifelessly at its mercy.
“How did she learn to fight that well? I don’t ever remember our father teaching her a move like that...”
I pushed the question aside for the time being and ran up to Luna. We stood back to back, protecting one another from the cats. Nero stood a few feet away, taking down massive amounts of cats with every slice of his sword. He strafed closer to us.
“I'll defend this area, you two go to a safer place,” Nero shouted so that we could hear him amidst the battle noise.
“No, there are too many of them, you cant fight them all by yourself,” Luna yelled back.
“I said I'd protect you and I will. Now go!”
“Fine. I leave this area under your control, don’t die on me now.” Luna grabbed my arm and we ran. Or more like, she ran while I was dragged. We headed for the passageway that led out of Soule and found out that it too had been blown up. The discreet tunnel was now yet another gaping hole in Soule.
“Man, when these cats destroy people's homes they sure don’t hold back, do they?” Luna observed.
“If I were a cat, the first thing I'd do is blow something up!” I responded with joy. As a response Luna smacked me upside the head. “Ow! You know,” I complained while rubbing my head, “I’m gonna lose a lot more brain cells than I can get back if you keep hitting me like that.”
“Can't lose what you never had,” Luna muttered.
“Hey, I heard that!” I yelled loudly at her.
“Alright guys, enough of that,” said a voice from behind us. We turned around to find that the voice belonged to Sieve.
“Are you going to go outside with us?” Luna asked.
“Yeah, we should patrol outside and make sure there aren’t any more...stray cats,” she replied and the three of us hurried outside.
“Hey! No one's allowed to leave, so go back inside and die like all the other wolves!” A cat-girl yelled at us from on top of some rocks that were above and to the left of us. The girl was a mackerel tabby cat, with ears and a tail to match, along with orange stripes on her cheeks, arms, and legs. She had sharp grey eyes and short, uneven, orange hair. She wore a sky blue and light brown top with dark blue shorts. The girl also had on brown boots and gloves, and like many other cats, she wore gold hoops in her ears. She appeared to be about sixteen years old.
“Wait a minute,” said the girl, peering down at us. She hopped off of the rock she sitting on and walked over to us. “You’re that freak who lives in the desert,” she pointed at Sieve. “I can tell by your appearance.”
“How right you are,” Sieve replied calmly, even though she had just been insulted.
“Hahaha! Boy, am I glad to finally meet you! You know, a few years back when the war was going on, my father lead a team of cats into Hanta. They found a house there, and he told me stories how he tortured the family that lived there and made them plead for mercy. He also told of a young man who tried to be brave and protect his family, but was killed painfully and slowly, and how he gasped as the last of his life was taken out of him.”
Sieve closed her eyes upon hearing this story as if either retrieving the memory of that day or trying to forget it.
“Is that the kind of thing that goes for a good bedtime story in Nahai?” I whispered to Luna. “Scarreyyyyyy.”
“That young man was presumably your older brother, right? Ah, good times those were,” she reminisced, looking proudly up at the sky. “But anyways,” she said, looking back at us, “my father also said that he thought he saw the young girl of the family escape, which must've been you, now that I think about it.
You know, the generations of two close families usually repeats themselves, and here we are, all grown up and standing face to face. I wonder what will happen,” the girl said with a sly smile. Sieve opened her eyes and glared at the girl.
“Girls, get back inside. This just got personal,” Sieve said to us. We nodded in understanding, knowing what it was like to want revenge on the people who killed your family, and ran back inside. “Alright, lets get this thing started,” Sieve said while she threw her spear to the ground and cracked her knuckles. The girl laughed haughtily.
“So..what's your name? I’m Kita, second generation of the family that slaughtered yours,” she said proudly as she shifted into her animal form.
“The name's Sieve. Will that do for an introduction?” Sieve replied while shifting. The two sworn enemies leaped at each other, engaging in a fierce battle in which they knew only one of them would come out alive.