"Yeah… Raze, this is the last time I follow you around!" Kyrodo grumbled.
"Hey, at least I got the entire bloody mess hall!" Raze's British accent responded. "And besides, such risks come with the job. Arg! Where's yer sense o' adventure, matey?"
"I'm no pirate 'matey'! I'm not stupid enough to go looking for trouble."
"Heh, ya coulda fooled me. Ya didn't seem ta mind when we started sneaking around."
It was deep in the later hours of the night, and the wolf and the squirrel were the only two souls that remained at the school aside from the security officer who was guarding the gate. They were basically covering for janitor duty because Raze, who had recently proclaimed himself "Raze the Squirrelthief", had the bright idea of attempting a swipe at the head administrator's private store of liquor. Before Kyrodo was given any details of what was going on, they were deep in restricted territory, where they got caught while trying to escape with Raze's "prize". The situation was hopeless enough that Kyrodo didn't even bother trying to argue his case.
After they finished their chores, they turned out the lights and got ready to head out. Raze met him outside the main building his bushy tail waving about lazily as he let out a brief yawn. The night air was cool, and the full moon was shining brightly above them in a gap between patches of clouds. He was a red squirrel with bright blue eyes and short black hair. He was wearing the same blue school uniform with black buttons, and the same pair of dual daggers they were using combat training earlier today.
"Whoo, about time... I'm about ready to head home and pass out," Kyrodo yawned tiredly as they started walking.
Raze grinned and clasped his paws together. "Oh c'mon! The school's practically open right about now. We could snag anything we want!" Raze spoke excitedly in a hushed tone.
Kyrodo immediately shook his head. "Mm mm, no! If you're going to do something like that, leave me out of it. I've gotten into enough trouble on your behalf! Besides, do you honestly think Seij isn't going to check our pockets before we leave?"
Raze frowned and scratched his chin. "Ya actually make a fine point, mate. But I will say that you are seriously no fun at all!" he declared as he pointed at him.
Kyrodo narrowed his eyes in annoyance and shove his paw away. "Hey, I'm just trying to get by. Besides, I don't approve of stealing."
They stopped as they heard a cry in the distance towards the gate. They exchanged looks and shrugged. They were both hesitant about checking it out. Raze frowned and scratched his muzzle. "Was that the guard? What do you imagine that was about?"
Kyrodo shrugged. "Maybe somebody's trying to get in? He might need help. We should hurry..."
They dashed towards the front gate. Seij was nowhere to be found, but an iron masked figure, clothed in black and bearing a large cloak, greeted them. The stranger seemed to be a fox by shape. He turned as he noticed the two approach, then almost immediately hunched over in an aggressive pose. "Special target located... Attempting subject termination. Beginning combat procedures," his voice spoke. Although his speech was very structured, his tone didn't seem entirely machine-like.
"Whoa, special target? They must mean me!" Raze exclaimed in horror as he and Kyro pulled out their daggers. "But I must say, it has quite a figure. Do ya think this could be one of the combat drones, gone rogue?"
Kyrodo's heart pounded with the sudden threat standing before them. He glanced at Raze and shook his head. "I've never seen a combat drone look that realistic. He could be from the Pravian Empire. And no offense, I don't think either of us is special enough to be worth assassinating. On the bright side, he doesn't seem to have any weapons. Maybe he's just a magic user?"
"Which I STILL consider dangerous, mate!"
The figure dashed towards them as one of its arms morphed into the shape of a sharp scythe blade. It leapt forward and brought it crashing down. Kyrodo and Raze quickly split and backed away as he struck the pavement.
"Holy crap!" Raze cried. "No weapons? His entire body's a bloody weapon!"
"Well, it's not like either of us have seen that before!" Kyrodo responded as he circled around to the opposing side from Raze. "All right, Raze. Let's treat this as team combat practice." Raze nodded and put away one of his daggers.
The figure pulled the scythe blade out of the pavement and stood upright, glancing warily between Kyrodo and Raze. Raze charged a fireball and threw it at the morpher.
"Now!" Raze shouted. Kyrodo leapt forward with both blades ready to stab him. The figure shifted his scythe into a shield-like structure and raised it, the fireball harmlessly exploding against its exterior. He glanced back at Kyrodo and shifted his left arm into a sword, then turned and made a whirling strike. Kyrodo's eyes widened as he crossed his daggers to block, his body hurling back from the force of the blow. He slid back a bit before losing his balance and falling onto his back. The figure dived after him and stood over him, attempting a stab at him with his blade. Kyrodo gasped and tilted his head to one side, blinking as the blade thrust into the ground beside him.
"Hyah!" Raze yelled. He unsheathed his second dagger and rushed at the shifter, swinging out to the side with both blades. The daggers thunked against his shield before he leapt away. "I just saved your bloody life, matey!"
"Thanks!" Kyrodo rolled back slightly and jumped onto his feet. He breathed heavily as he eyed the shapeshifter. "He's fast..."
"And ambidextrous!" Raze added.
"That much is obvious. We need to call for help!"
Raze nodded, flinching as the shapeshifter growled and started to approach them, both of his forearms shifting into blades. "Agreed. If we could get your infamous brother over here, that would be bloody fantastic! Err, but I have a feeling he doesn't like that idea..."
The two started to back away from him. "We should split up. I'll take the left bend, you take the right. We'll circle around the first set of buildings and meet up at the front gate. Then at least one of us will be able to make a call."
"Whatever you say, mate. One, two, split!" The two dashed in opposite directions just as the figure lunged out at them.
Kyrodo looked back as he neared the locker rooms. There was nobody in sight. He must have gone after Raze. Why is he here in the first place? Was the Pravian Empire targeting the school? He pulled out his cell as he rounded about the corner and backed against the wall. "Come on, tell me you're still awake!" he muttered as he waited through several rings. He let out a breath of relief as he heard a pick up.
"[Sigh Yeah, Kyrodo?]" a tired and irritable voice sounded through the phone.
"Kad-" The shapeshifter leapt down from the roof in front of him and sliced his phone in half. Kyrodo cried out and ducked as the shifter lashed out and left a huge crumbling gash along the wall. He rolled to the side and pulled out his daggers. He rapidly stepped back and blocked defensively as the shifter oppressively pursued and struck him left and right. Facing a losing standstill, he held his ground and locked blades with him. He tensed his muscles and struggled to hold him back as the shifter's blades weighted against him. He squinted into the depths of his mask, trying make out any facial features through the iron bars. "Where'd you come from? Why are you here?" he grunted.
"Heh, to kill you…" he coldly responded to his surprise. The shifter forcefully jerked forward and shoved him to the ground. He approached and got ready to strike him. Kyrodo gritted his fangs and swung out at him with his legs. The shifter tripped and hit the ground.
Kyrodo swung himself backwards and rolled onto his feet, back handing his blades. His mind concentrated, his daggers glowing blue as he charged them with energy. He kneeled down and jammed both of them into the cement. "HAH!" A rotating blue rune circle glowed on the ground around the daggers. Lightning surged through the ground towards the shifter. The cement beneath him turned to quicksand and almost completely buried him before molding over. He sheathed his blades and walked over to him, then peered down. "It's over. Now tell me who you are."
The fox managed a cold laugh. The ground shook and crumbled as spikes emerged out of the cement. He broke through, an enlarged fist emerging and snatching Kyrodo. He hoisted him up as his other arm sharpened into a long spike and pointed between his eyes. "Listen up! In a shifter's grasp, trying to use magic is a waste of energy!" he announced in a commanding but almost silly tone. His mask faded as if it were some illusion. His fur was golden, and he had short red hair with bangs on either side. His fierce green eyes flared into his. "I am biogenetic experimental weapon SH-240, Artrus Rose, direct brother to the original fully functioning shapeshifter SH-239, Amber Rose. By the calendar that appears most familiar to you, ironically based on what you call the 'Nathra event', I have been animated for 847 years, 6 months, and 2 days. I smell your blood... A mixture of colonist, but at the same time, filth. You are their first descendant in over eight centuries. Your kind created the mini supernova that wiped our forefathers off the face of the continent. We the remaining have agreed that every last one of you must cease to function, and your kind must not be allowed to replicate. Therefore, you are my enemy, and I will claim swift vengeance upon you!"
"This is unreal..." Kyrodo muttered. He focused his eyes on the point standing inches from his head. He gulped nervously, a layer of sweat rolled down his fur. He grinned sheepishly. "I'm Kyrodo Blackheart, glad to make your acquaintance. Heh, you make quite the assumption, mister Rose. But touch luck, I'm just your average wolf and a normal colonist! I don't even know who 'they' are. I swear I am not your enemy, so maybe you could just let me go?"
Artrus narrowed his eyes and growled as he pulled back the spike in preparation of piercing him. "Humph, cowardly fool. Ignorance does not claim innocence!" His eyes widened, and the iron mask veiled him once more. He yelped as a large fireball exploded against his arm. Kyrodo was released and dropped to the ground.
"Die, you freak!" Kadan shouted as he charged towards him with his rapier in hand. He was in a casual buttoned black shirt and jeans.
Raze rushed to Kyrodo's side and gave him a helping paw. "Hey Kyrodo! Sorry it took so long. Heh, he said he wanted to fight him by himself, the bloody show off..."
"I see..." Kyrodo muttered in reply, still shocked about what shifter had said.
Kadan snapped his fingers, several bright orange rune circles appearing above his head and hovering around the shifter. As they each discharged an orange blast and disappeared, he tossed in fireballs with his free paw while circling him and channeling green energy into his sword. He finally swung his blade forward and released a slash wave. The shifter covered himself with shielded arms as the combination of energies impacted him and exploded. Kadan leapt at him from behind and swung at him directly.
Artrus whirled about and blocked with one of his shields. The arm quickly morphed around his blade then forced it out of his grasp and tossed it aside. He morphed his arms back into blades and struck out at him. Kadan stepped back as he set up lite shield after lite shield in the form of transparent blue squares, which each temporarily stopped his blows before shattering. He stopped and held his ground, holding him back with a large blue dome-like barrier. Bits of lightning sparked up as the shifter increased force upon him. "Don't just stand there Kyrodo, toss me one of your combat daggers!" he shouted.
"Got it!" Kyrodo pulled out a dagger and held it ready to throw. He hesitated for a moment before tossing towards straight at Kadan. He caught it perfectly, then let go of the barrier. The shifter immediately lunged at him and struck from both sides. Kadan set up two lite shields on either side of him, then jumped forward and stabbed at his iron mask. A harsh cry of pain filled the air as he staggered back, blood pouring out from the crack and the dagger that protruded from his mask where the left eye would have been. He liquidated himself until the knife fell out of him and he appeared as a large shadow on the ground. The shadow swept away beneath the barbed fence and disappeared into the woods, leaving behind a small trail of blood.
"Wow, now that was bloody intense, mate! A true top of the line for the academy!" Raze exploded. "Heh, but technically you cheated and had Kyrodo help ya out, I mean not that it'd have made much difference."
Kadan ignored him and dried off the dagger, tossing it onto the ground near Kyrodo before going off retrieve his rapier. "Father would never believe this, if he were here. But nor anybody else for that matter. I think it's best we all keep this a secret to avoid being labeled as delirious loons. I also don't want to be blamed for this mess..." he said as he brushed himself off. "And Kyrodo, try to avoid getting into trouble..." he said as he inconspiculously lifted his shoulder towards Raze. "Now where is the security officer?"
Kyrodo grabbed his dagger and took a moment to reply, steadily regaining his composure. "We heard a scream, and then he just disappeared... He doesn't seem to be anywhere nearby. Not conscious anyway."
"I see. This place is dangerous then. If you guys are done, we should all head home. It's much more discouraging for people to attack in the city where there are others and authority around. That includes you, squirrel thief," Kadan finished exclusively.
Raze gave a shrug of innocence. "Hey, hey! I've had enough excitement for one night. I personally would like nothing less than to sleep comfortably right about now."
"Believe me, same here..." Kyrodo agreed.
The next morning, the school was bustling with activity again. They couldn't help but observe that all the damage done during the battle the night before mysteriously vanished without a trace. Seij was standing at his post at the security gate. He was a orange fox with short black hair, and he was wearing his usual black trench coat security uniform with matching gloves. What appeared odd was that he was also wearing a black eye patch over his left eye. He smiled and gave his usual salute as Kyrodo passed by. Kyro stopped and approached him. "Seij, where were you last night?"
"Hm? Oh, it's a funny story actually. I thought I saw a suspicious figure in the woods, and I went to investigate. It turned out it was a wild unsentient bear, and it nearly gouged my eyes out! I managed to sedate it, then I headed home to fix my wounds as it was a bit of an emergency. I swear it took me by surprise, but the other officer Mera keeps making fun of me for nearly getting killed by a wild bear! You guys seem to have done just fine last night though, so you're free. I came back later to lock the place up. What, did anything happen last night?" he asked in an innocently curious tone.
Kyrodo narrowed his eyes as he considered his response, still paying close attention to his eyepatch. "No, nothing at all... Have a good day."
"All right. You too!" Seij saluted as Kyrodo turned away and walked off. That couldn't have been a dream... What is going on?