The Lupine Saga 20

Fidel looked tired. Sitting on his throne, with Aoi to his right and Diren to his left, he watched as Darius and Jane Melonscone argued in front of him.

“You must mobilize the entire force, I demand it,” Jane said.

“Madam, understand that we are not your servants!” Darius said.

“You might as well be!”

“With the land and privilege your house has, your army is several times larger than the royal guard, why don’t you mobilize them?”

“You know as well as I that summoning even a portion of that force is a long process that is reserved for times of war, to serve the nation in that capacity only. That force isn’t really appropriate for non-military uses, anyways.” Jane didn’t appear to realize just how ridiculous her request was in the face of her own refusal.

“Fidel, can you please tell her that although we can help, there is no way we can accommodate her demands?” Darius asked.

Fidel frowned silently. He placed his elbow on the armrest, and placed his head on his fist. He glanced at Diren and made a small motion with his eyes.

“Ms. Melonscone, the royal guard is required to have, at all times, at least half of the force in the direct vicinity of the king. No exceptions are to be made. Furthermore, the guards are constantly rotated. Those who are not on duty are resting peacefully in preparation for their shift,” Diren said with authority.

Jane stared with disdain, and muttered something under her breath. Her scowl grew larger, to the point where it wasn’t humanly possible to scowl any more. Then she stopped and smiled.

“I understand, advisor. I’ll just walk home, bury my head in a pillow, and cry till my daughter is home. That is so much more effective than actually doing something,” she said with a smile and a nod. “But, whatever shall I do if she turns up dead, abused, beaten by someone else’s hand, or is in any other way unfit? Why, I think I’ll just have to make use of my own resources at that point. Certainly I’ll have to call back every loan I’ve given. Oh, and I won’t want to eat, so I should purchase all the productive land I can and rid it of its fields, so the land can mourn with me. Oh, but I already own most of them. Maybe I should run to my relatives, my brothers, my fellow aristocracy for comfort.” Jane smiled happily as her threats bounded through the room.

“Enough. Dear, I know your status. I know your wealth. I know that your child is the bearer of your family name. I also happen to know you only care for her because of her name. And, I know your disapproval can ruin our country,” Fidel said.

“Then, my lord, Fidel, you mean?” Jane ignored the truth in Fidel’s words as she put on an expectant face.

“I remember our times; I’ll honor them yet again. A quarter of the force. No more. The commander will head north, and you will have a few small groups of scouts. The forests and the lake to the north, the fields in the west, and halfway to the mountains in the east. South will be ignored. I hope you’re right that your child went north,” Fidel said.

“I still have the Right, I still have it Fidel! I can still use it! Will you not help more?” she asked. Murmurs in the hall abounded at the mention of the Right. Fidel simply smiled.

“Dear, I know you wouldn’t waste that precious gift just yet, not when this is sufficient. Your aspirations are much higher, aren’t they? But if you demand it, then I must concede. Decide then, what is sufficient,” Fidel said.

Jane bowed and left the room without a word.


Va’il spat out the dirty water.

“None of it is good, it’s all disgusting.”

“I need water; we need to hurry out of here,” Ruby said while panting.

After walking for hours, Ruby and Va’il realized they hadn’t ate or drank for a long time. Neither was sure how much time had passed. There was water everywhere, but not a drop of it was good enough to drink. They were both feeling very sick. Because of his arm, Va’il was especially feeling the effects of thirst and hunger.

“Can’t do it,” Va’il said as he stumbled and fell. Ruby, a few feet ahead of him, turned and looked.

“You can’t fall before me, Va’il! Get up, we need to go, and you need to help me out of here.” Va’il didn’t respond. “Fine, then you’re coming with me one way or another.”

Ruby put Va’il’s right arm around her neck, supporting half his weight. With Va’il walking in step with her, they kept going in the darkness. The tunnels curved and elevated. At times, it felt like they were walking in a giant circle, and at others they felt like they were walking up a hill. Va’il longed for the hill leading up to the schoolhouse. At least that hill had sunlight surrounding it.

Va’il thought of that, and a smile came to his face at the thought of the bright school. He imagined the hill, the school, the light, and the big tree. In fact, he could see it now, in front of his eyes. Ruby dropped him and he fell to the ground.

“What is this?” she asked with an awed tone.

Va’il rubbed his chin, but he stopped when he realized that he was in a room full of light. It was bright everywhere. Instead of a school, there was a golden pavilion. Instead of sunlight, there were walls of golden luminous stones. Instead of a hill, there were steps leading up to the pavilion. Instead of a tree, there were hundreds of statues. They were faceless and had ambiguous bodies.

Realizing she had dropped Va’il, Ruby picked him up again. As both of them stared at their mysterious surroundings, they walked towards the steps leading up the pavilion. After much effort, they reached the top. The pavilion was fifteen meters wide and square. It had steps going down each edge. In the middle was a single pedestal with a cushion on top. Resting there was a clear orb.

Va’il looked out of the pavilion, over everything else. The giant luminous cavern only had hundreds of statues. There was nothing else of importance other than the pavilion and the things in it. To the left and right there were other paths out of the cavern; the path they came from was behind Va’il. He saw this and walked over to Ruby, who was standing near the pedestal.

“What do you think it is?” she asked.

“Just a crystal ball. Do you like things like that, Shiroi?” Va’il asked.

“Me? No, no, I just was thinking. It’s clear, but it reflects colors like a rainbow. I feel like I’m looking at a soap bubble,” she said while stretching out her hand.

“Don’t touch that!” Va’il said. Ruby stopped with her hand a few inches from the orb.

“What? Why not?” she asked indignantly.

“Respect for old things. It would be wrong. And it’s not ours. Maybe the owner put it here so no one would touch it,” Va’il said with a serious look on his face. Ruby couldn’t help but laugh at Va’il.

“Va’il, you’re interesting. Okay, you’re probably right in some way. Though I think whoever owns this has to be long dead. It doesn’t look like anyone has been here for ages, even though it’s pretty.” Va’il nodded happily when Ruby pulled her hand back. “Since I mentioned that taboo thing again, I think it’s time to go.”

Va’il couldn’t agree more. The small bit of energy he had gained upon seeing the amazing surroundings had started to fade. He turned around and started walking down the steps on the left side, towards a path that they had yet to explore. He got to the bottom of the steps quickly. He turned around and sighed as he saw Ruby at the top of the pavilion still. She was just taking the first step down.

“Thirty,” Ruby said as she stepped onto the ground. She smiled at Va’il and willingly put his arm around her neck. “I’m still stronger.”

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The Lupine Saga 19

Through the dark corridor a single silhouette briskly moved. Arriving at the entrance to the great hall of the royal barracks was Jane Melonscone, thoroughly displeased at the lack of lighting in the hallway leading to the entrance. The great hall was filled with hundreds of people who were enjoying food, drink, songs, and friendship.

Jane put her hands on her hips and looked at the rowdy bunch, indignant that no one had yet noticed her. Then, with more force than a human should be able to muster, she stomped her foot. The wooden floor resounded with the force, and the entire hall went silent. Every person turned to see the woman. One of the men quickly got up and ran to the side of the entrance. He was a herald.

“Announcing the entrance of Madam Jane Lucrene Melonscone! All respects are due!” The herald’s announcement reinforced what every person in the hall but Jane had feared. Everyone immediately stood up from the tables and bowed slightly in the direction of the high-noble woman.

On the other side of the room was another corridor, which a middle-aged man had just walked out of. He was dressed in long green robes and wore an olive-green cape. He had black hair and olive skin. He saw Jane on the other side of the room, and walked over to her with a smile.

“Ah, Madam Jane, how lovely it is of you to visit such a lowly place. Please, do tell what you are here for,” the man said.

“My daughter is missing, and you’re going to find her, Darius.” Jane didn’t mince words.

“Excuse me?” Darius, the commander of the royal guard, was taken aback by the sudden command.

“Ruby, my daughter, is missing. Find her.”

“Madam, please, let’s discuss this in my chambers.” The troops had all heard every word that Jane spoke. Her commanding voice resonated throughout the hall.

“No, right here is fine. After all, everyone here is to help.” Darius couldn’t help but sigh. Jane was going to ignore anything she didn’t like, and Darius knew nothing could change her way of seeing things. Such was the temperament of Madam Jane Lucrene Melonscone.

“But what about the king’s permission? We cannot move without his consent.”

“Nonsense. It’s nothing to get his approval. You start moving, I will get authorization. Do you still contest me?” she asked with a huff.

“Then please explain exactly what’s going on. What’s going on with your daughter? How should we find her?” Jane contemplated his request, and realizing it was reasonable, answered.

“Ruby Louise Melonscone is missing, Darius. The rest of these beasts will have to rely on you to know what she looks like. As much as I love her, the child can be rebellious. A few nights ago, she escaped secretly. Well, she thought she had. Her servant girl managed to spot her and informed me immediately. I sent the servant after her. They have not returned. They headed north. Find them.”

“I see. But, though I want to help, that doesn’t require the use of the royal guard.” Darius soon regretted his words. Jane was a shocking sight at all times, whether it was due to her beauty or her expression. And the look she gave demanded an apology from Darius.

“You dare to say Ruby, the only descendant of two of the greatest noble families that Rising, no, Fervi, has ever known, is not important? The girl who shares the same blood as me, her loss doesn’t require the use of the most prestigious force in Rising? Shall I leave this matter to the city guard, when in fact she is no longer in the city? Shall I, Darius?” Jane trembled and shook as she spoke. “I tell you now, find her or the nation shall find out my wrath.”

“I understand, we shall move to your order once the king is informed,” Darius said with the smallest ounce of bravery he could muster. “Do you know anything else other than the direction the two headed?”

“Nothing of use. Ruby is too valuable; I had no choice but to send the bird alone as quick as possible.”


“Yes, that servant avian.”

“Dear Madam, can you please describe this avian? It will be much easier to search for an avian paired with a human. Even more so if it is unique.” Upon hearing this, Jane looked up in thought. She seemed to be thinking quite hard, as though she was trying to remember something long forgotten. Finally, she stopped and smiled. A pleasant look, as warm as the sun itself, appeared on Jane’s face.

“Yes, very unique, actually. I don’t often remember my servants, much less the filthy birds. But this one I know quite well. I remember finding her many years ago. She is the same age as Ruby. She is very obedient and quiet. She might be smart. But, as rare as that is, she has another trait that will assist you in finding her. She has white feathers. Pristine, white, elegant feathers. Always clean, that one. She has spent many years with Ruby. Find her, and you find Ruby. Her name is Shiroi.”


Va’il and Ruby sat silently in the tunnel. They had been walking for hours. They went up and down, passed tunnels leading further down into the darkness, and rested when tired. Va’il’s arm had begun swelling, but the pain had diminished. Ruby was holding luminous rocks in both hands, and Va’il held one in his right hand.

“Do you think we will ever get out of here?” Ruby asked.

“Do you?” Va’il asked back.

“Hey, didn’t you come here with a group of others? Won’t they try finding us?” Ruby ignored Va’il’s question. “Your friends, right, they will come, right? Tell me they will come.” Ruby started breathing hard. She was panicking at her own thoughts.

“Do you know what happens when we die?” Va’il carelessly asked. Ruby stood up at the words, walked over to Va’il, and slapped him as hard as she could across the side of his face.

“Don’t you dare speak of that again!” Ruby had stopped panicking; anger had taken its place.

Va’il rubbed his cheek, but he didn’t speak again for a while. He was at a loss for thought or emotion. The broken arm had a larger effect on Va’il than either child realized.

“Sorry. I started it.” Ruby apologized after a period of silence.

“My group, they won’t come. They’ve given up. We were seen drowning. No one would come after us either. We were not allowed to swim even a tenth of the way out, where the water level suddenly drops. The teacher warned us that anything past the shallow area was dangerous. He’s concerned for everyone’s safety, so he won’t let anyone even try and come after us. Even if he did, no one would come. Where would they start? And who other than my two friends would risk themselves for a half?”

Va’il went quiet again, and for the next half hour, neither of them spoke. To the surprise of Ruby, Va’il was the first to speak again.

“Shiroi, who are you?”

“This again. I’ve told you enough, haven’t I?”

“I don’t believe anything you told me anymore. I’ve thought about it. I would know you if you’re a student. You’re not. You might not be in my grade, but I’d have at least seen you.”

“Um, well I’m not in your grade, so how would you know? How old are you?” she asked offensively.

“Eight. I’m a fourth year.”

“What? You’re really two years younger than me? I just thought you were short. That really proves it. We don’t know each other, see? And besides, why would I know a beast?” Va’il’s hair stood on end at Ruby’s last comment.

“A beast?” he asked quietly.

“You may be a half, but you’re not a human. Closer than a real lupus I guess, so I guess I won’t be punished for talking to you. Out of need, now. Jane won’t know anyways. What am I talking about?” Ruby smiled a bit and looked at the defensive Va’il. He was torn between being angry and being hurt. Ruby kept smiling, so Va’il calmed down a bit. He thought her smile matched the sweetness of her voice, even when the words were cruel or commanding. Va’il then remembered what he was going to say. He got closer to Ruby and put his right hand on her shoulder.

“Wait, what are you doing?” Ruby asked in surprise. But Va’il had already leaned into her. His face came close to her neck, and then he breathed in deeply through his nose. He then moved away from her. He had a puzzled look on his face.

“I thought so. You’re not a student. You’re not part of my class. You’re not on this trip. I’ve never smelled you before, you’re new to me. You don’t have the scent of the school either. Who are you?”

“I have my reasons. Can you just accept that for now?” Ruby said with a hint of defeat in her voice. She didn’t have the chance to be angry with Va’il for his sudden and very personal action.

“Oh, okay,” Va’il replied cheerfully. He wasn’t going to push Ruby to reveal the truth; he just wanted her to give him a real answer. Being unwilling to divulge information was still a truthful answer. “Well then, let’s keep walking; we don’t want to stay in one spot forever.”

Ruby, surprised and relieved, stood up and started walking with Va’il. In the partial darkness, she wore a smile that Va’il couldn’t see.

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The Lupine Saga 18

“Wake up!” Va’il coughed violently as water came spewing out of his mouth. His chest was in pain.

“Wake up!” screamed a girl’s voice as he felt her fist hit him again. He groaned to signify he was awake. He felt a hand on his face, hitting him softly.

“Wake up,” she said again, while still hitting the side of his face.

Va’il slowly opened his eyes. He felt like the world was spinning, and he hurt everywhere. As he opened his eyes, a person came into view. A human girl with green eyes and golden hair was looking down at him. She was on her knees at his side. He didn’t recognize her.

“Are you awake?” she asked in what sounded like a sweet voice.

“Mhm, yeah,” Va’il said as he slowly sat up. He put his left hand down to try and push himself up, but an intense pain ran through his arm when he tried. He screamed in pain and fell backwards. The girl jumped when he screamed, but she was soon at his side again.

“It’s broken. It broke when I landed on it. You took most of the fall. You saved me.” Va’il heard her words, but the pain hadn’t subsided. He couldn’t speak yet. “Does it still hurt? I’ll find something to help. Wait here.” The girl ran off into the darkness.

Va’il took a moment to look around and find out where they were. On the ground were a few luminous stones giving off light. It seemed like he was at the small end of a tunnel, as the area was only big enough to stand in and there was only one way to go. Above him appeared to be where they fell from, but it was blocked off with a giant rock. There was a round opening under the rock, where they must have fallen through. A bit of water was dripping through the seal, but not enough to fill the area. Va’il was soaked, and the hard ground beneath him had a thin layer of water. The tunnel went lower from where Va’il was, so he assumed that the rest of the water that pulled him down had already drained away.

“Don’t move your arm.” The girl was back, and she was holding long strips of wet cloth. Va’il held still as she wrapped them around his arm tightly. “I don’t have anything to make a splint. I think it’s only a fracture, so just keeping the bones together should be fine. I don’t think it’s a full break, otherwise you’d still be screaming,” she said. Is that supposed to be comforting, Va’il asked himself. He noticed that the girl was wearing a long white dress, which was now a bit shorter. It was missing the strips that were now around his arm.

“Thank you,” Va’il said. The girl didn’t respond, and finished tightening the cloth. “Who are you?”

She didn’t respond. She sat down against the wall and looked at Va’il.

“Nobody,” she eventually answered curtly.

“That isn’t right. You have to be someone. What class are you from?”

“That’s not something you need to know.” She looked in the other direction. She wouldn’t address Va’il directly.

“Yes it is! I need to thank you properly!” Va’il said while trying to stand again. As if he didn’t learn the first time, he put his weight on his left arm again. He screamed again, and then started crying from the pain.

“You stupid boy! Don’t move!” The girl jumped in a panic and took hold of Va’il’s left arm again. “Don’t move this! Okay, your arm is mine now. Don’t you dare do anything with it!” She held his arm with both hands while keeping it straight. She then made sure the cloth hadn’t come undone.

Va’il stopped crying after a while. The pain was quick to both come and leave.

“Who are you?” Va’il asked again. The girl wouldn’t look at him, but she did answer.

“You can call me, um, uh, oh right, Shiroi.” She said it with uncertainty, but Va’il believed her.

“Then, Shiroi, thank you.”

“Why are you so insistent? I didn’t do much.”

“Because Mum said I should always thank others for their good towards me.”

“Your mother? You’re nice to strangers simply because your mother said so?”

“Isn’t that the right thing to do? Yeah I do what Mum says, she’s mum,” Va’il said very matter-of-factly.

“That doesn’t mean anything important, but okay. Thank you,” she said sweetly.

“What for?”

“This arm. You covered me; you’re in pain because of me. And you’re here because of me. I think. Why are you here?” she asked, redirecting the conversation.

“Because I heard your yells. But why were you so far out in the middle of the lake? Away from class as well? I still don’t know you. Have you been in a tent the entire time?”

“Class? Oh, you’re from that school trip. No, I’m not… I, uh, I just don’t associate with others. I was floating in the water to wash off… and I floated out too far without noticing. I noticed and it was too late. Shiroi was still asleep also,” she said.

“Shiroi? You were drifting while asleep? And in a dress?” Va’il asked, confused by the girl’s answer.

“Um, I mean sleepy. I was still sleepy,” she said quickly to cover for her mistake. She changed the subject. “Oh, you haven’t told me your name.”

“I’m Va’il.” Va’il grinned and bowed his head once in an awkward way. She laughed as Va’il tried bowing while lying down.

“Just Va’il? That all?”

“What do you mean?” Va’il asked in return, further confused by the girl.

“The rest of your name? Or your father’s name? Just Va’il isn’t enough,” she said innocently enough.

“Oh, well I don’t have a father. And I’m from a common mother; we don’t have more to our names. I’m not a noble, obviously,” Va’il said with a small laugh.

“That’s right, nobles, I forgot only we, no, they, usually have last names. Sorry, Va’il. About your father too, sorry.” She put her hand on Va’il’s head and twirled some of his hair. “It’s white?”

“Silver. But my silver and white kind of look the same anyways. Like an old person’s grey hair, it’s not really grey,” Va’il said. He was surprised that she could tell his hair was almost white in the dim yellow light.

“No, your hair isn’t white from lack of color, like theirs. It’s shiny. Does your mother have hair like this? It’s really amazing.”

“Amazing? I didn’t know. No, Mum has brown hair with black spots. She’s really pretty, Kelin’s always saying,” Va’il said while pouting.

“Then your father?” she asked, still twirling his hair.

“That’s… why do you care? I don’t know who he is. He’s a human, that’s all I know.” She pulled her hand back at Va’il’s answer.

“A human? But, you’re a lupus!”

“I’m half-human, half-lupus,” Va’il said sadly. He didn’t want to say it, because he thought she had already figured it out. He closed his eyes and expected her to walk away, disgusted.

“So it’s true, there are halfs,” she said without moving. “I’ve never seen one before.”

She took his hand and looked at the claws on his fingers. She then used her index finger to pull at the side of his mouth.

“What are you doing?” Va’il asked while the girl moved on to inspecting his ears.

“Checking. What makes you different? You do look kind of human. But I can’t tell the difference really. Is your tail any different?” she asked while grabbing his tail. He whimpered a bit when she yanked.

“Ow, ow. You’re really strange. I’ve got fewer pointy teeth, and I just don’t seem like a real lupus. I’m really very different. It’s odd that you can’t tell. Most people know with one look. Eyes, face, and nose even, all look too human. But ears, hair, and teeth make it obvious I’m not. Most of the other differences can’t be seen. Like my hearing, sight, that kind of stuff.” Va’il spoke sensibly without feeling remorse at being a half, partially due to surprise. He had never encountered someone who didn’t recognize him as a half, and so he felt like he could explain things to the girl without fear of discrimination.

“I guess bones too, lupus are supposed to have harder bones; your bone broke,” she said in a straightforward way. Va’il thought that it was natural that a bone should break if someone lands on it, but he didn’t say it.

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The Lupine Saga 17

The previous day’s investigation had not deterred the midnight thief in the least. Twill was furious at the loss of another two portions, as was everyone else. Ter’ae had caused an enormous uproar in the midst of the horde of children. He told everyone about all the hints Kelin had told him, minus the part about Yan, and then explained why each group could have been lying. It was an outrageous sight after that, as everyone didn’t trust anyone of another species after that. Even those who were the best of friends split apart if they were different. With accusations flying everywhere, Sensei was unable to maintain control over anyone.

“Don’t you want to know what’s going on outside?” Pete asked his two lupine friends. Va’il looked to Kelin for an answer, but Kelin only continued to read. Va’il shrugged at Pete, and the two sighed together.

“Let’s just go, we should at least find out how bad the commotion is.” Pete walked over to Va’il and pulled him up by an arm, which Va’il didn’t resist. They walked outside of the tent, an action they soon regretted.

“White hair and clawed! Him!” Nekoto screamed while pointing at Va’il. Pete was stunned at the sudden accusation, and Va’il wondered what exactly was going on. Just before walking out, the horde of kids were discussing the clues that the detective duo had gathered the other day. It was in a series of yells at each other; however, they did come to a general consensus that the thief might actually be someone fitting the description that Ter’ae provided, despite his claim that it was just each group lying to save themselves. The arrival of Va’il on the scene suddenly made everyone realize they had a child who fit the description.

“Everyone calm down and back off.” Yan had suddenly appeared in front of Va’il. “This child doesn’t deserve your accusations. I’ll save you a wasted effort. Two nights ago, he and I talked under the moonlight in the middle of the night. He couldn’t have been the one to take anything, I would know.”

“Did you just say that Va’il was outside the night of the first crime?” Kelin asked while walking outside of the tent.

“Well, yes, but it was with me. Do you not trust me?” Yan asked, but his defense was an epic mistake. The horde started yelling accusations again, and Yan soon regretted his action.

“Did you watch him the entire time he was outside?”

“Were you up before him?”

“How do you know he didn’t go out again?”

“You put the suspect on the scene of the crime, and you expect us to think he didn’t do it?”

The horde was slowly advancing on Pete and Yan. In back of them were Kelin and Va’il. Va’il was still at a loss for words. He still didn’t fully understand what was going on.

“Did you really go out that first night?” Kelin asked Va’il quietly. Va’il nodded in return. “But didn’t you say you stayed in the tent all night?”

“The second night. You didn’t ask about the first. I woke up that night,” Va’il said.

“I see. You’re a half all right; I couldn’t tell. But, you didn’t do this, right?” Kelin asked.

“No, I didn’t do anything. I just walked around,” Va’il said.

“Then, did you see anything, feel anything, what happened?” Kelin asked with panic in his voice.

“I, I’m not sure. I woke up feeling both hot and chilly suddenly. It felt strange, so I wanted to walk around. I think I imagined something appeared in the woods, I was tired still, then I sat down, then Yan came out and we talked,” Va’il said.

“What did you imagine? Woods, what did you see? No, first, what did you hear about the suspect from my investigation?” Kelin asked while grabbing Va’il’s shoulders.

“Nothing, you kept me away, remember? Why is that important?” Va’il asked.

“Just answer the questions!” Kelin said.

“You’re really acting strange, but okay. I thought I saw something white disappear into the woods that night. I still think I just imagined it, or maybe it was a bird.” Va’il said while shrugging. Kelin dropped his head, and breathed a long sigh. He let go of Va’il.

“I can only believe you, my friend. You’re innocent. Let’s prove it,” Kelin said with a wide grin on his face. He walked past Yan and Pete and started to yell at the horde of children. “You can all stand back. This is still my investigation, and I will prove that this half is innocent, no matter what you and your prejudices think!” Kelin pointed back towards where Va’il was, but then noticed that Va’il had already taken off running towards the lake. Everyone saw this and started screaming to run after him. Kelin was the first one to start running, and caught up to Va’il in an instant. “What are you doing? This doesn’t help prove your innocence!”

“Don’t you hear it? There’s someone drowning!” Va’il yelled, and then ran faster. Kelin suddenly stopped and turned to face the other students.

“Someone is drowning! Jo’se, come here,” Kelin commanded. The children suddenly stopped, and Jo’se came to the front. “Jo’se, look out over the lake, can you see anything?”

Jo’se had eagle eyes, so he quickly climbed on Hein’s shoulders and looked out over the water. Everyone else had stopped, but for Va’il who had dived into the water. They were skeptical, but they let Jo’se answer before they continued. Kelin tried listening for what Va’il heard, but nothing arrived in his ears. He shivered once uncontrollably, as he realized that there may be a possibility that Va’il’s ears were better than his own.

“He’s not lying!” Jo’se said. “There is someone out there, quite a ways, I can barely see them; they are splashing! They are way too far out!”

Kelin and Pete suddenly took off towards the water’s edge, but before they could dive in, they were stopped from behind. Yan had grabbed them both, and turned them around. There was Sensei, wheezing from lack of breath. He took a few deep breaths before speaking.

“You cannot go. He’s already too far out. It’s too dangerous for anyone else to risk going.” Sensei had Yan keep a tight grip on the two boys, who were now unable to help their friend. All they could rely on now were the eagle eyes of Jo’se.


Va’il knew he wasn’t a great swimmer, but the sudden screams he heard urged him to run and swim as fast as he could. He took a deep breath as he dove into the water. It was morning still, but the water was already warming up. He swam as fast as he could in the general direction of the screams. It seemed like hours between each breath, and minutes between each stroke.

He wasn’t sure who it was, but he soon saw the person splashing in the water. They came into his vision every time he came up for another breath, until he was within twenty meters of where the person was. When he came up for air again, they were gone. There was no splashing any longer. He stopped and paddled forward slowly, towards where the person was last.

Bubbles appeared. Va’il dove on the spot. The water was considerably clear, but he still couldn’t see more than a few feet in front of his face. He stopped going any deeper; the water pressure was keeping him up. He breathed out some air, and that was enough for him to keep diving. Another few feet and he saw the person; they were still moving, reaching up with one arm. He reached down and grabbed hold of the hand. The person was sinking, and quickly. Va’il tried turning around and swimming up, but there was something keeping him from going up. He pulled himself down towards the person and hugged them. It was then that he noticed they were being sucked into a whirlpool. As they fell deeper, Va’il’s thoughts faded. What is that yellow thing, he asked himself. He felt the person he was hugging suddenly reach their arms around him, and grab him tightly. His last thought: A girl?

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The Detective Grew Frustrated, and Tomorrow The Lupine Saga Continues

Last week’s segment ended with Kelin and Pete trying to gather the final clues in the ongoing thievery plot, only to suddenly end in a bout of frustration for our main character’s friends. Where do they go from here? Especially after spending so much time (or in the case of the posting, weeks!) playing detective?

Well, not everything goes as planned in life, or in Kel’s case, in detective fiction. And tomorrow we’ll see that the issues prodded at by the duo have in fact stoked issues outside of their control. But… tomorrow things will change. In quite an unexpected way. In fact, something I’ve mentioned in the past, that this book was first formed from the image of a certain scene, is tomorrow.

The origin of The Lupine Saga is a brief but all-important scene tomorrow. From it everything else grew. And as for *some* of the questions that get raised tomorrow, the continuation of the story requires some surprises that the characters cannot possibly account for. Look forward to the coming weeks, as the core of the story gathers more pieces and grows.

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