“Oh dear, I’m sorry!” she said as she closed the door. The boys quickly stood up and called for her to come in.
“It’s alright, he’s got a hard head,” Zeick said, which prompted a thud on his own head from Pete’s hand.
“So does he,” Pete said while smiling. The girl laughed at the comedy duo of felis and swine. They took a bow, and then a step back.
“Please come in, Madam, er… Miss, um… what?” Zeick was bowing, but his head was up and he was looking at the girl.
“Teena Fen, daughter of Alen. Pleased, really. You’re too funny.” She did a small curtsy with her orange skirt that ended just at her knees.
“That’s a noble’s introduction, yet you’re a hostess,” Kelin said.
“How rude! Don’t mind him, he’s just a noble as well,” said Zeick.
“No, it’s all right,” Teena said. “I’m no noble. It’s just that my parents gave me an additional name, and told me to introduce myself like that. It’s a habit, now. I’m a bit annoyed that I have an extra name, but I think I’ll keep this habit for a while longer.”
“Interesting,” Va’il said, “it’s a nice name. Oh, mine’s Va’il. Anyways, ignoring our ridiculousness, you’re welcomed in with the best of entertainment. A smile is guaranteed, even if the actors are frowning.” Va’il smiled widely at Teena, his teeth visible yet not intimidating. He turned to the other three, and two of them also smiled. Kelin kept his composure.
“Thank you, Va’il.” She smiled in return. Sharp fangs gleamed in the dim light of the room, those of a real lupus girl.
She sat down, along with the boys, and they all continued playing cards again. This time, with five people, they changed to a game that didn’t have teams. A while passed while the shuffling, moaning, yelping, and snorting that was customary with every game continued.
“Drat, I lost again!” Teena tossed the cards down and scrunched her face.
“Ha, what’s with that face,” Kelin said. He was sitting across from her. Instead of replying, she repeated the motion, but directly at Kelin this time.
“It seems that games that involve bluffing don’t turn out well for such an expressive woman,” said Zeick.
“Exactly! Thank you, Zack,” Teena said innocently.
“It’s Zeick, Teena,” Zeick said.
“Oh, sorry Zack,” Teena replied. She said it with such sincerity that the boys didn’t for a second think she was teasing Zeick.
“It’s… oh never mind. Say, it’s getting kind of stuffy in this room, with the five of us being so active,” Zeick said with a casual air.
“Yeah, it is kinda hot,” Pete said. Pete looked at Va’il and made a motion with his eyes.
“It’s cool outside, but really warm in here, strangely enough,” Va’il echoed the sentiments.
“Really? I feel just fine. Maybe my tail and ears are feeling a bit warmer though,” Teena said thoughtfully.
“Then it’s settled. Let’s go outside,” Kelin said as he stood up. He took Teena’s hand and pulled her up as well without another word.
“No, you can’t go outside,” Teena said in firm opposition.
“And just why not?” Va’il asked as he rose.
“It’s not safe, at night. And I was told that your group is special, and shouldn’t be let out,” Teena said.
“Ah, you think we’re a bunch of troublemakers!” Va’il scowled as he spoke.
“No, really. Please believe me,” Teena said with deep concern in her voice, “it’s really not safe out there.”
“Why?” Va’il asked.
“They might come. They stopped a couple nights ago, but they might come again. The creatures that bang on the walls.” Teena spoke very slowly.
“Creatures?” The boys asked in unison.
“Could it be?” Pete asked.
“That’d make sense,” Zeick said as he nodded.
“Excuse me?” Teena asked, confused.
“Well,” said Zeick, “you yourself just said that we are special, and shouldn’t be let out. We may be quite young, but we were entrusted with a very special, and secret, mission. Our safety is of the utmost importance when others are around, since we don’t know if any citizens in the city are dangerous or not. However, for our mission, all of that is to be forgone, and we are to go immediately to the scene to assess the situation. Until we have done that, our safety should be assured. So, surely you can understand why we need to go, now.” Zeick spoke quickly and without hesitation as he lied. He hoped that Teena wouldn’t see though his deception. He didn’t need to hope for long.
“Um, well, I don’t understand, but if you need to go then I should stay out of the way. Anything, anything to stop them. Please.” Teena’s voice had started shaking. It was obvious that she was deathly afraid of the creatures she had mentioned. Thus, she readily believed when presented with any hope, false or real.
The boys all nodded in unison at Teena, who was no longer standing in their way. Then it happened. Off in the distance, a loud crash was heard. At the sound, Teena covered her ears and looked down. She closed her eyes, and her breathing became heavy. The sense of fear that she had was overpowering the boys in the room. Kelin was especially sensitive to the atmosphere. He walked over to Teena and placed his arm on her back. He patted her twice, firmly.
“It’s going to be alright. Nothing will happen to you.” Kelin forced her to walk forward, and then maneuvered her to the closest bed. He had her lay down, and then he turned to the rest of them.
“Ready Kel?” Zeick asked.
“Let’s go on an adventure,” Kelin replied.
Va’il, hearing the sound of more crashes in the background, with his voice full of excitement, said, “Alright guys. I don’t know what lies ahead, but it’s not for cowards, Pete. Adventure? No idea. Danger? Probably. Will our parents scold us later? Definitely, that’s why we will refrain from telling them more than necessary. The army? We’re going to find out why they are here. Our motto? ‘Hard work. Effort. And love. We can do anything.’ Let’s go, you ruffians!”
“Lame,” Zeick said.
“Utterly embarrassing.” Pete echoed similar sentiments.
“I don’t know you anymore.” Kelin sighed and shook his head. To top things off, Va’il had put his fist in the air, expecting a hurrah from the rest of them. The miserable failure didn’t deter Va’il, as he led the group outside. For a lame speech, it had actually done a great job of relaxing and motivating the group, but they weren’t willing to admit it.