Slender paws carried Lucretzia down the wet streets. It had rained last night. Lucretzia liked to think that when it rained it was her mother, the angel, crying because she missed her. It was what her brother had told her when she was really little. She liked to keep believing it.
Her head was lowered cautiously. Lucretzia was trying to find something familiar to her. A candy store, a pet shop, a church. The latter was the one she really wanted. The streets were quiet as all she heard was the jingling of her golden cross around her neck hanging from the velvet collar. She swallowed nervously.
Despite his leisurely pace, long limbs carried the big Great Dane through the rain at a good speed. Young as he still was, he already had much of his father's great size and strength. Oni's lazy yellow eyes were fixed straight head as he walked, as if his surroundings held no interest to him. the truth was, they didn't. The only structure which interested him was the wall. And only because it kept certain death at bay.
His head raised slightly when he saw some movement ahead of him. A slender dog, out on the streets alone. A small smile appeared for a brief moment before fading as he decided to offer her some company. Big paws slapped down on wet pavement as he headed towards her.
"Looking for something? Or do you merely enjoy wandering in the rain?" he asked, moving close before stopping, gazing down at her.
Lucretzia let out a small gasp as she turned. A giant dog was behind her. Much bigger than her brother or even Buster was. Her tiny ears folded back, her blue orbs wide with shock and awe. Her mouth even dipped a tiny bit. She swallowed, fear gripping her as she answered.
"I...I dunno," she whimpered,"I...I was looking for a church. Or a candy store. Sometimes they give me things dogs can eat." She smiled up at him. It was really his size that unnerved her.
"My name is Lucretzia," she said, "What is yours?"
A small grin crossed his face at her reaction. For a moment, he just looked her over, taking in her blue eyes, golden cross, pale fur, and the tufts of white fur on her head. A pretty creature.
"A church or a candy store. You do know there's likely nobody running any stores anymore, right? You want something from a store, you'd better just take it," he said. He looked down at the golden cross hanging from her collar, reaching a paw forward to lift it up so he could take a closer look at it, lowering his head as he did so.
"My name is Oni. Does this have something to do with why you want to find a church?" he asked. He'd seen crosses on buildings before, but he'd never seen or heard of any dogs being allowed inside.
Lucretzia straightened up and smiled comfortably. Her head tilted to the side as she listened to the male before her. "You do know there's likely nobody running any stores anymore, right? You want something from a store, you'd better just take it."
She gasped. "Oh heavens no! That would be stealing!" She shook her head making the tufts beside her sway. She was unaware that's how her brother got her food in Old New England Town so her stance stayed firm. "If I had some money I would," she sighed, "But taking it without paying for it or asking is stealing. I'd feel so guilty."
She stared at her chest where he seemed to be peering. "Oh this? Yes, it does!" She said, her smile returning, "My brother and I lived in a church back home. You see my Mommy is an angel." Not even stopping to think about what she was saying, the simple minded female continued. "I like to think Mommy gave it to me when I was very little to always remember."
Oni snorted in amusement. She was certainly naive. Completely ignorant of the way the world really worked. A crooked grin twisted the scar on his face.
"Well, if you really want to ask, the shop owners are most likely out there, beyond the wall, trying desperately to get in and eat us all," he said, still looking at the small golden cross, listening as she explained her past. Living in a church, he could understand. At least somewhat, if the church was abandoned. It was a bit strange to build something, only to abandon it. But then, humans were all rather strange. His gaze lifted up to look into the female's face when she said her mother was an angel, alert to any sign she was trying to make a fool out of him. But she seemed to believe what she was saying.
"An angel? You mother...was an angel?" he asked, just staring for a moment. Then he tilted his head back and laughed, suddenly struck by how funny this situation was. "Well, little angel, what a pair we make! Yin and Yang."
He let out another laugh, shaking his head, then grinned down at her. "Oni means demon."
"Oh the creatures..." Her ears folded back again. "Those poor humans. They must be suffering so much."
"Well, little angel, what a pair we make! Yin and Yang."
Lucretzia stood to try and look up at the dog more. "What do you mean, Oni?" Her maw parted slightly as she returned her rear to a comfortable position on the street. "Oni means demon." She gasped, her paws covering her mouth as she stared up at him with her blue pearls. She blinked a few times before opening her mouth to speak.
"Oh... oh dear," she said, "You're not a demon though, are you? You seem quite kind to me." Dimwitted girl approached closer. Her head came barely to the base of his neck. Her trusting eyes shone towards him.
Oni couldn't help but find Lucretzia's naivete to be amusing, and almost endearing. If nothing else, she'd provide some entertainment while she lasted, which, if she didn't have somebody watching out after her, likely wouldn't be long. She'd probably try to pay one of the zombies rent for living here, or something.
"Ha! Don't give those creatures any thought. They're already dead. You can smell it on them, if you get close enough. And taste it in their flesh," he said dismissively. He settled back on his hindquarters, and raised a back paw to scratch at his left ear.
"Only flesh and blood here. A name's just a name, after all," he said, shrugging a bit, not bothering to ask how she could possibly know if he was a demon or not. If she wanted to believe she was part angel, he wouldn't argue with her. There wasn't any point. Either she was deluded by some of her mother's stories, or really was half angel. It didn't really make any difference to him.
"Surely you aren't here all by yourself, little angel. You must have some place to stay," he stated, languid yellow orbs meeting bright blue pearls. He seriously doubted she was part of the Crystal Guard. And he knew she wasn't part of the Thieves' Guild.
"Oh you ate one?" Lucretzia gasped, ears lifting as he spoke. But her smile returned as he reassured her he wasn't a demon. "I agree," she said, "After all my brother's name supposedly means devil! Isn't that awful?" She shook her head.
"I am, sort of," she said with a sigh, "You see, my brother is missing. I can't find him. He takes care of me back home. That's why I was looking for something familiar. The other dogs do not have time for me." She enjoyed being called 'little angel' though. It was making her trust the beast more.
"I am part of the rebuilding effort," she said, "But all I really would like is to find my brother."
"Only part of one. Like I said, it tastes dead. Could even be poison," he said, shrugging a bit. His eyes narrowed just slightly when she mentioned her brother, and his name meaning devil, supposedly. Interesting. That could make her trust him even more.
"Missing, is he? Such a shame. Still, if he's anywhere close by, he'll find his way here before long. Hmm. Why don't you tell me what he looks like, so I'll know him if I see him?" he suggested. That way, I can gain his trust, too. Or kill him if he's too smart for his own good, he added silently.
He glanced up at the sky, and the vast spread of grey rainclouds. "And why don't we see if we can find a church, or something? There's no point in sitting in the rain."
"Okay! Yeah! I know you'll help me!" Her tail wagged as she sat up, walking towards the male closer. She grinned, lifting her paw towards him. "He's not a big huuuuuge dog like you, but he's bigger than me. He's brown, but he does have a pink patch over one of his eyes. AND his hair is frosted!"
Paws pressed to the ground in a happy dance as he mentioned the church. "Your name shouldn't mean demon! It should mean ANGEL!"
It was almost too easy. It was like she didn't have a single suspicious bone in her body. Well, he'd certainly keep an eye out for her brother. From his description, he likely wouldn't be too hard to spot. And, if some tragedy should befall him, the little angel would need someone trustworthy to comfort her...
"Of course. I'll keep my eyes opened. If he's anywhere nearby, he's sure to spot the walls," he said, grinning a bit. As far as he was concerned, this was a perfect setup. Lucretzia was proving easy to manipulate, and her absent brother could be dealt with in one way or another, if he showed up.
He stood, and started heading down the street, chuckling softly at the female's antics. Perhaps he'd keep her for a time. He had never met anybody quite like her. "Well, little angel, names don't mean much. Your brother, myself, we're who we are, no matter what names we go by."
He was who he was. He'd never felt even the slightest hint of empathy towards anyone, or even the smallest feeling of compassion. Maybe he never would. Either way, it didn't really matter.
Pups' paws carried him silently down the street. As he walked, he couldn't help looking nervously at all the abandoned buildings sitting in ruin all around him. Where are all the people? He thought. Shouldn't there be....someone here besides us dogs? Naive pup (though not nearly as naive as Lucretzia) couldn't understand it. Back home things were so simple... Mom and Dad were there for him, he had his brother and sisters to play with, and Roger and Anita were there to help if things went wrong ... which they never did.
Here... this place gave him the creeps. It was so eerie and different from anything he'd ever known. He didn't know what to make of it but it made his fur stand on end. How there were no people...and the place was in ruins, and only a weird assortment of creatures (mostly canines) inhabited it. Where on earth was he?
"Oh! Hey!!" Horseshoe-spotted pup perked up with a smile immediately to call to the two canines walking ahead of him. Finally!! Someone to ask about this weird place! Hastily he ran up to them, panting with excitement and with an equally bright smile on his face.
"Hi there! I'm Lucky Jr! I'm Lucky's son." He beamed and puffed his chest out proudly, assuming that they knew who Lucky WAS, just like everyone else back on the farm. "Who are you guys?" Suddenly his grin faded and he looked around with wide eyes and slightly parted lips. "Do you know what this place is? It's so weird..."
I see trees of green,
red roses too.
I see them bloom,
for me and you.
And I think to myself,
what a wonderful world....
The feel of wet pavement beneath her paws was not one she liked.
In fact, she didn't much care for the feel of pavement at all. She and her siblings were animals, born and bred in the 'wilds' of the game preserve, and while many of the dogs she knew were comfortable with the features of human dwellings such as this, the young fox most definately was not. Though since she was equally quick to complain about the unruliness of the natural world she was used to, one could surmise that there was pretty much no pleasing the second eldest of Tod and Vixey's kits.
But it wasn't like she had much choice in the matter. What of the natural world did exist here was overun with flesh-eating mutants, and Ferm much prefered remaining in an uncomfortable environment to being eaten alive. The only other problem was all the...
Dogs. Her nose warned her about them just before she caught sight of the three canines further down the road, and the dark-furred kit froze. So far, none of the pups she'd met - either here or back home - had seemed vastly inclined to hurt her, but after she, Alder and Moss had run afoul of old Chief one time when she had unwisely joined them in exploring beyond the preserve's boundaries, Fern wasn't at all enthusiastic about the idea of approaching any dog; much less a group of three of them. Unwilling to approach - but not wanting to turn around and retreat either - the young fox inched a little closer, hoping that maybe she could sneak past the canines without being seen or chased.