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Curiousity killed the rat


Post by Jenica Sabiny on

The rock connected, and painfully. The cat's blood scent was in the air, and had Jenica noticed, she'd know that the smell might throw the creature into a frenzy. Hungry and scared, now half-blind, it was in the worst possible state for sensible thought.

But Jenica didn't notice.

For all her powers of shadow manipulation, the vampire had one glaring weakness which she'd had for years now, something which should by all rights have led to her death years ago. She wasn't the most powerful vampire alive, nor particularly old - only a few years of power had gathered in her body, while most she encountered had dozens, if not hundreds of years to their names. But Jen had never had the pleasure of vampire company, had never learned all the tricks. Everything she knew she'd learned through trial and error, and because of this one great flaw, she'd learned that the shadows were the best weapon she wielded.

She was very, very one-track minded.

Not in the focused sense, no. The would mean that some part of her was aware of other movement, other activity around her body. No, Jenica was focused to the point of error - she would direct every ounce of her attention to one object, one person, one goal, and nothing was spared elsewhere. Occasionally she zoned out so thoroughly that almost entire nights went by, and the only thing which woke her was a slight singe on her clothing as the sun rose.

Those mornings were bad.

Now, she had turned upward, and was watching the skyline for some hint of what might have hurtled that rock. There, movement, and an outline - a very, very strange outline - and she wanted to meet it, to see what it might be. She started forward to the wall, planning on scaling the building to find what might be up and just out of reach, wondering if perhaps another game had opened before her...

It was a crunch of gravel and wail in her head which brought her back down to the ground, where her body remained. She turned in time to see Alalia mere footsteps away, the wicked glint from her blade shocking the vampire into more of a reflex reaction than any planned rebuttal.

She flung her left hand in an arch, bringing a long slinging whip of shadow along with it. It held no sting, only meant to serve as a rope to wrap around the cat creature, and a quickly made and most likely poor strength rope at that. Her other hand ripped her own katana from its sheath, a once-impressive blade now barely able to stand its own weight due to her lack of care for the thing. She moved her blade before her in a line, to block the creatures desperate slash across her body, but her mind reeled as it tried to remember what this thing might want from her. Something about prey. Something about killing...

Post by Alalia Morrigan on

Alalia hissed in anger as the vampire blocked her slash, the blades clashing together with the distinct ringing sound only created by metal striking metal. At the last moment, she noticed the shadow rope swinging down, but didn’t have time to disentangle her weapon and dodge it. Lifting up her forearm to shield herself, she felt the whip wrap around her wrist. It wasn’t exactly painful, but the impact did cause her arm to sting a bit.

At that point, any trace of human thought left her. She was now a wild animal that was trapped by something that she did not understand, and she reacted like one. Pulling back her weapon, she began to slash with inhuman speed and ferocity, not caring about any openings for attack that she was making available. Ears flat against her skull, she pulled back her lips in a silent snarl, fangs exposed. That, when combined with the blood running down her face and the insane glitter in her eye made her face look totally and completely feral.

Pulling her left arm across her body, Alalia sunk her teeth into the rope, snapping the quickly made bond with her teeth. Her left hand now free, she held the sword in both hands and was about to continue her attack when she heard a new voice. She stopped and looked up, finding the source of the insult.

She was surprised to see a creature that looked half-fox, half-man. She allowed her sword point to drop as she stared, trying to comprehend what it was saying through the wild madness that had gripped her mind. Soon, however, the feral fog lifted, and she hissed at the strange creature, showing her displeasure at his words. Turning to the vampire, she pointed her sword at the woman. “You and I will finish this later,” she said, her voice returning to its soft purr that was somehow terrifying. “I do not take well to those who seek to deter me.”

Sheathing her rapier, she turned and ran towards the wall that Chris had climbed earlier, snatching up her cape and fastening it as she went. Flexing her fingers, she leapt at the wall, digging her claws in between the bricks. She pulled herself up the wall, using her feet to push up and her tail for balance. She was a fast climber normally, but adrenaline gave her a burst of extra speed. When she reached the roof, she wasn’t even winded.

Walking along the peak of the roof, Alalia looked down at the street below, her green eyes darting about as she looked for the insulting fox-creature. Suddenly, another wave of dizziness swept over her from her head injury, forcing her to sit. Holding her head between her hands, she waited until everything stopped spinning. Standing again, she started her search again, even though she knew the irritating thing would probably be long gone.

Post by Anonymous on

Through all this Myx stood slightly to the back, watching with a look of subdued shock on his face. How ridiculous that everything around him seemed to spin out of control, how marvelous! Yet the twinges of his sane humanity pulled at him to run, and the logical part of his awareness told him that damned cat was near by and he should make a break for it while the three combatants settled their differences.

But the part of him that had lain so dormant and dead for the past half a dozen years was finally awake and mesmerized by the sights that beheld him. He closed his mind off to the part of his soul that whispered bad tidings--all he wanted was the stimulus to neverend, for he discovered anew that new things had the power to capture his absolute awareness and bring a terrible numbness to him which was what he secretly desired--the numbness that would mask what was to him a menial and pointless life and some secret debt which gnawed at his self-worth.

So he watched these puzzling, deadly, magnificent creatures with all his attention, idly aware of his cat nimbly perched on top of his shoulder and gazing at the scene ahead of it with eyes that were uncanny mirrors of its 'retainer'. Finally the cat-like girl had left in chase of the mystery wielder of the rock and the world began to retain a semblence of sense.

Myx looked at Jenica, who he knew now to be a vampire--a low thrill of fear rumbled through his gut but his eyes were twinkling with a light reflected from the sphere of light he was keeping up; which he thought might be a good idea to dissipate, and so he did so. Having done this he now stared at the fading glow of the vampire's red eyes, ignoring the human instict. It was strange that in his mind he no longer held death with the same high regard he had once done; yet his body had never stopped being aware of its own mortality.

"Jenica," he said, surprised at the clarity of his own voice, "the vampire."

Myx said this half to himself, but his voice only held a neutrality which could be taken in many a different ways. But the mischevious grin that followed was clear in showing an innocently dark delight, one akin to finding out you and your best friend have been keeping the same secret from each other for so long. Then as if remembering something trivial from many years past, Myx looked to the sky; between the narrow framing of the two buildings forming the alley he could see the tip of a moon to one side.

"The night may have a few hours yet, enough for a drink maybe," Myx said, wondering idly if Jenica as a vampire had to seek some kind of shelter for the coming sun, not knowing how early or if she had to at all. Part of him quivered inside that perhaps she may disappear and that all the terrible and wonderful things he had witnessed today would leave forever. Above everything and at the core of his personality Myx was a man whose feet had been inexorably dipped in the realm of the supernatural--but a man of free exploration and curiosity, he knew now he would not rest until he had seen more; yes, much much more of this world he had only scented in that faithful alley so many years ago, and again in another alley tonight. But something told Myx there was no going back and that thought however disturbing, set him to rest and when he spoke again, his voice held with it a confident contentment.

"And would you seek shelter for the coming morning? Maybe I can help with that. But there is so little I know of your kind, you must enlighten me," insisted Myx with a mix of curiosity and a subdued, controlled ecstacy at which he used to treat all new things that came his way.

Post by Chrishton Radu on

The fox hit the ground three stories down as lightly and as delicately as a 150 lb house-cat. He was up again and padding away from the building in a second, adjusting his robe after having flashed the alleyway with his furry masculinity.

The fox made his way south, to the main street, where even this time of night there would be a few people and - more importantly - guards. Guards who he knew had lots of pointy swords and guns and magic. Guards who were looking for a big, dark haired, burly human who liked to start fights and spoke like a madman.

The kitsune knew exactly where to find that man. Yes. He was right up the alleyway and he was helping a psychotic vampire and a catgirl to hunt humans. It was horrible, horrible!

"AAAAIIIIGH!!!" The fox let out high pitched cry that sounded like a man having his balls twisted into a knot. It was loud enough to pierce the late night silence all the way through the downtown district.

He was improvising at this point. There was little planning going on in that little foxlike brain of his, except for the idea that he wanted to make life difficult for his new friends. They were going to love him so very much!

Post by Jenica Sabiny on

There was a moment's clarity and peace when the blades connected. Jenica felt the old muscles bunch in preparation for the next attack. Long forgotten reflexes kicked in, preparing for a fight in the old-fashioned physical sort of way. It had been a long, long time since she'd let those instincts rule her body - long enough that it took a full moment to register what was happening to her muscles, apart from actually thinking through the movements - but Jenica had once been a fighter, a true fighter, full of honor and quality swordsmanship. For a brief, fleeting glimpse, she saw herself as human once again, and this opponent was just yet another human to fight.

And then she looked and saw the mask of pure animal before her. She recognized it in herself, but there wasn't time to call her own buried beast forward, for this one snapped the hastily made shadow-rope like twine and began an insane and steady stream of hits which the vampire only barely kept up with. Block, block, block, block, until all that her mind could hold was anticipation of the next move. She watched the other's muscles flex and responded in kind, and all the while chips flew from her ill-cared for katana, causing interesting sparkles and glitter to issue with each clang.

And then it stopped, suddenly and without warning. The vampire remained braced, waiting for the next random sequence, but the cat was no longer focused on her. It paused, looked elsewhere, threatened, and left. The vampire watched it go with no small amount of surprise, still braced, still waiting for it to turn back, but it never did. It scaled the wall, hopped the roof, and was gone - and stayed gone, and stayed gone, until Jenica lowered her weapon and finally sheathed it. The cat's smell had also faded. She was safe.

Safe and fed, but thrumming with the fight. Her heart didn't race and she didn't pant, but she was filled with the longing to continue the physical movements. She idly considered picking a fight with some humans, but no - only a supernatural being could put up a decent fight. Perhaps she could spar with the nymph...

The shadows danced and grew as the light faded in the alley. It took the vampire several moments to tilt her head toward Myx once more, the long-forgotten bystander. There was a cat on his shoulder, but she'd forgotten it before and soon forgot it again now.

A human, she remembered, and a curious and polite one at that. But now he knew her, and now he spoke her name, and the other identity - the one she'd meant to hide. She straightened her neck as she turned her full body to him, fingers clawed. He wouldn't attack, she knew, but she couldn't be so sure of herself. And she remembered that he'd held the sun in his hand before...

"A drink."

Her voice held a dead lull to it. She eyed him for the meal he could be, but the hunger remained dormant. She wouldn't need to feed any longer, tonight. But the other offer, that was something she would need. And he asked for details on her kind...details? She'd never even encountered another, besides her sire, and she'd eluded him for years now. She only knew what was obvious, what was instinctual. Sunlight and fire could harm or kill. Blood was necessary. Shadows were playmates, and killing could be fun. There was only the hunt and the kill, and the occasional curious question to drive away the otherwise monotony of life. There was only the animal to cater to. She barely noticed that she had fingernails instead of claws.

She faced him fully and stared into the irises. They often felt this meant honesty, and she thought perhaps it would make him trust her a bit more.

"I won't...drink. But I'll need shelter."

She cocked her head as she watched him for signs of the bright light.

"You would let me stay with you?"

Post by Alalia Morrigan on

Alalia had been about ready to give up her search for the fox when she heard an earsplitting scream. Wiggling her sensitive ears with displeasure, she followed the sound by moving silently over the rooftops, jumping over the gaps between one building and the next with ease. She moved with the easy grace of a trained gymnast and the fluid stalk of a born killer.

The catgirl saw the irritating creature from atop one of the roofs, picking out his white fur and garment easily from the shadows. For a moment, she merely crouched on the roof peak and watched, wondering what the strange creature was up to. He would have half the town down around his ears in moments if he kept that noise up.

The thought of having lots of humans in one place at night made her shiver with anticipation. They would fall before her like wheat before a sickle. The thoughts, along with the scent of the blood still oozing from the gash in her forehead nearly sent her into a frenzy once more, but she managed to control herself. She didn’t want to be a mindless predator as she killed them. She wanted to watch and comprehend their deaths. It was so much more thrilling that way.

However, she wanted to deal with the fox before the humans came, so she could focus completely on the killing, without the annoyance of knowing the creature had injured her and lived to howl about it. Leaping from the rooftop, she landed lightly on the balls of her feet in a crouch, her tail held out for balance. Straightening, she unsheathed her rapier once again.

“I believe I have you to thank for this,” she said in her low, purring voice, gesturing to the cut with a flick of her blade. Moonlight shimmered off the blood that covered a good part of the side of her face, matting in her hair and dripping off her chin, leaving a dark brown stain on her hunter-green shirt. Her lips parted, revealing her fanged eyeteeth as she licked away some of the blood that had collected in the corner of her mouth. Her large green eyes closed momentarily as she savored the rich, metallic taste and fought to keep her feral side under control.

Alalia considered saying more, but decided againstit. She wished to see how the fox would react to such a bland statement, when it was obvious she meant him harm. Perhaps he would come up with some sort of amusing excuse, or try to justify what he had done. I didn’t matter, though. No matter what he did, she was still going to kill him.

Post by Chrishton Radu on

The fox had almost made it to main street when he heard the cat behind him. There was still a good amount of distance between them, and he debated stopping to entertain her over reaching the guards as he intended. He was quite confident in his ability to outrun just about anyone, especially this feline.

Against his better judgment he decided to give in and chat, making sure to keep far enough away so that nothing could happen to him. He turned and scanned the alley with golden eyes until he spotted the source of the barely audible voice.

Twin white tails played in the air behind him as he spoke, fighting each-other like a pair of angry siblings.

"And here I thought you'd forgotten about me."

This one was a true work of art, he thought to himself. She was more obsessively sadistic acting than some of the worst vampires he'd ever met, and he'd met some real weirdos in his day. He couldn't remember the last time he'd met someone who was so dedicated to holding up a dark demeanor. It was a welcome change and something he would enjoy trying to break, unlike the vampire. That was going to be a problem. Vampires were always so old and defeated... They lacked the passion of youthful cruelty.

"You want another one? Because I'm all out of rocks."

Subtly he checked his surroundings for things to use as weapons. This party of the city was great for that and the alley contained a wide assortment of boxes and scrap pieces of wood and metal, not to mention the food he could smell coming from a waste-bin behind him.

Post by Alalia Morrigan on

Alalia allowed a smirk to creep across her face. “I never forget those who do me injury,” she replied simply. The ache in her head reminded her continuously, along with the thick, sticky fluid running down her face, filling her nostrils with its sweet, metallic scent. She knew she had some sort of head injury from the rock, because everything seemed a bit distant and slow, as though she were watching time being altered from far away. However, she refused to allow it to bother her. There were much more interesting things afoot.

“I merely had more important things to tend to when you involved yourself,” the catgirl continued in a conversational tone. “Vampires are fascinating creatures, aren’t they? It’s incredible that a bite and some soil could turn the weak, frail beings that humans are into formidable opponents. They go from prey to predators, and all it costs them is their humanity. A fair price, don’t you think?”

Alalia slowly rotated her wrist, watching the moonlight reflect up and down the length of her blade. At one point, she caught a glimpse of her own reflection, and was a bit startled at what she saw, though she didn’t let it show. The shadows cast by the curvature of her face made it look harsh and angular, giving it a look of intensity that she rather liked. The gash over her eye had also bled more than she had thought, the deep scarlet contrasting with the green of her eyes.

The cat-girl looked back up at the fox. “I think I’ll have to pass on your offer, but I’d be more than happy to return the favor,” she said, her tone sounding rather bored. “I’d like to see how clever your tongue is after I’ve torn it from your mouth.” She raised her rapier and ran her own tongue along it, as though she could already taste blood staining its length. The feel of cool metal against her mouth helped sooth her feral side, which was clawing to be free once again. The animal inside of her was crouched, always ready to pounce and claw away at any scrap of sanity that she possessed. It was rare for her to lose control, but when she did, the beast never returned quietly to its cage.

Alalia dropped her blade again, her eyes never leaving the fox. Her head was still spinning a bit, and she wanted to have her revenge for the pain he had caused her. Part of her was telling her to fight, now, while he wasn’t prepared, but another part was fairly curious. She wanted to know how this odd creature thought and acted, and if he would even be worth fighting. It would be a disappointment if he was all bark and no bite. She would kill him anyway, of course, but a challenge would be nice. She had been fighting with humans for too long.

Post by Chrishton Radu on

Chrishton listened to her speak and remembered his past, stilling his tails. He indulged himself in thoughts about vampires and humanity, predators and prey. The changes becoming one had on his life from the day he was born were more than he could think of, but he knew all about what it did to people. Like a slow rotting from the inside, they all forgot what being human was about. He hated it still.

"Fair trade? Sure, to someone like you it might be. For the rest of us... It sucks."

His golden eyes locked with hers, not a hint of fear in them while he watched her lick her blade. The fox looked completely unimpressed, and made it obvious with another joke.

"Taste good, metal? Good for a snack?"

His tails played with eachother once more, back to playing games.

"What are you, a lame surgeon? My tongue isn't smart without the rest of me - it hasn't got any brains in it! You don't have to rip it out to figure that out... Unless you're really stupid..."

He paused.

"Stupider than my tongue even."

Canid teeth glistened in the dim light as he grinned.

Post by Belatucadrus on

Lights dimmed throughout the street as if they were being suffocated slowly, strangled by their wires until only a trickle of dim orange light could get through. Bela had the system designed just for him. His obsessive hobby missed no details not perfected by him, and particularly none involving light. To the citizens, it was just another brownout. Gnomish technology in need of some elbow grease. To the vampire, it was one more little touch of perfection.

He walked alone through the streets, so unlikely a figure to see that most of the people passed right by without realizing. Those who did averted their eyes in fear. Another touch of perfection in his own.

His childer was here somewhere, hunting in his streets at night and so close he grew anxious to find her... But hundreds of years of patience quelled his anxiety soon enough. He would walk and search until day or until he found her himself. It was one of those rare jobs nobody else could do for him.

He passed a guardsman and locked eyes with the young man. When the man saw he nearly froze in place, but his sense won over and he averted his gaze, staring foreword in terror at the thought that the vampire might be interested in him. The guardsman knew his reputation for both fairness and total capability for sadism. It was the sort of fear men had for vengeful gods, and the vampire reveled in it.

But he had seen plenty of it, and the thought of it receded back into the way things ought to be. He kept his senses about him and moved along, scanning down each alley as he passed. The pull of his blood grew stronger every minute.

Post by Anonymous on

At Jenica's question Myx thought not of whether he would allow her to stay, but whether he could; that is he thought out logically. His flat was on the second floor and was a small affair, with a crude bed and a small table, with almost no other furniture but a small round mirror sitting on the table. There was only one window, a smallish thing near his bed and most of the light came from his lantern even during early afternoons. The window itself faced the east and the building adjacent to his was close enough that little if any direct sunlight hit the room.

It was a decent place, for the price. A little more expenditure on his part could earn him a place with more sunlight--but he didn't spent much time indoors and so he had never moved out, though he had saved up a bit of money by now. All the better it served him.

"Of course. My flat isn't far from here... but it's not so late yet is it? A warm mug for me before sunrise, the tavern isn't so far off," he made the last part of his sentence a question rather than a statement, waiting on Jenica for a reply.

Post by Jenica Sabiny on

There was only a moment's hesitation before she nodded, deciding that staying with this human was the easiest plan. It wasn't that she had nowhere else to go, it was that the places she'd found were holes, ditches, things which didn't so much protect as shield. She would be grateful for a full day's sleep, once she'd had it.

And the other...

Jenica realized, with visible surprise, that she had neither drank nor eaten anything remotely like what she used to since she'd turned. Only blood, and lots of it - she didn't even know if she could drink anything other than the life's fluid, draining it straight from a veins or artery, or hitting them elsewhere just to make the game last longer, the pain much more interesting...

She shuttered her eyes as a new sensation washed over her. She'd felt it only once before, since she'd left his presence, but now she could name it. He was searching for her, actively searching - and if he found her, she suspected Daddy would not have a hug for her.

She started shifting her weight, left to right, as if bracing for a non-existent fight. She looked up at the man, vaguely remembering an offer...an offer to drink. She took a step forward, naked hostility all over her body, then memory clicked into place and she blinked.

Oh. Not that kind of drink.

She looked to the end of the alley. They needed to leave. Now.

"A drink. Let's go."

She started forward, expecting him to follow and, hopefully, lead the way.

Post by Anonymous on

Myx took an instinctive step back counter to Jenica's malignant advancement. Admist the thrill of fear that ran through his spine he was fascinated by the seemingly dual nature of Jenica the vampire. How familiar was her human form, Myx mused, yet how different her nature! He observed her carefully as she went from a moment of naked hunger, to a look of subtle epiphany then a nervous hurry. But consciously he had only noticed very little of this, and had only picked up on her hurried tone and not the extent nor its implications. So he gave her a nod even as he turned and walked out of the alley onto Main Street.

The Drunken Rat Tavern stood across the local Brothel, a profitable relationship for both drunkards and prostitutes. Directly to the west of the Brothel was a Hospital and only a little farther was the Central Inn, whose western alley was the very alley in which all previous events had occured. In his search for the cat Myx had overshot the Tavern from the ruins of the Historic District and was now considerably closer to his flat than he had intended to be, though the tavern was the nearer still. He looked towards the tavern, but gave a pause when he realized that he could not see the tavern.

Having been a frequent patron of the Drunken Rat, Myx knew that from such a distance as he stood he could easily locate the tavern with his eyes. Indeed even on foggy nights he could see the tavern's half-decomposed sign by the lamp lights. But he had noticed that the lamps which normally shed a decent amount of lumination in the streets had gone out near the tavern and indeed all through the Main Street in that direction. Not only that but he noticed that the lamps were dimming in sections, an ominous cascade of shadows that soon found Myx standing directly below such a dimmed lamp. It was as if the steady progress of the Main Street brownout preceded (and perhaps even announced) some greater darkness following behind it.

A strange uncomfortable chill passed through his body. Uncertainty creeped into his instinct, the one that had been left as a vestige of the need to survive; Myx nevertheless ignored the feeling of impending *something* and gave Jenica a look of reassurance.

"The tavern is just up ahead," he told her, gesturing east down Main Street, "it should take us but a few short moments."

His cat landed deftly on the ground from its perch on Myx's shoulder and meowed softly towards the Drunken Rat, never leaving the close proximity of its keeper.

Post by Jenica Sabiny on

It was getting hard to focus on him, his words, his movements. The rumble deep within kept growing and expanding until it was an inner roar, shrieking a name over and over. She couldn't block it out, couldn't make it stop, and so it continued, louder and stronger, until she wanted to cover her ears or tear her belly out in frustration.

He was coming, and He was nearby. She knew this as instinctively as she knew that the hunger would return within hours to control her body once more, as she knew the sun would burn her to death if she stayed in it a moment too long. She couldn't control the feeling or bury it, so she had to deal with it. And Jenica wasn't very good at dealing.

She became more agitated as they left the alley. The lights of course hurt her eyes, and she would've felt grateful that they dimmed even as the two left the safety of the closed space, but something about their pattern was ominous and unforgiving, as though they preceded something darker, something which needed the shadows to thrive.

Something she felt in her gut as surely as she felt the hunger.

The agitation morphed to fear. Now she knew what this meant, and she knew they had to leave. They had to leave now.

"No."

She grabbed his arm to stop him, her grip stronger than she realized.

"Not this one. Another tavern. Now."

She was looking into the natural darkness, where the street lamps should be working. She didn't want this one anywhere near Him, didn't want to be near Him herself. She needed to leave, and if he didn't come along...

She kept the grip on his arm as she started walking, fast enough to be a trot but not quite an outright run. Every muscle was tensed in anticipation of a fight or worse. She'd avoided Him for years now; she wasn't about to lose the battle now. If the man didn't come along, she'd simply release him and continue on her way unimpeded. She would find him again, later, if necessary.

Post by Alalia Morrigan on

Alalia’s lips pulled back in a snarl when the fox creature dared to insult her. Her fanged eyeteeth glittered as her eyes narrowed, the bright green reflection shrinking. Not once since her creation had anything dared to insult her as much as this impudent beast had. Every now and then she would come across a particularly stupid human that attempted to taunt her, but they soon fell silent when they realized that they were outmatched. But not this one. He refused to be intimidated by her, when by now all her former prey would have been cowering.

The catgirl wanted to finish what the fox had started. Her head was throbbing, and she was dizzy and felt sick to her stomach. She was relatively sure she had a concussion, but she was beyond caring. The primal part of her that she normally kept locked up was once again fighting to be free, and this time, she willing let it free.

Tossing her sword aside, Alalia sank into a crouch as the steel blade clattered against the cobble stones. Flexing her fingers, she shivered as her claws slid out, enjoying the feel against her flesh. Her tail lashed about behind her as she arched her back, hissing and pressing her ears back against her skull.

Her thoughts were little more than a mess of bloodlust and instinct, as though her more human side was drowning in dark, swirling water. A rumble escaped from deep in her chest, reminiscent of the panther whose blood and bones had been used to create her life. If she had had hackles, they would have been raised.

With a hiss, the catgirl slowly began to circle the fox, remaining on all fours. Most humanoid creatures would have looked odd, almost silly in such a position, but her lean grace and calculating movements made it seem natural. It was extremely rare that she ever allowed herself to sink into such a feral state, but her opponent was obviously nearly an animal, so she might as well be one, too.

Alalia paused briefly in a shadow, her muscles flexing and coiling. Suddenly, claws out and teeth bared, she pounced.

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