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Roleplay:Poacher's Intrigue

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This roleplay is currently Free join. Keep in mind that if I get continuous god-modding and drastic plot-stealing/altering, I will kick the offenders and restrict the RP to those I invite.

Plot

Mobius is home to an immense variety of fauna, many of whom have supernatural properties, such as Elemental manipulation. However, in the wild, there is no such thing as complete safety, and many of these creatures fall prey to an unnatural threat; poachers.

Hunting is not an uncommon practice on Mobius; meat and pelts are valuable, especially to those who live outside of cities and towns. But poachers take things an illegal step further and typically target vulnerable species, killing them either for sport or for monetary gain. They may even capture live specimens and sell them for money. Quite a few species on Mobius have become endangered or close to it thanks to the works of poachers.

Things are not all grim, however; there are many conservationists who have tirelessly fought back against poachers, and have managed to thwart some of their efforts. Unfortunately, there may be a rise in more powerful groups of poachers...

Rules

  1. Stick to the plot. Do not alter it to revolve around your character, do not change it drastically, etc.
  2. No Godmodding. You should all know what this means; no auto-hitting, no random attacks, no constant avoidance of damage, no metagaming, etc.
  3. No Trolling.
  4. No picking random fights with others.
  5. Do not just randomly jump into a scene. Either ask, or build up your arrival accordingly (I.E "Suddenly, such and such and such" or "Meanwhile, somewhere else blah blah blah")
  6. No hogging all the glory.
  7. No controlling other users' characters without their permission.
  8. Put effort in your posts. I mean it; none of this "Person: Shadow Ball! *uses Shadow Ball*" crap.
  • Acceptable method: (Person: Shadow Ball! *charges up a concentrated ball of shadow energy, and then fires it at Person 2*)
  • Preferred method: ("Shadow Ball!" Person yelled. Cupping his hands in front of him, he began charging up a concentrated ball of pure shadows. After a few seconds he threw the ball at Person 2.)

Current Participants

Moderators are the peacekeepers of the RP (their names are in green). Listen to them if they tell you that you broke a rule, and don't throw a hissy pissy fit if they give out constructive criticism on how you RP. Only people that I (Ryushusupercat) absolutely trust get to be moderators.

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  • AwsomeSONICfan
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  • SuperSilverXtreme14
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Banned Users

None so far. Let's keep it that way.

Characters

Heroes

  • T.S.E.P - Played by Ryu and anyone else who owns a character that is a member of this group. A small, nonprofit organization that focuses on environmental concerns.
  • Saren Arcturias - Played by Saren. Not much of a hero, more of an asshole, but still has some interests in keeping poaching down.
  • Rowan the Squirrel - Played by Ryu. A zoologist who is staunchly against poaching.
  • Conner the Squirrel - Played by Ryu.
  • Oak the Mink - Played by Frost. Son of Rowan the Squirrel, he is a typically mild-mannered boy who takes an interst in his father's work.
  • Maple the Mink - Played by Frost. Daughter of Rowan the Squirrel, she is a zany and energetic girl who loves animals and getting into all kinds of mischief.
  • Ice Clan of Kyanos - Played by Ryu and and anyone else who owns a character that is a member of this group.
  • Nature Clan of Mokuhana - Played by Ryu and and anyone else who owns a character that is a member of this group.
  • Miles the Hedgehog - Played by PAS. He has a bag full of devices and wears what appears to be a watch, "Copper Deflector" is printed on it.
  • Siron Von Sand Cat - Played by AwsomeSONICfan. He is a male sand cat but when he is hit by cold water, he turns into Sila the girl.
  • Tundra the Husky - Played by Venom. A young Siberian husky who strongly opposes poaching. She is a cryokinetic and snowboards in her free time.
  • Snow the Arctic Wolf - Played by SuperSilverXtreme14. A young, stubborn and outgoing wolf who is simply out seeking adventure.
  • Cig Danes - Played by Black Silver. An eskimo human that knows how to preform ice-related ninja combos and normal ninja combos.
  • Arid the Shrew - Played by SuperSilverXtreme14. A traveler and able swordsman who is on a long trek through the desert of Soumerca, looking for what, he does not yet know.
  • Simha the Justified Alien - Played by SuperSilverXtreme14. Princess to her people and is strongly against the treatment done to the animal population by poachers.
  • Lea the Arctic Fox - Played by SuperSilverXtreme14. A young, arrogant fox who is searching for her friend and leader, Snow.

Neutral

  • Io the Cat - Played by Lunari64. A quiet, multisouled cat. She isn't interested in tracking down the poachers themselves, but would rather take care of and protect the wildlife.
  • Cooper the Squirrel - Played by Ryu. The cowardly younger brother of Roland the Squirrel, Cooper more often than not acts as unwilling bait for the dangerous creatures his brother hunts.
  • Jared Infiern - Played by Scorp. Someone who is wholey against the hunting of creatures for sport, though wants to get as much mileage out of it before he does something.
  • Willow Infiern - Played by Scorp. Jared's mother and current travel partner. She is here for her son's safety as well as a hobby of animal watching she recently picked up.
  • Zarex the Hyena - Played by Frost. An arrogant and cocky mercenary, he will shoot anything for payment. The question is, is he hunting wildlife, or poachers?
  • Ace the Bionic Wolf -Played By PAS. A confused wolf who is an Ex-Member of a group of poachers who wants to change his ways,He is Kind of antisocial but would like to stop poaching (early on he poaches, but only because he doesn't know other ways to make money.)
  • Justified Alien Species - Played by SuperSilverXtreme14 and anyone who wants to create a character for this group. A friendly alien species that resides in the jungles of Soumerca.
  • Avalaine the Eagle - Despite her allegiance to the Eggman Army, this Soumerca Sub-Boss detests those who would harm the environment or its animals...although it's hard to say that she enjoys working for the Eggman Empire.

Villains

  • Roland the Squirrel - Played by Ryu. A Moebian who only cares about the thrill of big-game hunting and the money he gets for selling the valuable parts of his kills.
  • Saul The Bobcat - Played by Dingu. A former warlord with some cybernetics, he decided to retire to play The Most Dangerous Game. He came to hunt the wildlife and stayed to hunt the conservationists. Oddly enough, he traded most of his lethal weapons for tranquilizers...
  • Xavek - Played by Saren. An alien war droid who runs an arms manufacturing and R&D firm as a front for his schemes to destroy all organic life, he has come to capture some specimens for genetic splicing and cybernetic augmentation. Oddly enough, Xavek seems to find joy in watching these creatures before making his move.
  • The Silver Huntsmen - A powerful, rich and influential mafia-run group that operates all over Mobius. They run an illegal hunting/poaching ring and also sponsor cage fights. Played by anyone who has a character that is a member of this group.
  • NU Moon - Played by Xoph. A mechanically augmented albino Zoroark trapped in this dimension with no way out. She generally hunts wildlife for her own survival, but doesn't mind joining the poachers in their line of work, especially if it means getting a meal out of any conservationists she kills...
  • The Tundra Rogues - Played by SuperSilverXtreme14. A mercenary/hunter type group that doesn't care about who or what they have to hurt or kill as long as they get good pay in the end.
  • Striker the Wolf - Played by SuperSilverXtreme14. Leader of The Tundra Rogues and is in the Frozen Plateau Zone to hunt his prey, Snow, as well as anything else that catches his interest.

Roleplay

Part 1

The Roleplay starts here.

It was mid-day in the jungles of the Mystic Ruins. Two Mobian squirrels were making their way through the dense underbrush; the slightly taller, rust-colored member of the pair was holding what looked like a small tracking device.

"Okay, explain why we're out here again? It feels like a sauna...!" the younger squirrel complained. His older companion frowned but didn't turn to him, instead focusing on the device.

"I told you, we're checking up on the Plumed Sylphs that got microchipped," he said, looking upwards now, towards the trees. Normally they were alive with the sounds and sights of the jungle's rich ecosystem, but today things seemed silent, and that unsettled the rust-colored squirrel. He held the device up, brow furrowed.

"...this isn't right...there should be some kind of signal...!"

This particular stretch of the jungle was home to a colony of Plumed Sylphs...at least, it normally was. But there didn't seem to be any sign of the creatures. This colony in particular had about half of its members microchipped about a month ago by members of G.U.N's Soumercan Wildlife division, to keep track of them, but he wasn't getting any of the microchipped individuals on the radar.

Where were they?

"This isn't good," he mumbled to himself. The two continued walking forward until the older squirrel's tracker started to beep. Ears perking up, he darted forward, following the radar. His companion groaned and took off after him, wiping sweat off his brow.

The radar led them to a clearing; a small creature was huddled up near the base of a tree, seeming to be crouching over something. The rust-colored squirrel's ears drooped.

"Oh no..."

He walked forward slowly, and the creature immediately flared its considerably large (compared to its body) and feathery wings, hissing. The younger squirrel peered over his companion's shoulder.

"Is that a Sylph...?"

He nodded.

"Yeah. A Plumed Sylph..."

But his attention was focused on the form below the defensive Plumed Sylph; it was another Plumed Sylph, but clearly deceased, its wings, antenna and tail having been removed, leaving only bloodied stumps. It's still-living companion was valiantly guarding the body.

"They had to have been mates," he mumbled. A rustling noise came from the Sylph as it rapidly vibrated its wings, as if trying to scare the two squirrels off.

"So is one of them microchipped, then?" the orange-red squirrel asked. The other slowly approached the Plumed Sylph, crouching low to not seem so large to it.

"Yeah...I don't know which one has the chip, though..."

The Sylph hissed and chattered at him again.

Then, whistling and footsteps are heard. Both squirrels turned towards the source of the noise.

"Who's there...??" the older one asked.

It was a yellow lynx wearing a hooded grey trench coat. "Me, I'm just a guy who's on vacation and decided to go off the beaten trail to sightsee. You?"

The Plumed Sylph had also turned towards the lynx, but was refusing to leave the side of its fallen mate. The rust-colored squirrel looked from the Sylph to the lynx, raising an eyebrow.

"Keeping track of Plumed Sylphs that have had microchips implanted into them, but it looks like I've...come too late."

He did his best to hide his disgust; clearly, the creature's death and defilement had sickened him.

Predictably, the lynx didn't show much regard for the defiled corpse. "What's done is done, the only thing you can do is move forward and murder the ones responsible for the act.."

The squirrel frowned, looking irritated.

"One, this is clearly a case of poaching. And two, I'm not about to stoop to their level by committing murder."

"I'd totally kill them," the younger squirrel said, shrugging. His brother glared at him.

"This one gets it." Saren pointed at the younger squirrel. "So you just catch them, get them sent to jail.. Most might have connections or a lot of money so sooner or later they get out, then start the cycle all over again. So why bother with just locking them up when a more permanent solution exists, one that will actually send a message instead being tantamount to a slap on the wrist?"

"Yeah, c'mon Rowan! Let's kill those bastards!"

The rust-colored squirrel, Rowan, stood up and crossed his arms, looking from his brother to the lynx.

"Even if I did want to commit murder, how would I exactly know who was responsible for this? It's not like they'd come out and declare it to the world that they're a poacher!"

"Observation, and as much as I hate to say it, using an extremely rare animal as a sort of bait.."

Rowan rubbed at his chin, deep in thought.

"The rarest thing I can think of is either a Tundra Reaver or a Moon Sylph, but I don't think the Golden Glade Wildlife Sanctuary would let me borrow Kholat for this. And Moon Sylphs can't be found here in Soumerca..."

Conner just shrugged.

"Maybe we can trick them somehow. It's not like they're smart or anything, right?"

"Never underestimate your enemy.. Else you'll never be able to succeed." Saren said sagely.

"I don't think they'd fall for a disguise or anything, anyways," said Rowan, frowning. "They generally have a great deal of knowledge concerning various animal species..."

"One who knows their prey will succeed most often." Saren said, in homage to one Mister Miyagi from the original Karate Kid.

"Wha-...uhh...I guess so," said Conner, scratching the back of his head.

"I don't think we're going to get any answers just standing here," said Rowan. "We'd be better off going to search for them."

"Don't mind if I tag along~" Saren said, pulling out a bottle of gin from his own shadow with a grin.

"Let's go, then," said Rowan, and he started to walk off, followed by Conner.

Saren followed the two, occasionally taking a drink from his bottle of Gin.

The trio had soon walked out of the jungle; they were now at the Mystic Ruins, which had a train station that could take them back to Station Square.

"So, where to first?" Conner asked.

"That, I'm still trying to figure out," Rowan mumbled.

Saren looked around, as if he was hearing footsteps. "Well now... For some reason I smell the scent of nerd and tea.."

Both squirrels stopped, confused.

"What do you mean?" asked Conner.

Part 2

Meanwhile, in the Frozen Plateau Zone of Artika, two other squirrels were trudging through the tundra, dwarfed by the glacial plateaus that gave the Zone its name. They were dressed appropriately for the area, and the slightly smaller squirrel was trying to light up a cigarette. His companion's ears twitched and he turned towards the other, glaring.

"You idiot, the smell's gonna scare the prey off!" he hissed.

"O-Oh, sorry," he mumbled, ears drooping slightly as he closed the lighter and put it away. The two continued walking until they reached the treeline that marked the transition into the Gelid Forest. The rust-colored squirrel grinned.

"This is it," he said, kneeling down and pulling off his backpack, setting it in front of him. He pulled out a reasonably large, black plastic bag and stood up, walking towards a clearer area of the icy forest and opened up the bag, dumping its contents onto the ground; it was a mass of raw, unidentifiable meat. Wadding the bag into a ball, he then backed up and retreated towards a thicker section of trees, roughly pulling his companion with him.

"This would be a lot more fun if I didn't have to worry about that damn Ice Clan," he muttered to himself, crouching down behind the trees. Then he waited, while his companion sighed quietly and leaned back against another tree.

"Now what?" he asked, reaching into the pocket of his hoodie.

"Well, obviously, we wait, little bro," said the other squirrel. "And I swear to the gods, if you try and light up another cigarette right now, I'll skin you alive and use you as bait instead...!"

His voice was a hiss now as he glared at his sibling. The orange-red squirrel immediately pulled his hand away from his pocket as his companion peeked out from behind the tree to observe the pile of raw meat. A lone Frost Imp was sniffing at it.

"Tch, just an Imp," he muttered, going back to hiding. "Not worth the effort."

Suddenly, what looked like a burst of plasma was fired at the Frost Imp.

The noise startled both squirrels, and the Frost Imp just barely managed to leap out of the way, screeching; however, its tail seemed to have gotten scorched by the plasma shot.

"The fuck-"

The rust-colored squirrel peeked out from behind the tree.

Xavek walked into the open. "... Missed.."

"Wh-What the fuck-...who is that...??" the younger squirrel whimpered. The older one frowned and stood up, walking out into the open, towards Xavek.

"Who are you?" he asked, more curious than angry; although there was no denying that he was a bit irritated.

The alien droid looked at the two. "Someone interested in acquiring new test subjects.."

The younger squirrel remained behind the tree, clearly too nervous to come out. The older one crossed his arms.

"Well, I was kind of busy trying to get a Tundra Reaver to take my bait, but it looks like you've already burnt that to a crisp..."

He looked at the scorched, smoking black pile that used to be the bait.

"You're looking for test subjects, though? Interesting..."

He seemed curious about Xavek's motives.

Xavek grinned. "Yes.. Creatures of war, imagine what these creatures could be used for.. provided they are augmented and natural selection weeds out the weak and worthless.." Xavek said, the mad scientist vibe only getting stronger as he spoke.

The squirrel grinned as well; it seemed that Xavek's desires were definitely starting to intrigue him.

"Shit, and all this time I've just been selling their pelts and parts for cash. This is one of the coolest ideas I've ever heard about! The name's Roland, by the way; what's yours?"

The other squirrel finally stepped out as well, with some hesitation.

"Xavek, and you may be the first few organics that I may like.." Xavek held what looked like a grin, something which might be disturbing given his alien nature.

Roland didn't seem to think it was disturbing; however, his brother promptly looked away and instead busied himself with pulling his lighter and a pack of smokes out of his pocket.

"So Xavek, did you find anything interesting so far?" Roland asked.

"Unfortunately, I am no anthropologist or hunter.. So I am admittedly at a loss as to what to start with.." Xavek admitted, albeit reluctantly.

Roland rubbed his chin, as if thinking.

"Well...I do know quite a bit about all the different beasts that Mobius has to offer, so I could probably help you there," he said. "Only problem is, some of the best candidates for your idea are quite rare...but it's possible to start with more common species, yeah?"

"Yes.. But I am also willing to pay a substantial sum of money for the services of experienced hunters to help me.... Acquire these specimens." Xavek said.

"Say no more," said Roland, grinning again. "I'll be glad to help you out on your quest, and I'm sure Cooper will be willing to help, too; right, Coop?"

He turned towards the younger squirrel, looking expectant. Cooper swallowed hard and nodded, his fingers fumbling slightly with his lighter.

"Y-Yeah..."

"Excellent!"

Without warning, a frost arrow whizzed past Cooper's nose, causing him to shriek and immediately jump back, dropping his cigarette in the snow. Roland turned towards him.

"What's wrong now?"

Trembling, Cooper frantically gestured at the frost arrow that was now embedded in the tree near him. Small shards of ice were embedded around the impact site. Frowning, Roland walked towards the arrow, narrowing his eyes as he inspected it.

"....shit."

"What is it..?" Xavek asked, his gauntlets prepping to fire a steady stream of plasma.

"Ice Clan of Kyanos," he said, looking behind him, as if expecting to see a group of Ice Clan soldiers already bearing down on them. "They're basically the self-entitled wildlife protectors of this area...damned killjoys."

A couple more arrows flew at them, with Cooper promptly taking cover behind the nearest tree. Footsteps could be heard crunching in the snow now.

Xavek growled, trying to use his augmented hearing to pinpoint the general direction of where they are coming from.

It sounded like they were coming from the north, possibly 15 feet away as of now.

Xavek aimed both gauntlets in the north before firing condensed shots of plasma, he knew he wouldn't exactly hit anything in the conditions he found himself in but he was at least gonna try and scare them off. 

Indeed, there was startled yelling coming in the general direction that Xavek shot at, and a few figures could be seen darting among the trees, trying to avoid the plasma shot. A male wolf and a female hedgehog, both armed with longbows, revealed themselves by the trees and fired at Xavek and Roland.

"Gods damn it...!"

Roland retreated behind a tree and pulled off his backpack, drawing a rifle out of it. From behind the tree, he took aim at the wolf.

"Say good night, tree-hugger," he hissed, grinning.

Meanwhile, a female cat watched things unfold from a ways off, scouting around after hearing yelling.

Xavek, not being as swift thanks to the weight of his mechanical parts, was forced to tank the shots. Letting out a grunt of pain when the arrows hit before taking aim at the hedgehog.

"Exterminate.."

The hedgehog nocked another arrow onto her longbow, aiming at Xavek once more; more Ice Clan soldiers were beginning to make themselves visible. Roland fired at the wolf, who would've been shot right through the shoulder were it not for his thick leather pauldrons absorbing much of the bullet. His grunt if pain suggested that the bullet still made some contact, however.

Neither Roland nor the Ice Clan soldiers were aware of the female cat's presence; but the latter group was beginning to circle the area, slowly surrounding the clearing. Cooper, who had briefly peeked out from behind his hiding place, was suddenly pinned to the ground by a female lynx wearing a cloak. She drew a dagger out of a hidden sheath as she knelt down, keeping one knee pressed firmly in between his shoulder blades; she then leaned forward to whisper in his ear.

"Struggle and I'll make this worse for you," she hissed. Roland didn't seem to even notice that Cooper had been attacked.

Xavek growled, his left gauntlet starting to alter and change into what looked like a Dragunov which he aimed at the hedgehog, his right optic giving him the variable zoom function of a scope so he would have a better chance of actually hitting the hedgehog.

With Xavek taking the time to alter his gauntlet, the hedgehog was able to fire her arrow at him, having aimed for his face. Roland aimed at the wolf once more, but a shard of ice was fired at him, knocking the rifle out of his hands. A male cacomistle appeared at his right, hands flaring with Ice-Element energy.

Xavek took a step to the right to mitigate the damage that the arrow would do, instead of hitting his eyes the arrow might have left a clean slice through the right side of his forehead.

After taking a few seconds to aim at the Hedgehog's chest region, Xavek fired an extremely condensed beam of plasma from the sniper that lasted for about five seconds before six panels opened up on the side of the weapon and started to vent copious amounts of steam.

She just barely managed to get out of the way, the super-heated beam scorching some of her fur and skin. The steam being released by Xavek's sniper might have started to cloud the area, making vision difficult. The wolf could no longer properly aim at Xavek now.

Roland, meanwhile, had rushed at the cacomistle, who simply condensed the air in front of him to create a frozen barrier, which Roland ended up colliding with.

Xavek used the steam as cover to activate his stealth cloaking before attempting to sneak closer to the Cacomistle who was currently battling Roland. The sounds of the battle should at least dampen his footsteps.

Indeed, the cacomistle had no idea that Xavek was approaching him; he had used his powers to basically lock Roland's hands together in ice.

"Cheap trick...!" the squirrel hissed. The cacomistle just smirked.

"But it works, doesn't it, scumbag?"

When Xavek was close enough to the cacomistle, he swung his right arm at the back of his head with enough force to shatter bone, not counting just how durable the materials his gauntlets were made from.

He was unable to react in time, and the blow caused him to pitch forward, knocked unconscious. Roland stepped back as the cacomistle collapsed, looking over at Xavek.

"Thanks," he said, grinning. "Got tired of lookin' at his smarmy face."

He looked around a bit.

"Where the hell is Cooper?"

About 7 feet away, the lynx still had Cooper pinned to the ground. By now, two other Ice Clan soldiers, a male Mobianized Walrein and a female mouse, had joined up with her.

"We should find him.." Xavek spoke, before going to thaw out Roland's hands with his still warm sniper rifle.

"Thanks," he said again, stretching both hands after they were thawed out. "Yeah, not a good idea to leave him behind..."

He turned around, unknowingly facing the direction where the lynx had Cooper captive.

"Cooper! Where the hell are ya??" he called out. The lynx frowned a bit and looked down at the squirrel.

"Hmph. This must be Cooper."

Standing up, she hauled him upright as well, and dragged him into the open, where Roland could see them.

"Is this the squirrel you're looking for?" she called out. Roland blinked.

"Uhh, yes, I'd like him back, please," he said. The lynx pointed to the area behind him, where the unconscious cacomistle was still laying.

"Give my comrade back and we'll talk."

"What's to say you won't try killing us when we release him..?" Xavek asked.

"Oh, believe me, we'd love to get rid of you poacher scum the satisfying way, but allies come first," she said, her expression stony. "Now, bring him over here, and you'll have your friend back."

She maintained a surprisingly strong hold on the visibly shaken Cooper.

"But if you don't leave after the trade, we will kill you. Understand?"

Roland frowned a bit.

"Alright, then," he said. He walked over to the unconscious cacomistle and hefted him upright, grunting.

"Alright.." Xavek muttered. "How sentimental you organics are.. A weakness that I'll be able to exploit."

Roland managed to haul the cacomistle over towards the group before letting him drop unceremoniously into the snow. Smirking slightly, the lynx shoved Cooper into Roland quite hard, making the older squirrel stumble backwards. The Walrein then picked up the cacomistle, hefting him over his shoulder before turning and departing, along with the female mouse.

"Now, leave," said the lynx to Xavek, Roland and Cooper; there were still plenty of other Ice Clan soldiers watching from the trees, including the wolf and hedgehog archers.

"Alright.." Xavek chuckled before going to leave.

Frowning, Roland turned to leave as well, practically dragging the still shaken Cooper with him. The Ice Clan soldiers remained where they were, to make sure the intruders actually left as they were instructed.

"Any other hunting grounds..?" Xavek whispered to Cooper.

"Gh-...h-how am I supposed to know...?!" he hissed back, still not exactly trusting Xavek. Roland chuckled a bit.

"Did that lynx really leave you such an anxious mess, Coop?"

"Well, she kind of did have a dagger on her...!"

Roland just shook his head.

"Anyways, that place was one of the only areas Tundra Reavers could reliably be found, sadly," he said, answering Xavek's question in Cooper's stead. "Buuut, if you're not too picky on what you find, there's a lot of places here in Artika to find Frost Imps, Tizheruks and Tundra Catoblepi; and with no annoying idiots to get in the way, either!"

"I'm not picky, as long as I get results.." Xavek answered him. "Though, if I must deal with those ice users again I'd prefer it with an army of their own native beasts."

Roland barked a laugh.

"Poetic justice! I love it!" he said, before coming to a sudden halt; they were up on a bit of a hill now, and he pointed forward.

"I knew it," he said, grinning. They had come across a herd of Tundra Catoblepi, about fifteen of them; here, there was less snow, and while there was quite a plentiful amount of grasses and shrubs, they were too tough for most creatures to bother eating.

"I'd prefer live Specimens.. But cadavers work just as well." Xavek whispered to Roland.

Roland shrugged a bit.

"Getting them alive would probably be the easiest option, actually; they're really hard to kill."

"Good." Xavek replied.

The Tundra Catoblepi didn't yet seem to be aware of their presence, and Roland started to walk forward.

Xavek watched and waited.

Roland seemed to be contemplating the situation as he slowly walked towards the Catoblepi. One of them lifted its head and looked towards Roland, snorting; he stopped in his tracks.

"......."

Meanwhile, Xavek was recording these events for future study by using his optics as video cameras.

The Catoblepas, an adult female, turned so her body was facing Roland, those massive horns pointing right at him. The squirrel held his ground, but knew better than to try and get closer.

"Oooh, you don't like me, do you?" he asked, chuckling a bit. The creature seemed to glare at him, as if daring him to step closer. Backing up slightly, Roland knelt down and pulled off his backpack, rummaging through it.

'Now what could he be doing..?' Xavek thought to himself.

The squirrel's expression quickly became one of frustration, however.

"Fuck...gods damn it, I forgot to bring them...!!"

At that point, the Catoblepas must've decided that she was sick of Roland being there, and suddenly charged at him; it was actually a feint, as she stopped short of where he had been kneeling, but it was enough for him to panic and jump out of the way of those formidable horns.

Xavek, however, reacted by firing his plastech gauntlets at the Catoblepas who charged at Roland.

He ducked and took cover as the gauntlets were fired, which ended up colliding with her incredibly sturdy horns. She bellowed in anger, which got the attention of the rest of her herd, who turned towards Xavek, Roland and Cooper.

"Oh fuck..."

Roland scooped up his backpack and scampered off as the healthy adults of the herd formed a defensive wall, shielding their more vulnerable comrades.

Xavek blinked. "Well..." Both of his gauntlets started to change. With plates and rivets moving around until the ends of the gauntlets looked like the rotary barrels of a minigun.

The Catoblepi held their ground, snorting and pawing at the frozen dirt in agitation.

Xavek aimed at the Catoblepi, watching as the two rotary barrels heated up before firing a continuous volley of plasma shots at the herd.

Meanwhile, back in the Frozen Plateau Zone, a sudden shield of magic energy went up around the herd, protecting them from some of Xavek's shots.

Xavek's optics widened. "What!? Who interferes!?" He nearly shouted. He was rather shocked and pissed at the fact that someone had the stones to interfere.

The Catoblepi seemed shocked as well, and looked around themselves, rumbling and snorting.

Xavek's left gauntlet began to shift and whirr until a purple plasma mace was produced.

The female cat from earlier walked out into open view, holding a wooden staff in her hand. The magic barrier slowly started to fade.

Xavek immediately opened fire on the female cat with his right gauntlet while walking towards her.

The girl tried to dodge, but got hit on the shoulder. She winced, getting hit with most of the shots.

As they were plasma, they would leave a few nasty burns.

Xavek continued firing as he was moving towards the girl. "Die!!"

At this point, a few of the Catoblepi started to charge forward, trying to move themselves in between Xavek and the girl, as if to shield her.

When he saw this, he couldn't help but smirk. If these animals were willing to shield the cat then it made the task of killing them all the more easier. So with the last thirty seconds before the plasma minigun overheated, Xavek focused fire on the Catoblepi who moved to shield the cat. 

"Please, no! Run!" The girl said to the Catoblepi, sounding desperate. She didn't want them to get hurt. She put up another shield around them, but this one was weaker. It would probably break if Xavek shot at it enough. 

They didn't seem willing to budge, but eventually, one of the males bellowed out to his comrades,; most of them retreated and began to move the vulnerable members of the herd away from the scene. The male, a big, relatively young adult, remained at the girl's side; the only other one who remained was the older female that had attacked Roland.

Xavek grinned as his gauntlet overheated and he slowly charged the remaining Catoblepi with his plasma mace crackling with violet colored plasma.

The male bellowed again and once more put himself in between Xavek and the girl. Cooper and Roland watched from atop the hill.

Xavek swung the plasma mace at the male, extending it as needed to help in trying to kill the creature.

As expected, the Catoblepas was incredibly durable, and barely flinched when the plasma mace crashed against the steel-hard plating on his head. Bellowing, he swung his head at Xavek, trying to strike him with his horns. The unarmored portions of his body were still quite durable, but most likely more vulnerable to his weapon...

Xavek had to tank the hit, though his body being made of alien alloys did help, he was pushed back a bit. This time, Xavek swung the plasma mace at the front legs of the Catoblepas.

Being far too slow to dodge, the Catoblepas grunted in pain as the plasma mace crashed against his knees, causing him to crumple forward, his heavy body hitting the ground with a thud. He tried to get back up, but his front legs seems too damaged. The female then charged forward at Xavek, head low so she could slam him with her horns.

Given that there was distance between Xavek and the female Catoblepas, Xavek managed to move out of the way, if only barely. The female did manage to score a solid blow on Xavek's left gauntlet.

Depending on how strong that charge was, Xavek's left gauntlet would have a nice dent in it and be rendered broken.

While relying more on sheer bulk and power instead of speed, the charge still would definitely have destroyed Xavek's left gauntlet, but left him unharmed otherwise. The male was still trying to get back up.

Xavek growled. "Cooper! Roland! Fire at the downed male!" He shouted before going to swing the plasma mace at the females rib area. Although her forelegs were sort of in the way, the blow still connected; she was too heavy for it to stagger her, but it was clear that it hurt, and it left a rather nasty plasma burn, as well.

"No!!!" The girl shouted, in protest. She got back onto her feet, and desperately threw herself between the male and Roland and Cooper.

At this time, Roland had already pulled out his rifle once more, and was going to aim at the male Catoblepas when the girl jumped in his way. The look on Cooper's face suggested he wanted to do something to stop Roland, but was too afraid.

"That willing to die, eh?" Roland growled.

He fired.

Xavek went to wrap his arms around the female, using the augmented strength to try and lift her up so he could attempt to pull a bane.

Unfortunately for Xavek, this resulted in her attempting to beat the ever-loving shit out of him with her forelegs. Lifting what was basically 1,000 lbs. would be a bit harder with that happening.

The bullet lodged in the girl's shoulder. She collapsed, in pain. Despite this, she used her good arm, to draw another rune, a small healing spell for the male Catoblepas. When she was finished, the male's front legs started to heal, hopefully just enough for him to get away. "Run!" She said, sounding pained.

"Annoying little-"

Roland started to walk down the hill, clearly intent on finishing her off. The male Catoblepas was able to stand up now, and looked down at her, clearly distressed.

To be fair, Xavek is like an alien tank in a power suit, but it was kinda hard. So he resorted to a rather distasteful tactic of literally biting her with the jagged teeth of his face mouth.

She bellowed in pain and anger as his teeth locked around her left foreleg, threatening to pierce her thick, durable skin. She used her other foreleg to try and hit him again.

Xavek started shaking his head, enduring the hits and squeezing his jaws tighter, not letting go until something broke.

She then attempted to simply crush him under her bulk; if he was so focused on biting, he might not be that focused on trying to keep her lifted up.

The cat girl hissed at Roland. "How dare you! Hurting these innocent creatures is unforgivable."

Roland smirked, still holding his rifle.

"Sorry, girl, but this line of work pays good money," he said, taking aim at her once more. He didn't count on being interrupted by none other than Cooper, however. The younger squirrel had suddenly tackled Roland from behind, making the two topple over. A brief scuffle ensued, but Roland was far stronger than his brother, and he overpowered him.

"YOU FUCKING-"

Roland struck Cooper with the butt of his rifle, making him stagger back into the snow.

"Miserable bastard...you always were a soft little weakling, weren't ya?!"

The older squirrel pointed his rifle at Cooper and fired point-blank, into his skull.

The girl gasped. "Come on Airion, I can take this freak." "No. Not with a bad arm." "But!-" "Quiet." She struggled to get up, but the second she moved her bad arm, she buckled, and collapsed onto the ground again. She was helpless. She looked up at the male Catoblepas. "Go. Get out of here. They're here for you, not for me." She said, quietly.

Xavek growled, feeling her weight, so with the last of his physical reserves he tossed the female off of him. Though the effort ended up breaking a few servos in his right arm and left leg.

"... We retreat for now. I'll need to repair this body.." Xavek spoke between metallic coughs.

Roland frowned a bit, but backed off, glancing down at Cooper's body.

"Guess I'll seeya later, bro," he said, kicking a bit of snow onto the corpse.

Xavek groaned, moving with noticeable difficulty. "Two servos are broken.. But I do have a sample." Xavek spoke, referring to the blood that may have spattered on his zig-zagged mouth when he bit into the critter.

Roland nodded.

"Nice, we can still get something out of that. Not that I know anything about DNA splicing..."

Both the male and female Catoblepi glared at the two as they left; neither of them had left the cat's side.

The girl tried to stand, and managed to get back up. After drawing herself a small healing rune to dull the pain of the bullet wound, she looked at the two Catoblepi. "Thank you so much, my friends." She said, gratefully. She then looked at Cooper, in regret. This was her fault. If she hadn't jumped in the way...

The two Catoblepi looked from her to Cooper, unsure of what to do. If they could speak, there's no doubt they'd be equally grateful for her intervention, however; it showed in their eyes.

The girl smiled at the two Catoblepi. "Go on now. Your friends might be worried about you." She said, with a soothing tone.

The two nodded, and turned around to slowly amble away.

Back with Roland and Xavek...

"You have any safehouses..?" Xavek asked.

"Don't worry, there's a well-hidden place we can go to recuperate. The place is run by other poachers who have considerably more influence than me, we'll be safe there."

"Good.. From there I'll be able to repair my body and use the blood for the first of my experiments.."

Roland led Xavek to a fairly unassuming building sitting in the middle of the icy wastes.

"This is good.. Now I just need time, and maybe some of those thin tubes to place the blood in."

"I'm sure we'll be able to find something like that," said Roland as he walked to the front door. He knocked on it, and a thin panel slid open, revealing a pair of eyes.

"Who's there?" asked a voice.

"It's me, Roland."

The eyes roved over to Xavek.

"And, uhh...who's that?"

"Don't worry, he's a friend."

"...very well."

The door, a fairly solid steel one, finally opened with a slow creak. A Mobian fox wearing winter-appropriate attire was standing there.

"Alright, get in before you freeze."

Xavek walked inside. The fox shut the door behind them, and Roland led Xavek deeper into the building.

"Most of the place is underground," he said. "The upper building actually fronts as a guard post."

"Secure.. I like it."

The fox had followed Roland and Xavek down into the lower levels.

"So, uhh...who is this guy?" he asked, addressing Roland.

"A friend with very interesting ideas..."

"Really?"

"Xavek, and my plan is to splice and augment some of the native beasts to create new and horrifying beasts.. Of course I plan on setting the first wave of these new creations loose on the Ice Clan. After all, how ironic would it be for them to die by the very creatures they protect?"

"A geneticist!" the fox said, looking quite fascinated. "I think you're the first person like that who's ever shown up. You say you're going to splice creatures? Maybe you should talk to Boris; he's the head trainer here, and he helps manage the creatures we have fight in the Arena. I'm sure he'd be interested."

"I will, but tell me.. What manner of creature does this Boris have?" Xavek asked, this could potentially cut down on the search time for the more exotic and rarer creatures he may need.

"Oh, he has a lot," said the fox. "Tizheruks, Frost Imps, a couple of Land Sharks, Frost Hounds, a couple Tundra Catoblepi, although those are mostly used to haul things around...he even managed to get a hold of a couple of Tundra Reavers!"

"Perfect..! Where is this Boris?" Xavek chuckled, very pleased with this turn of events.

"Follow me," said the fox, moving to lead the way. "He should be further down, in the kennels."

The fox eventually led Xavek and Roland into a huge room with a myriad of enclosures large and small. A few Mobians were in there, as well as a Mobianized Stantler. The fox walked over to the Stantler.

"Boris, there's someone who wants to see you! I think you'll be interested in what he has to say."

The Mobianized Stantler, Boris, turned around, frowning.

"What is it, Matvei?" he said, sounding slightly irritated; he seemed to have a hint of a Russian accent. He looked over at Roland and Xavek now.

"Who...is this?" he asked, gesturing at Xavek.

"Xavek, a geneticist if you will." He introduced himself.

"A geneticist?" Boris rubbed his chin. "Interesting...if you've come to me, then surely you must have some interest in the creatures we keep here, da?"

"Yeah."

"Hmm...come over here," he said, gesturing for Xavek to follow him. He walked over to a fairly large cage, that held a single adult female Tizheruk. Fierce yellow eyes glared at the two as they approached.

"Now, I'm curious; what do you see when you look at this beast? Like, what do you feel you could do with it?"

"I see the parts to something faster, stronger, more vicious! As to what I could do.. Well, right now not much.. With its DNA however.. I could splice its genome with another creature.. Altering its traits.. But I will need time and blood samples." Xavek spoke after examining the Tizheruk.

"After all.. Genetic modification is no easy feat, not too mention I don't want anyone finding out about this.. That could delay my efforts and quite possibly ruin my plot before it even begins..."

Boris laughed.

"You'd be surprised at how much The Silver Huntsmen can get away with," he said. "Those fools from G.U.N can barely track us! And we have runners all over the globe, monitoring our enemies."

Xavek took some time to process what Boris said. "Good, though per chance, what manner of beasts do you have currently?"

"I'm glad you asked; I'll show you," he said, motioning for Xavek to follow him.

"Apart from one of the three Tizheruks you've just seen, we also have a few Land Sharks, quite a few Frost Imps, some Frost Hounds, a couple of Tundra Catoblepi, and, our pride and joy; two Tundra Reavers."

"I require a blood sample of the Tizheruk, Land Shark and the Tundra Reaver.." Xavek said, already salivating at the chance to play god.

Boris nodded.

"Very good."

He called over a male quail and a female polar bear, the former of whom was holding a long, thin pole, and the latter holding a small case. He instructed the two of them to take position next to the Tizheruk's cage.

"Now, watch this."

With a sharp rap against the bars of the cage, Boris got the creature's attention. As this happened, his antlers began to glow brightly, and the Tizheruk seemed transfixed. The quail and the polar bear worked together to angle the pole into through the bars and get a blood sample from the creature.

Boris and the two repeated the process with the Land Shark and the Tundra Reaver. The three blood samples were then put into their own vials, and labeled as such.

"Easy as that, da?"

"Hypnosis..? Interesting..." Xavek murmured, somehow grabbing the vials using the weird slot like spots on his gauntlets.

"I suppose you could call it that," said Boris, chuckling.

"Now.. I'll need time, a lab and silence so I can start my experiments."

"We do have a lab, in fact. Follow me," said Boris; the quail and polar bear were standing off to the side now, talking about who-knows-what.

Xavek followed Boris.

"It's not exactly the most impressive lab, but it should be sufficient, da?"

The lab was of a decent size, and well-furnished with a great deal of the necessary equipment and tools.

Xavek inspected the equipment. "It's.. Satisfactory for my purposes.." He finally spoke, three helper drones rezzing themselves next to Xavek and taking the samples.

"The process is lengthy, but it will be well worth it.." Xavek told Boris before getting to work.

Boris smiled and nodded.

"Excellent. I will leave you to your work, then," he said, leaving the room.

Xavek chuckled. "Excellent.." He said as he continued his work.

Part 3

After Saren and the two squirrels left the jungle for the Ruins, a hunter walked up to the now knocked out sylph that tried in vain to guard its deceased mate. The hunter slung his tranquilizer rifle over his shoulder and grabbed the unconscious creature. With the precision of a surgeon, he removed the tracking chip on its neck and crushed it underfoot. Once finished, he put the sylph in a large backpack hidden under a giant grey wolf pelt.

"Another one for the matches. I assume the trio will lead me to more." He said to himself, but then looked at his pelt cape/hood. "I hope the trains don't have a dress code."

Back in the Mystic Ruins Train Station, Rowan and Conner were getting ready to board it.

Saren, of course, followed the two.

Saul followed from a distance, making sure he was out of sight as they waited to board.

Rowan seemed to be deep in thought once more.

Saren yawned. "Damn, I need a nap.." 

A green hedgehog walked into the station,wearing a bag and a black watch. The hedgehog's eyes darted across the room as if he was looking for something,he also seemed a bit tired.The hedgehog pulled a small orange pocket watch out of the bag than glanced at it,than stuffing it back into the bag. 

His eyes once again darted across the room, pausing a little when he heard a beep from his black watch. 

The green hedgehog said "Copper is in range,Is that the train or some other thing?"

On a nearby bench, a tall flame woman and a small violet being sit together, talking to one another and going over some sort of plan. "So we infiltrate wherever they're keeping the animals, release them, and just be done?" the older one asks, a bit unconvinced. "Precisely, mother. If any complications should arise, you know what I can do," the smaller one says, with more confidence than his mom. His mother, trying to muster up some form of optimism, simply says to herself "Well, on the bright side, I guess this can count as animal-watching."

The Green hedgehog's black watch irritatingly started beeping loudly,the green hedgehog hit a "vibrate" button on the watch.

The green hedgehog said "Why is there such a high concentration of copper? does anyone have a jar of pennies or something?"

the hedgehog's fur appeared to have a small reddish tint for a second,blackish at the tips of his spikes. he looked a little nervous than turned a nob on his watch,than he calmed down. he muttered "This setting was only for when i needed to use copper in a machine but it also works for this problem."

The train then arrived.

Saren walked on the train. Rowan and Conner followed him.

The green hedgehog also went on the train,his eyes darted across the train before he sat in a seat near the three.

The green hedgehog pulled a notepad out of his bag labeled "Miles's Nature Notepad AKA M.M.N" the label was very visible until he grabbed a pencil and opened it to write something down before stuffing it back into his bag. than he mumbled "those stupid poachers...".

The violet child and his mother board the train a bit after the others. Sitting away from the others, they continue to talk. "Jared, I have full faith in your decision-making usually, but this just does not seem like it will work," the flame woman says to her son. "Be patient, mother. I understand where you're coming from, but please wait before judging," Jared replies.

Saren headed towards the back before lying down in his seat and closing his eyes.

Rowan and Conner sat down next to Saren, near the green hedgehog as well.

Saul boarded and didn't move too far from the entrance, making sure to keep his back to Saren.

The green hedgehog pulled out a mapping device out of his bag it was easy for Saul Saren Rowan and Conner to peek at the device. he was mapping recent poaching reports to try to find out where they might hit next, with only one hedgehog he couldn't actually know which way of a few they were going to take.

"Arrrg!" the hedgehog exclaimed.

The green hedgehog pulled a mobile device out of his bag and checked the internet, for where the poachers may be heading. There was a report on poaching kind of nearby,he could get to if he hurried when he got off the train; but it didn't match up with the data on the mapping device.

"What the heck? how did they get there?" confused he gave up for now and stuffed the mapping device and the mobile device into his bag.

Rowan and Conner didn't pay much mind to the hedgehog for now.

On the far back of the train, a female husky reads a sports magazine, paying no mind to the others. She brushes a loose hair away and closes the magazine, taking a quick nap.

Eventually, the train came to a stop, in Station Square.

Saren ended up rolling off his sleep and faceplanting on the floor. "Owww.." Saren groaned, still half asleep.

Jared and his mother stand up to begin walking (or in his mother's case levitating) out of the train, passing by the others. His mother decides to help the fallen lynx by trying to psychic-lift him off of the ground and back on his feet.

Saren blinked, feeling himself being psychically lifted on to his feet. "Thanks.." He turned to look at Jared's mother.

"It's nothing, I'm happy to help." she replies. "My name is Willow, what is yours?" she asks Saren. Before she can get an answer, Jared shouts from outside the train "Come on, mother, we're going to be late." "Oh, sorry," Willow says. "I'll ask later, if we see eachother again of course," she says to Saren before rushing out. "Coming, sir."

"Oh, the train stopped," said Conner, standing up and stretching a bit. He looked over at Rowan, who seemed distracted.

"Bro, c'mon, the train stopped," he said.

"Huh? Oh, right," he mumbled, getting up as well and following his younger brother off the train.

Saren sighed, walking off the train. 

Saul followed the three off, keeping an eye on his former colleague Saren. He could have sworn there was some rumbling in his backpack where the sylph was, but he elected to ignore it.

Conner and Rowan were both unaware of Saul's presence.

Saren yawned. "My nap was interrupted q~q"

The green hedgehog stepped off the train,his eyes darted around before pulling out the mapping device, checking it, and stuffing it into his bag. "Hmmm... what?" his watch from before beeped like before the hedgehog tapped the watch than said "Something around here has high copper composition..."

Rowan stopped and looked around.

"Conner, didn't you say your friend Dirk was going to be accompanying Oak and Maple here to meet up with us?"

"Yeah."

"Well, where is he? A big St. Bernard can't be hard to miss..."

"Uhh..."

"DAD!!" two familiar voices shouted in unison. Just as Rowan would turn to see his kids, he would be greeted with a double helping of a bear hug from the two minks.

Oak was wearing a baseball cap with a maple leaf on the front, a dark green t-shirt with a blue backpack, brown pants, and blue sneakers.

Maple was wearing something a little more vibrant. She was wearing a large, bright periwinkle sweater with her name spelled out on the front in neon colors. The sweater came down to just above her knees, and she was wearing a pair of green shorts. She was also wearing white sneakers.

Rowan grunted as his two children leaped into him, staggering slightly. He laughed a bit.

"Thank goodness; I was starting to get worried!"

A fairly tall (about four feet) St. Bernard soon followed, waving at the two squirrels.

"Sorry we took so long, Rowan. The place was more crowded than we thought."

"That's why I almost never ride trains.. Then again I could just float everywhere I go." Saren cracked, looking at the St. Bernard.

".... Holy hell, I bet it takes a lotta hay to keep this one fed." Saren muttered, a slightly surprised look on his face when he noted the height difference between the two.

The St. Bernard, Dirk, thankfully didn't hear him. Rowan was still hugging his two children.

Saul kept his eyes on the two squirrels as well as Saren, keeping into the crowds. If Saren noticed him, he was sure his cover would be blown. The rumbling of the sylph in his backpack was no longer his imagination though. The sylph was awake, and it wanted out. In response, the bobcat punched his backpack, hoping he would shut the creature up, only to aggravate it more. He sighed deeply and used his cape/pelt to cover the pack.. His only choice now was to come up with a cover story, if anyone cared to notice his backpack trying to fly off.

Part 4

Back in Frozen Plateau Zone, a large, strange creature looms over Cooper's corpse. It is NU Moon, a white Zoroark with black hair, yellow eyes, and silver accents. However, her right eye, ear and knee, as well as her left arm and foot are mechanical, and her body is riddled with cuts and scars. She sniffs at the deceased squirrel and- detecting no possible threats- starts to devour him, piece by piece.

"Heh. Haven't had something this big in a while..." she said in a raspy, slightly robotic voice as she gnawed on the corpse's forearm, cold blood soaking into the fur around her mouth.

The eyes of the "corpse" slowly began to open, and the squirrel groaned.

"Ugh...what th-"

He felt a sudden pain shooting through his arm and he yelped, attempting to tug the wounded limb away from whatever was attacking it.

"WHAT THE-"

He then looked over at the Zoroark, and yelped in shock.

The Zoroark screamed, dropping the formerly deceased's arm and instinctively shoving him back a few feet. After a brief moment she stood up and walked over to Cooper, picking him up by the neck with her robotic arm.

"Hmph. You must be pretty stupid, thinking you can trick me like that and survive..." she said, an angry growl present in her voice, "So unless you know of something better for me to eat, I'll just have to try again with you..." She began forcefully squeezing Cooper's neck, intent on crushing it if he doesn't reply.

Cooper gasped and tried to pry her robotic claw off of his neck, to no avail.

"I-I wasn't trying to trick you, h-honest!" he wheezed, squirming. He grunted in pain as she squeezed his throat.

"L-Look, I'm not w-worth eating, I'm scrawny and stringy...! Th-there's plenty of wildlife in the forest around here! R-Really, there is...!!"

His words only made her tighten her grip as she looked upon him with eyes of rage, her body becoming tense with anger as she thought there was something larger at hand. But once she looked into his eyes, she saw the fear and anguish that encompassed him, and a memory of her abusive father washed over her. Her body suddenly loosened as she dropped Cooper to the snowy ground, she herself collapsing to her knees.

"Yeah. Well... there was," she said with a heavy breath, "All that's left is either too little to bother with, too tough for me to kill alone in my current condition, or under the protection of those armed lunatics." She looked over at the squirrel and sighed. "I'm starving out here. I'm alone, and I'm afraid. And I'm going to do anything I can to keep myself alive..." Her words were sincere, sorrowful even, as she turned and faced the frozen tundra.

Cooper grunted as he was dropped, landing on his back. Groaning a bit, he sat up, rubbing the back of his head as he looked up at the cyborg Zoroark. He felt pity for her, despite the fact that she had tried to eat him earlier. He knew what it was like to feel alone and afraid, after all.

"L-Look," he said, climbing to his feet. "I don't know what could be found here, but there's a place in Soumerca, called Station Square. There's all kinds of shops selling all kinds of food there...! There's a ferry that goes from here to there, we can use that!"

"No. Too far, too much time," she said after a moment of thought, "Is there any where closer to here? Within running distance maybe?" Her tone made it sound like she was hiding something, but it was impossible to tell behind her vocal filter.

"Well...wait! There is a village in the forest! Well, there's two of them, but one of them belongs to the Ice Clan; you know, those armed lunatics you mentioned."

He started to walk towards the edge of the Gelid Forest.

"The other village is a lot more hospitable, though; I'm sure they'd be willing to help!"

"Yes..." she said slowly, a evil thought traversing her mind, but was quickly interrupted when she noticed him leaving. She hastily got back on her feet and followed behind him, a heavy WHIR being emitted by the motor in her knee.

"Well, you could at least take me there..." a hint of pain was present in her voice as she clutched her abdomen with her right arm, "...because I don't think I'll be able to survive the trip alone..."

He stopped and walked back over to her.

"I could support you on the way there," he said, offering his shoulder for her to lean on. "And I do have some money on me, so I can buy food for you, too."

"Th-Thanks... kid..." She said slowly as she leaned on the squirrel, her labored breathing becoming very apparent. "You know, I've never really had... friends... is this what it's like?" She inquired, her voice becoming slightly distorted, "If so, than remind me not to make any more."

A grey figure emerges from the Gelid Forest, it appears to be a cyborg-mobian wolf, the figure seems very tired, as it approaches it is confirmed to be a cyborg-wolf. the wolf heard saying "Poaching is the one way I know to make money, it is also the WORST way to do it."

Cooper stopped when he noticed the wolf, instinctively being suspicious of this stranger. He was still supporting the cyborg Zoroark.

"Yeah, and I have twenty-three minutes before I die of starvation," the Zoroark said to the cyborg-wolf with a blank expression before turning back to Cooper.

"Let's go," she said to her support, tugging him as an indication to start walking.

"Uhh, r-right," said Cooper, resuming his rather slow, careful walk.

The Wolf seemed to have heard the Zoroark because he opened a bag and took out some fish than said "uhhh... if you need food, i have a couple fish, i already cooked them...". the wolf started approaching Cooper and the Zoroark. 

Moon's head snapped in the direction of the wolf the second he mentioned fish, silently staring down the other cyborg with an intimidating glare. She didn't even breath, as she was diverting all of her brain-power to studying the wolf's movements. One wrong move, and she would attack. 

Cooper seemed to stiffen up slightly, out of fear that there would be a confrontation between the wolf and the Zoroark.

The wolf reached them than stopped and gave the Zoroark the fish, he than noticed she was watching his movements and backed up about three feet.

She slowly grabbed the fish with her right hand, her eyes still fixated on the wolf. The moment he backed away, she savagely tore into the fish, ripping it to shreds with her maw. All that remained of the fish was bones, and even some of those were missing.

The wolf turned a little to the direction of the Gelid Forest. "Look, there's one way I know how to make some decent money: poaching- essentially murdering wild animals. I still poach, but it's not because I want to, it's because I don't really know what is okay to kill or not, well I know of some fish that are fine to hunt- like the ones I gave to you..." he paused then pointed at the Zoroark before continuing "...but you cant get everything only from some fish, you need a lot of them for some decent cash."

"Trust me," Moon said after hearing the wolf's speech, "I know plenty about poachi-" she then sensed something that caught her attention. She turned back towards the frozen tundra and saw what it was.

A large snowstorm, and it was coming fast.

"How far away is that village?" she frantically asked Cooper.

"Uhh....t-ten minutes if we walk, faster if we run...?"

He too had seen the howling blizzard approaching them, like an arctic wraith of titanic scale.

"Y-Yes, I think we should run!"

The wolf faced the blizzard and started digging fast.

The cat girl from before, known as Io, started running away from the blizzard, desperately.

Moon was already dashing into the forest on all-fours before Cooper had finished, her servos roaring as she fled.

Cooper then turned and ran as well, following Moon.

After a short while of running, Io's path met up with Cooper and Moon's. She looked at Cooper, shocked that he was alive.

Cooper just then noticed Io, and seemed just as shocked; he remembered her from earlier.

"Uhh...h-hi."

Io waved to him, but didn't say anything. She started to run faster.

He glanced behind him to see that the blizzard was starting to reach the forest, swathes of snow crashing against the trees.

"SH-"

Io looked at the snowstorm with a bewildered stare, but kept running, knowing it was her only choice.

Moon looked back at the storm, but then had a realization, 'Wait a minute... snowstorms... they're just horizontal avalanches! This'll be easy.'

With that she flipped herself around, snow crunching under her feet as she landed, now facing the wall of snow. She started charging a dark energy around her arms, raising them up as the storm approached. But just as the snowstorm was about to hit, she struck the ground, releasing her Dark Aura into the mass of snow and ice, halting it in it's track.

Io backed up quite a ways from Moon as she did this, seemingly startled by the dark energy she was using. Dark energy could really throw her off.

As the mass of snow slowly dissipated and fell to the ground, Moon stayed where she stood, breathing heavily. She then quickly turned, glaring at Io. And in what seemed like an instant, Moon had gripped Io by the face with her mechanical arm, raising her off the ground.

"Who are you?" Moon asked sternly.

"Wh-Whoa, whoa, w-wait!" Cooper yelped, frantically getting in between the two the best he could.

Io tried to struggle out of Moon's firm grip. "I-I'm Io...." She choked out. "Please, I don't want to f-fight."

The Zoroark brought Io close to her face and stared into her eyes, determining whether the words were lies. After deeming her truthful, and assessing her as low-threat, Moon angrily sighed and dropped the cat.

Io fell, coughing, but got back up soon after. She smiled slightly, relieved that the misunderstanding was over with.

"S-So, uhh...what now?" Cooper asked, looking nervously from Moon to Io. He really wanted a smoke, but felt it'd be a bad idea to do it in front of these two.

"Now," Moon started," Now we find that village." She sniffed the air, something seeming to grasp her attention, "I think I have a lead." She sniffed the air again, before starting moving westward.

Looking nervous, Cooper quickly followed after the Zoroark. He had seen multiple times now how quick she was to anger; what if someone actually got hurt the next time? Not that he wanted her to get hurt either, but Chilly Village had a distinct lack of combat-capable Mobians...as far as he knew, at least.

Io followed the two of them as well, unsure of where they were headed but content to follow. She wanted to talk to Cooper. "Well, my friend. Sorry for not introducing myself earlier. Anyways, what's your name?" She asked, very friendly.

"Uhh...C-Cooper," he said, rubbing his shoulders a bit; it was a lot colder than he realized. "L-Listen, I...I'm sorry about you almost getting killed earlier. My brother, he's...well...he's a bastard."

Of course, he would not dare to say that to Roland's face.

Io seemed to understand. "You saved my life. Thank you so much." She said, gratefully. "My name's Io."

The squirrel smiled sheepishly, rubbing the back of his head.

"No problem...I mean, it's not like I stay dead, anyways...still not fun to die, though..."

He quietly regarded her words for a few seconds.

"Io...that's a nice name."

"Why, thank you..." Io replied, somewhat shyly. She was curious about his brother Roland as well, hut she didn't want to pry or be a bother. However, her curiosity showed in her eyes, as she looked at Cooper.

Cooper, however, really wasn't sure at all what she seemed so curious about, so he brushed it off as the small group made their way to Chilly Village.

(Ryu-Wait, is Moon going to Chilly Village or the Ice Clan village?)

Moon kept walking, only stopping briefly to look back on the other two before continuing her path. She began assessing their usefulness and realized she didn't need them; and so started thinking of a good way to rid of them.

(Chilly -Xoph)

Somewhere else, Snow awoke to hearing foreign animal noises around him. He sat up slowly and looked around him, taking to mind his current location and situation. On all sides of him were snow covered trees and the barren ground below him was covered by a thick covering of snow. The sky above was a dull grey and snowflakes fell down on him.

Snow looked around at the animals that surrounded him on all sides. They were rather furry and had short furry tails, black claws, and huge, black, intelligent eyes. A few of them were no taller than himself. There were about 10 members in their group, two bigger ones staying on look out. One of these furry animals approached Snow and communicated to him in its foreign animal tongue. To Snow's own surprise, he was able to understand it.

"Hello. I'm Snow. Do you know where I am?" The creature paused and answered. After hearing what it said, Snow repeated, "Artika?" The creature nodded.

Snow did not remember how he had gotten there, but he felt somewhat comforted to know that he at least had an idea of where he was. Slowly, he tried to stand up, but ended up falling down onto his knees, his arm hurting terribly. He looked down at his arm, and realized it was bleeding.

Meanwhile, tracking the partially hidden trail of blood on the snow, a black wolf with silvery hair and red eyes stalked its prey. Not too far away from him were his friends, a fox, a bear, and a caribou. They were all hunting the same thing, a young Mobian arctic wolf named Snow who had a special gift. The kid had were-wolf powers. And such gifts were hard to come by, much less to obtain. Their client had offered to pay them a high sum, if they could capture Snow alive. And they were going to capture Snow and bring him to their client by any means necessary. Luckily, the wolf, named Striker, had shot Snow in the arm, leaving him injured. "This plan is going swell. Now all we need is time.. and patience. Snow, soon, you'll be mine." He chuckled and ducked behind a tree quickly before trekking on.

Around this time, a rare sight could be found wandering the forest; a female Tundra Reaver, out hunting for food; she had three very young pups to feed. She snuffled and scratched at the ground, trying to catch the scent of a Frost Imp or Denkiten, but there was nothing, as if something had scared all wildlife away earlier. The mother became somewhat desperate; she needed to eat a lot in order to sufficiently nurse all of her pups, and berries and roots would not cut it.

Huffing and shorting, she jogged forward, nose low to the ground, whiskers dragging in the snow.

Snow ran his hand gently over his arm, fingering a blood covered bullet hole. He flinched at the sharp sting of pain that went through his arm, biting his teeth and closing his eyes, his ears and tail flicking here and there, his senses focusing on the area around him, trying to detect his pursuers. Next to him, the creature, that called itself a Frost Imp, had started talking in its animal language again, this time talking to one of its kinsmen.

That's when Snow picked up the scent. A creature, obviously a big and heavy one in stature and weight due to its loud footfalls and shifting body in the snow, was coming their way. Snow opened his eyes and looked around him. The Frost Imps didn't seem to know, or at least not yet, of this creature approaching them. And hopefully, the bigger creature wouldn't either. But, knowing the world Snow was from, he knew there was no way he could interfere. After all, survival and instinct are the laws of life. You break either one and you're as good as dead. At least, that's what Snow had grown up to know.

The Frost Imp looked at him strangely, it's furry head tilted to the side, it's eyes nothing but curious. Snow had the urge to warn it of the coming danger, but Snow was held aback by the urge to not interfere with the laws of life in this new ecosystem. So he just sat there; listening, watching, smelling, waiting.

Striker watched the blood trail intently, licking his lips from underneath his black face mask nervously, not like he had anything to be nervous about. Snow had always been the most bothersome target to catch. His speed, trained senses, and his were-wolf powers made him hard to catch. But still, if he could catch him once, he could catch him again. His micro-head speaker came on, and the voice of his friend Kody came on.

"Hey Striker, I just called to warn you that-" the caller grew static and Striker rolled his eyes. They really needed to fix that.

"Sorry Kody, didn't catch that, what were you going to say?"

The caller buzzed to life. "I was telling you that a big creature is somewhere near you, so you should be careful." Striker rubbed his chin, his back against a tree, deep in thought.

"Is it Snow by chance?" the caller grew static again, but Kody replied nonetheless.

"No, its definitely bigger than Snow, WAY bigger," the caller paused then added. "Be careful alright."

"Roger that." Striker looked quickly around him. Nothing in sight. "For now." he mumbled before continuing his trek, occasionally looking over his shoulder, this time walking a bit slower, and a bit more cautiously.

The harsh bark of radio static caught the attention of the Tundra Reaver, and she lifted her head, ears perked up. It as not a noise she had ever heard before, and any strange sight, sell or sound immediately made her think of the strange, metal thunder-sticks she had sometimes seen people lugging around. She growled, immediately on the defense, and cautiously continued forward.

Striker knew in his wolf genes that something was wrong. He scanned the area, looking at every tree and rock in the surroundings. He felt like something was following him, hunting him. He shuddered at the thought, but then shook it aside. Kody had said it was near him, he had never said that it was a couple of feet away, or it was right behind him. But still, something in the area made his fur stand on end, but what. He stood there for awhile, not sure what he should do.

The storm around him started getting worse, and as it did, so did he lose the trail of blood he had been following, and his line of vision. Now he was just a sitting duck, an easy target for the creature stalking him. Using some tech that had been whipped together by La Oh, Striker dematerialized into a nearby tree, camouflaging with its dark bark, waiting for the creature to find him first.

Snow's fur stood on end as he realized that the snow around them was thickening, getting worse and worse by the second. The snow and ice covered trees rocked back and forth in the powerful gusts of wind, but they remained in the ground. A strong gust of wind blew Snow off his rear and he fell backward into the snow.

The Frost Imps around him had also noticed the change in the weather, many huddling together for warmth, some clinging onto their kinsmen so they too wouldn't be blown away in the storm.

The Frost Imp from before trudged up to Snow and grabbed him by the injured arm, dragging him into the shelter of their group. Snow winced at the pain in his arm and looked up at the sky. How much worse things could get, he would have to wait to find out.

Back near Striker, the Tundra Reaver was drawing nearer, still sniffing at the ground, trying to catch a scent. She would not be able to see Striker while he was camouflaged, but she was getting worryingly close to his location. She stood a little over 4 feet tall at the shoulder, and her impressive horns were three feet long.

She pawed in agitation at the ground, growling. Something was off here, but she didn't know what, and it was irritating her. She lifted her head, sniffing the air now, while her fairly long tail swept slowly against the snow.

Striker held his breath as he looked at the creature up and down, taking in its height, appearance, and horns. So, this was the creature Kody had warned him about earlier. It definitely was bigger than Snow, both in his normal and Were-wolf forms. He was especially taking in the creature's sharp claws and protective, armor like hide. The horns were also quite intimidating in a sense of being. He calculated his chances of taking the thing out, or at least to scare it off. The chances were not good.

Even if he could take it out, someone would probably come out to find out what happened, or this creature's pack would look for it. And he wasn't looking for a fight. And if he could scare it off, if he could, it will know his location and track him down till it killed him. He stiffened against the tree in a vain attempt to hide his shudder at the thought. He looked down at his weapons. He carried with him a normal gun, and a tranquilizer dart gun, with a sedative in tow he had saved for Snow.

The more he thought about it, the more he became uncertain of his ability to take the creature out. He'd have to get a perfect shot, like a shot right through the eye or the mouth. Even though he was highly confident in his skills with a gun, he would have to be quick and his timing would have to be perfect. He'd have to rely on his hunting instincts to take the beast out. He could bet his friends could handle Snow nicely, while he kept the beast distracted. A red fire glowed in his eyes and Striker smirked.

"A little closer monster, that's all I need." he whispered in a low tone that was swept away by the wind and the snow.

The beast was about a foot away from Striker now, lifting her head as she looked around, keen eyes glinting in the light of the setting sun. She kept quite still, standing tall as her ears perked up; something felt wrong about this place, but she couldn't figure out just what it was. She turned her head away from Striker as she scanned the area, her breath rising in vapors in front of her toothy snout. This might be Striker's only chance to act...

As the creature turned its beastly head away from him, Striker quickly cocked his gun, and jumped out of hiding, firing three rounds at the creature from his bullet gun. Around him, the echos resounded throughout the forest. "So much for stealth." he thought with a sigh. He looked up at the creature, wondering if his shots managed to penetrate its hide.

In the distance, Snow heard gun shots, but wasn't able to discern who shot them. His head was hurting terribly, and the bullet buried underneath his skin was starting to hurt unbearably. He licked his wounds, though he knew it wouldn't help.

The Frost Imps also were appearing to look nervous. They had no idea what was coming, but they sensed danger nonetheless. Many of them started to look at each other and some trembled. Fear may have not been seen on their faces, but it could be indicated through their body language.

Not much farther from where Snow was at, The Tundra Rogues were moving in. Kody sniffed the air and his ears perked attentively when he heard gunshots. He knew it was Striker, but he wasn't worried. He was confident his leader could take out anything. Well, almost anything.

The bullets slammed into the Reaver's shoulder, and she let out a roar of pain, staggering somewhat. Claws dug for purchase in the snow as she whipped around towards Striker, snarling. Her shoulder was bleeding, crimson droplets staining the snow, but the gunshots only angered her. She lunged at Striker, teeth bared wide.

Striker tried to dodge, to quickly roll out of the way, but the creature was too fast for him, the movement too sudden for even Striker to comprehend, and the creature's teeth tore into his side. He yelled out in pain, but the wind swept his cry away. His bullet gun slipped out of his hands and fell into the snow nearest him. Blood flowed from the wound and hit the snow.

Kody crept on all fours towards the group of Frost Imps, his ice blue fur covered with bits of snow and ice camouflaging him from their line of vision. The creatures were nervously glancing around them, their eyes shifting this way and that, but none of them made a move. They weren't sure yet on what action to take, for they knew not what danger they had to fear.

Kody's ears moved this way and that. He could hear his friends breathing heavily and hiding behind the trees that surrounded the opening. Kody knew that Snow was in that group of Frost Imps, he could smell the blood from the wound where Striker shot him. And he knew that Snow would be too weak to fight back or to run away. So this left them as good a chance as any to collect their prey.

Suddenly, Kody lifted his head slightly, his face contorted in fear. Something was wrong. Where was Striker?

Snow could feel himself slipping in and out of consciousness, his vision going blurry, his hearing muffled and distorted. Even his movements were lazy. He glanced at his arm, spotting the blood caking the wound and his fur in gooey, sticky, red liquid. His gloves were also soaked with the blood. Using what effort he could muster, he pulled the gloves off, revealing furry, clawed paws. He closed his eyes, trying to calm the voices filling his mind. Only to find himself dealing with new ones.

Striker bit his lip as pain and blood flowed out of, and through him. He wasn't going to give up so easily. His blood covered hands gripped his spare bullets, which he, shakily placed into his tranquilizer gun. It wasn't built for it, but it would have to do. He closed his eyes as the creature's grip on his wound increased. No matter what, he was going to kill it. His hands locked on the trigger, cocked the gun, and he pressed it against the creature's skull, and fired.

The wound in the Reaver's shoulder was causing her pain, but she refused to let go of him; in her anger and ravenous hunger, she was desperate to kill him and make a meal out of him. However, it gave him the time to thrust the muzzle of his gun against her head, in a place where there was no icy armor to protect it.

As he fired, the last thing she heard was an ear-piercing, ringing noise, and then the world began to grow dark around her. Her death-grip on his side finally loosened, as her eyes rolled upwards in their sockets. With one final growl of agony, she collapsed in the snow.

With all the strength he could muster, Striker pushed the bulk of the creature off of him and rolled out of the way. His thoughts were fuzzy, and he could feel his blood as it drained out of his wound. He weakly smiled and his head fell back into the snow, and he fainted. Before he fainted, however, he heard the faint buzz of his communicator, and Kody's voice come on the line. "Striker! Striker, come in! It's me Ko-" and then he was out.

Kody bit his lip, and turned on his communicator. "Striker! Striker, come in! It's me Kody! Are you alright?" No answer. He licked his lips, and tried again, tensing every time the radio's static alerted the Frost Imps that something was wrong. "Striker! Striker! Are you there! Give me your location and I'll come get you!"

Tears came to Kody's eyes as there was yet again no reply. He gulped in air and signaled the others to move in.

Snow heard the distorted, animal cries of the Frost Imps as they scattered and many fell to the ground, bleeding. He also heard the gunshots and the yells. And the advancing footsteps. It was all too much. And it made his head hurt. Something inside him screamed to run, to escape. But the thoughts quieted as he slipped into unconsciousness.

The gunshots would not go unanswered; had Snow still been conscious, he would've heard many footsteps moving rapidly towards his location, in the opposite direction to Kody's advance. He would've heard arrows whizzing overhead, passing by him and heading for Kody and his friends; whether they'd hit or not was unknown.

But there were definitely others heading for Snow's location.

An arrow whizzed by Kody and buried itself in the snow closest to him. He yelped and jumped to his feet. "What the-" Then another came at him, burying itself in his ear. He yelled out in pain, grabbed the arrow, and yanked it out of his ear, blood gushing out of the wound. He winced and inspected the arrow, but wasn't able to get a good look at it, when two more headed for him. He managed to dodge, but just barely.

Not too far from him, he could hear his companions screaming and running here and there, wildly firing off their guns into the woods where the arrows were coming from. "Stop it! We need to get our prize!" Kody yelled to his friends at the top of his lungs, but the wind from the storm had gotten stronger, so his words were to no avail. Kody crunched his teeth and peered out in the direction the arrows were coming from, he could just make out a silhouette before it disappeared entirely.

"Stand down or die, poachers!!"

Now, people were starting to come out of the forest, and into the clearing; about fifteen of them, most being armed with bows. They aimed their bows at Kody and his friends, walking towards where Snow laid unconscious. One of them, a male dibbler who was being followed by a Frost Imp wearing a scarf, knelt down near Snow.

Kody growled at the strangers, and he turned aside and peered through the snow at his comrades. They had already disarmed themselves and one of them, a male grizzly bear spotted him, his face searching Kody's for guidance. His eyes stared into Kody's and Kody saw his fear.

Taking a deep breath, Kody reached and took up his communicator. "Do what they say." And he himself disarmed.

Deep down inside of his unconscious mind, Snow was in a inner debate with a rivaling old friend.. himself. "Wake up! Don't let them think your finished! Show them the beast within! The power!" he was telling himself. Snow shook his head slowly and let out a painful sigh. Even in here, he was fighting. "I can't." Chains, chains that Snow had not realized before that he had been holding, wrapped around his arms and legs, holding him down. Another chain wrapped around his throat and tightened as if to choke him.

But he didn't flinch. In his conscious mind, he heard the shuffling of snow and the breath of someone or something touch his face. And he felt himself flinch.

The scarf-wearing Frost Imp had been sniffing at Snow's face in concern, nudging at him every now and then. The dibbler looked over at his companions.

"We need to get him to the village, he's badly injured," he said. He looked over at the injured Frost Imps, scattered in the snow. The others, still holding onto their bows, moved forward, putting themselves in between Kody and his allies, and Snow and the wild Frost Imps.

"Take the wolf, and the imps that are still alive, back to the village," said one of the archers, a female hedgehog. "They need medical care right away."

Her, as well as three others, remained where they stood, to try and make sure that Kody and his friends did not suddenly try and attack. The others picked up Snow and the injured Frost Imps, and went to carry them away.

By this time, Kody's friends had slowly made their way to him, their hands in the air to show the archers they were unarmed. Kody watched as their target was being taken from them, and growled. "There goes our target." he thought in anger.

Turning to the female hedgehog, he got up the nerve to say something that had been pulling at his mind recently. "What about us, then? What are you going to do about us?" He tried to say it in a nice way, but he was too angry and trying to hide his anger, that his voice came out as a low growl.

"Well?!" Kody stomped the ground in anger. He flinched as the storm worsened and snow and ice bit through his uniform. His friends also shifted in discomfort, their eyes watching the archers, who still had their bows aimed at them.

(Ryu-Sorry I took so long... ;w;)

One of the archers, a male wolf, leered at Kody's childish demand.

"You get the privilege of leaving here alive," he said. But the hedgehog nudged him, rather sharply.

"Do not forget the Clan Code, Xeadas," she chided, before looking back at Kody. "You will be given haven at our village for the night, and then be sent upon your way. But if you cause trouble for our people, you will be kicked out."

Kody narrowed his eyes at the both of them. His brain pondered over their words, but as he was about to make his response, one of his companions, a grizzly bear, elbowed him sharply in the arm. He turned his head to his companion whose eyes told him all he needed to know. "Don't worry," he said in a low whisper. "He'll be fine." And even though his words were carried away with the wind, the bear understood what he said and nodded. Through all that was happening, Kody hadn't forgotten about Striker. And he had complete confidence that his leader would be just fine.

To hide any growing suspicion, Kody turned to the hedgehog and wolf and gave them each a wryly grin. "Sounds good to me. Please, lead the way, before this storm worsens."

The hedgehog nodded and motioned for Kody and his companions to follow them, back to the village. By now, the Ice Clan soldiers that had been carrying away Snow and the injured Frost Imps had disappeared from sight.

Fancy-Pants Thing 2

The walk to the village took about 10 minutes, and by then, the sun had nearly disappeared from the sky. The village itself was quite large, nestled within a clearing and embraced by the trees. The soldiers carrying Snow and the Frost Imps were taking them to one of the medical huts.

"We're here," said the hedgehog, looking over her shoulder at Kody. "You and your poacher friends will be on your best behavior, understood?"

Kody and his companions only nodded in confirmation as they surveyed their new surroundings. Seeing as it was nearly nightfall, there weren't many people outside.

Her voice was stern and held only a small bit of sympathy for the fox; after all, the prospect of freezing to death was a terrible one indeed. The hedgehog's wolf companion, Xeadas, merely stretched his arms and yawned.

"You're lucky the Code demands that we be hospitable whenever possible," he said, narrowing his eyes at Kody. "We would've gladly left you out in the c-"

The hedgehog elbowed him again.

"That is enough," she said.

Kody growled and narrowed his eyes at Xeadas. "Yeah, listen to the lady, ya punk! At least she's being kinder than you're being!"

Xeadas just growled, but restrained himself; there was a lot of anger in his eyes, however. The hedgehog just shrugged.

"I don't think 'kindness' is the term I would use here. More like...'bare minimum of tolerance'. I'll shed no tears when you leave, but I do not believe that anyone should have to endure the threat of freezing to death out there in the forest...even if they are a filthy poacher."

With that, the hedgehog walked away, towards the medical huts where Snow was being carried.

Kody watched the hedgehog as she walked away and then turned to Xeadas, grinning slightly and stretching his arms. "So, wolfy, where are my friends and I going to be staying?"

Xeadas frowned, but motioned for Kody and his friends to follow him to a relatively large hut.

"This is a hut for temporary residents," he said, opening up the door and gesturing for the poachers to follow him inside. It was quite cozy-looking, and the beds looked comfortable, lined with warm, woven wool; the wool came from the <???> herd that the Ice Clan raised and took care of, and said wool was also one of their traded goods.

"You'll be staying in here, and tomorrow, you will be given rations and sent on your way."

Kody looked around and gave Xeadas a smile of contentment. "Nice place." But immediately changed his mind and folded his hands behind his head and frowned. "Eh, I've seen better."

Xeadas' lip curled up in a snarl.

"Would you rather sleep outside in the snow, then?" he growled, crossing his arms. "Because this hut is the best you'll be getting, here."

Kody opened his mouth to reply, but the grizzly bear named Ralph grabbed his muzzle, making the only audible sound a loud "urmph". Then the caribou stepped forward and nodded at the other two. "What our friend means to say is that we're happy you have offered to give us refuge in this cold weather. And we thank you." From behind him, Ralph nodded and Kody growled and struggled with Ralph as he tried to free his mouth.

The wolf gave a rare smile, nodding his head.

"Thank you. I'm glad that somebody appreciates what we have. I know it's no 5-star hotel, but it at least keeps you warm and comfortable in the night, no?"

He heard a voice calling out to him now.

"Xeadas! Come on, you're doing the first nightwatch shift with me!"

"Ah...excuse me, I must go and start the nightwatch shift," said Xeadas, squeezing past Kody and the others and heading outside. It was night-time now.

With that, he

As Kody and his friends watched the wolf disappear into the outside, Ralph and La Oh each let out a relieved sigh and prepared for Kody's unleashed fury. As Kody's mouth was finally uncovered, he growled and silently had some words with them before they all began their planning.

"We aren't leaving without Snow. We have to bring him with us, no matter what the cost." Kody said as he and his companions plotted silently.

"We have no weapons. We were disarmed remember?" Ralph mused.

La Oh the Caribou sat down on a bed and clasped his hands like a monk as it prays. "If we must capture Snow, we must do it as best as we can, without gaining anyone's unwanted attention." Kody nodded and folded his arms behind his head. "I'll think of something. You guys rest."

La Oh and Ralph looked to each other and nodded. They trusted Kody and they knew he would come up with something, they had every confidence. They all lay down in their beds and slept, or tried too. Kody also lay down, pretending to sleep so any of the natives would suspect something, but really, he was silently plotting within his mind. "I won't fail you Striker. We will have Snow. I guarantee that."

Fancy-Pants Thing 2

Snow could feel himself being carried, but he did not know where. His arm stung extremely from the bullet wound and he whined. By now the bullet was digging into his flesh, making its way to an artery or a vein to puncture.

The people carrying Snow were being immensely careful not to jostle him around too much, to try and prevent further injury. He was eventually brought into one of the huts; it was warm and cozy, and he was laid down upon one of the beds. A couple of medics were quickly on the scene; a slender male fanaloka and a somewhat chubby female tenrec.

The male fanaloka carefully examined Snow's wounded arm, taking note of the bloodied hole.

"He's definitely been shot...and not by an arrow..."

He waved his hand in front of Snow's face.

"Are you awake, sir?"

Snow groaned and tried to open his eyes, managing only a small slit. He saw the fanaloka and the tenrec but that was all he saw before his eyes rolled back into his head and he slipped into unconsciousness once more.

The fanaloka frowned.

"I think he's lost a lot of blood...we better act fast," he said, as he and the tenrec got to work on treating Snow's wound. The injured Frost Imps were being treated by some of the other medics.

Two hours later, after the medics had finished treating Snow's wound and had left the hut briefly to check on the other patients, Snow awoke. When he opened his eyes he was still adjusting his vision to the brightness of the room. Outside, he could hear the roaring of the storm. As his eyes adjusted to the light, he managed to sit up and look around at his new surroundings.

It was a decently-sized building, about the size of an average living-room, well-lit and pleasantly warm. Snow was laying down on a bed now; it was quite comfortable, and, like the beds in the temporary residents' hut, was lined with warm, woven wool.

It's a nice place, Snow thought to himself, but how'd I get here? Slowly, the events of the day creeped up on him. Running, the shots, the bullet, the animal-like screams. Deep down, Snow wished it had all been a dream, but as far as he could tell, it wasn't. He looked to his arm, expecting a bleeding, open wound. However, all he found was a skillfully wrapped bandage. This brought his nerves to attention and his ears shot up.

Even more slowly, Snow adjusted himself into a crouching position and sniffed the air. No one was there, at least not yet. His hair was on end, and for the moment, he began to silently debate with himself whether he should attempt an escape or not.

None of the medics seemed to be in the room with Snow; this must've been a building for patients to recover. The only people who would be outside at this time were those few guards on watch; normally, they didn't even need guards out, due to the often harsh nighttime conditions keeping would-be intruders at bay, but clearly tonight was a different case.

Snow's ears twitched and his nose caught the scent of a few guards on the outside of the building. His ears caught the walking of boots on snow and the muttering of low voices. He shifted his position unsurely and then, after a short while, he got off the bed. The pain in his arm made him stagger and fall, but he got up quickly and started to look around for a way out.

Fancy-Pants Thing 2

Meanwhile, back where Striker lay, a small, lone figure approached him. She wore an ice blue, sleek jacket and hood, black pants and pink and white boots. She stood there, watching Striker's still body. Striker's breath came out in brief puffs, and blood coated the snow around him. Beside him was a huge creature that the figure had never seen before. Cyan eyes peered out from the hoodie, and white hair hung down like icicles out of her hood. Slowly, she approached the body. Once she stood above it, she put her hands down to Striker's throat to feel a pulse. Her face was cold and expressionless as she felt a light beat of a pulse.

Lifting Striker's body up and leaning him against her shoulder, she led him away from the dead creature's body and the two disappeared into the blizzard.

Part 5

Meanwhile, back in Soumerca, a large truck towards a nondescript building at the outskirts of the Viridian Jungle; it looked like a warehouse. The bed of the truck held a large crate in it, which was held down by chains. The crate seemed to be rattling about a fair bit.

"Ha ha! Won't the boys be shocked t' see what we managed to haul back!" the driver, a male jaguar, laughed. His companion, a male hare, looked over his shoulder at the back of the truck; the crate was still rattling.

"So long as it doesn't manage to get loose," he muttered. The jaguar laughed again and clapped his friend on the shoulder.

"Aww, hell, it ain't going nowhere! It's knocked out but good, and those chains and crate are made o' steel!"

The truck reached the building, and parked near the garage door. A couple of watchers were outside, loitering around the building.

Suddenly, a large monster made out of solid ice came crashing through. The monster accidentally trips on a stone, causing it to trip and become a pile of snow. Then, the snow made the shape of a teenage human holding a rifle. The snow fell, and a boy in the same shape of the sculpture before him emerged.

"What seems to be going on?" the boy asked, refilling his rifle up with bullets.

Almost immediately, the watchers, five of them in total, turn their own guns on the teenager.

"Just what the hell do you think you're doing, barging in here like you own the place?!" one of the watchers, a female moth, barked at the teenager. The jaguar and hare exited the truck, baffled by the sudden turn of events. The large steel crate continued to jostle around, rattling the chains holding it down; on closer inspection, there were small holes in the crate, to let air through, and faint snarls could be heard coming from the inside.

Far away from their location, a yellow-gold shrew wanders across the desert. He had been wandering for days, with no sign of Mobians or humans for miles. His supplies were dwindling away, but he kept walking. He wasn't going home till he found out what was dragging him on. Till he found out what that was, he wasn't going anywhere.

The sun beat down on him, but he walked on. Aimlessly, but with an intended purpose. I will find it.. I will..

Not too far up ahead, an Earth Imp was digging in the sand, trying to find the burrows of small prey creatures.

The shrew suddenly stopped in his walk, his body leaning against his propped sword, which he had been using as a crutch, or a walking stick. It was also his means of defense if he met any unfriendly beings in his walk across the harsh desert. He also carried with him daggers made out of the stone jade. And a crossbow with arrows, though he couldn't imagine them being of any good.

He peered across the desert and thought he saw a silhouette of some sorts. He shook the thought away and continued his walk, though his legs screamed to rest. Though he knew that would be impossible.

His vision became blurry and distorted, the heat pressing him so hard that he felt himself ready to fall at any moment. Eventually, his legs gave way, and he staggered to the ground. As he stared, helplessly across the desert, he could just make out a faint silhouette of someone or something approaching him. He blinked once, and it got closer. He blinked one more time, and it was hovering over him. He was only able to make out huge red eyes, before he lost all consciousness entirely.

The princess looked down at the shrew thoughtfully as she scooped him up in her arms. She knew she shouldn't have come out here, as much as she knew that she should not be helping this Mobian. For all she knew, he might be a poacher. She looked up and peered across the desert. No one yet.

Taking the shrew's weapon with her, she, with the shrew in her arms, head across the desert, the princess following the path home.

Two cargo vehicles drove across the barren desert. The driver of one of the vehicles, a male stoat, was occasionally drifting his eyes to a device that was attached to the vehicles center panel. The device was used to scan the environment for any possible targets to bring back to base. The technology was old, but the scanner still worked, sometimes. He looked back up and peered across the endless desert. So far, all he had been able to find were a couple of Earth Imps and a couple of other worthless animals that brought little to no profit. But he was hoping for something big, something unexpected. Something..

Suddenly, the device on the panel, gave off a loud beeping. The stoat, startled by the noise, gripped the steering wheel with both hands and glanced at the scanner. A red dot was on the scanner. Something was approaching them. Something big.

"Hey! Guys! We got a big one!" The stoat shouted to his comrades through the intercom, his voice pitched to an excitable rate.

"What are you talking about? We don't see nothin'! That thing you have must be broken!" Laughter was heard coming from the other side of the receiver and the stoat hung up, his eyes darting to the barren terrain in front of them.

"I know your there. No where you can hide, ya whopper!" The stoat chuckles to himself and stares ahead.

The princess had made it pretty far from where she had found the shrew, the unconscious shrew still held in her arms. She wore tan, padded, fingerless gloves and the same thing on her feet, and no covering on her legs, chest, or back. Since she possessed no visible sexual parts, she didn't exactly care what she wore. Her skin was white and black spikes protruded from her head and all over her body. She was very tall for her age, which was 16.

Suddenly, her feet stopped, rooted to the ground as she stared out at the distance. She could see dust being kicked up from something.. was it a herd of Earth Imps? a stampede of some other animal? or was it something else? Whatever it was, the princess felt her spikes go up and her hairs stand on end. She sensed danger and though her body tensed and her tail and ears twitched wildly, she didn't move. Though she longed to run, she didn't. So instead, she watched and waited.

As the red dot on the scanner got closer and closer, so did the stoat's excitement grow and grow. And though the kicked up dust hid all traces of visibility of what the red dot was, the stoat was able to get a minor glimpse of the creature through the dust. It was tall, that much he knew for certain. As he neared it, he could see it also had huge red eyes and its skin was white and black spikes stuck out from its body. It was beyond anything he had ever seen before.

No longer able to hold his excitement any longer, the stoat turned on the intercom again. "Do you guys see it now?"

There was a brief, inaudible pause, and then a voice came on. "We still see nothin'." The stoat bit his tongue and shook his head in irritation. "Then look harder! Cause it's there!" As if on cue, the dust cleared a bit more, and a surprised gasp came from the intercom which was then followed by the other truck stepping on the brakes and its riders jumping out, guns at the ready. The stoat pumped a fist, but his truck on brakes, and stepped out. All poachers stepped toward the creature.

The princess pulled the shrew closer to her, her long claws digging into his leather jacket. As the poachers stepped out of their vehicles and cautiously approached her, guns at the ready to fire, she instinctively took a step back, her red eyes darting from one poacher to the other. Her lips parted, revealing long, sharp, white teeth. She growled at the poachers and the poachers looked at each other and then nodded as they slowly made surrounded her on all sides.

"What is that thing?" "I've never seen it nor heard of its kind before." The poachers whispered to one another and one uttered an inkling about its origins as they separated and surrounded it. But the stoat narrowed his eyes at the creature and muttered aloud for the others to hear him. "Who cares what it is or where it came from? As long as it earns us good profits what does it matter?" The others silently agreed to his point.

The obvious leader of the group, a male falcon made a silent motion with his hand, and all of the poachers lifted their guns and pointed it at the creature. The creature took another step back and its eyes narrowed as it moved its body in a complete 360 degree circle at all the guns aimed at it. The stoat and his comrades stared in awe. This was no ordinary beast.

With another quick, but also silent movement of the hand, the guns fired. Also, at that exact time, the creature brought its black spikes out till they stuck out of her body like a porcupine, many of the bullets being impaled by the long spikes, but some slipping through the cracks and going into the creature's arm. Black blood flowed out of its arm, and the creature's spikes retracted, but other than that, it didn't move, didn't even flinch.

The princess clenched her teeth as pain flowed through her arm, but even through the pain, she refused to drop the shrew in her arms. Shielding him with her arms, she hoped to make it back to her kingdom without further harm coming to neither her nor the shrew. But, as much as she was concerned, these poachers wouldn't let her escape. She knew what she had to do, but as much as she regretted to, she knew she had no other choice. Gripping onto the shrew with her injured arm, she extended her other arm out and her claws on her hands and feet grew.

The poachers reloaded their guns and once more aimed. The creature took a step forward, and they fired. Swift movements of the creature's arm sliced the bullets that were fired at her from all sides into tiny pieces. The stoat grit his teeth and his comrades trembled in fear, all except for their leader, who again motioned for another round to be fired. The creature split the bullets in two once more. This struggle continued for awhile until the poachers were forced to retreat to their vehicles and fire at the creature from there. The stoat ducked behind his own vehicle and pulled out a sedative dart gun. He loaded five darts into it and sniped at the creature as it slowly, but steadily approached the vehicles.

The princess smirked as she continued to approach the poachers and their vehicles. And as her confidence began to build, so did her weak spots expose themselves.

And before she could blink, two darts buried themselves into her leg and neck. She felt her body slowly growing numb, and she paused to grab at the darts and pull them out. But by the time she had pulled them out, three more hit her in her arm, her head, and her other leg. She felt her vision fading and everything went red and green and blue. Images flashed in her vision, and she stumbled onto her knees at the intensity of it. Someone ran up to her and hit her on the head with the butt of his gun. Through the surrounding blackness, the princess saw a tall stoat standing over her, a twisted smile on his face. Then the princess blacked out.

Part 6

Meanwhile, in the Efrika Plains Zone, the sun was rising on an abandoned barn. Having finished her shift as watcher, a female cat descended a set of cleverly hidden stairs into the huntsmen's base she called home.

About ten miles away from the base, Xavek was walking. Earlier he made a space jump from his underground facility in Eurish with the general coordinates of the base. Though it had a three percent error margin in terms of distance from the actual base added to the fact that he didn't know where it was to begin with.

The female cat, Rita, walked into a small makeshift kitchen area, making breakfast for her fellow huntsmen. Coffee, eggs, the works. Hopefully the smell would wake them up.

The delicious scent reached the nose of a dozing female ichneumon, who slowly stretched and yawned as she sat up. She climbed out of bed and wandered towards the kitchen area.

"How can a gal sleep when there's such a delicious smell keepin' her awake?" she said teasingly, smiling at Rita.

"Mornin', sleepyhead." Rita teased back, fixing the girl a plate. She yawned slightly, tired out from her long shift.

"Mornin'," she replied, sitting down at the medium-sized table, stretching once more.

"Anythin' interesting happen during your shift?"

Rita shook her head no. "Nothing but the usual..." She said with a sigh, and a slight smile in spite of herself. She handed the woman her breakfast, eggs and sausage.

"Ah, well...I guess that's better than invaders in the night," said the ichneumon. "Mmm, that does look good; thanks, Rita."

"Hey, no problem." Rita answered, nonchalantly. "The others are still asleep, I'm guessing?"

"Unsurprisingly, being such lazy-tails. Well, whatever; the smell will wake 'em up soon enough."

If anyone was on lookout duty right now, they might spot the telltale signs of someone approaching their area of operations. Namely by the fact that whoever it was was clearly visible plain as day.

However, only the two girls seemed to be awake for now...

Oblivious to the fact that someone was approaching, Rita fixed herself a plate of eggs and sausage, though it was really her dinner. She was nocturnal; she was going to be going to bed soon.

Whoever or whatever was approaching stopped right at their doorstep, so to speak and waited, it seemed to be an A.I platform of sorts.

Rita's ears twitched, faintly hearing something. She decides to head back upstairs, and check the door. Then she saw Xavek, and seemed rather surprised. "Who are you?" She asked, suspiciously.

It wasn't Xavek, but rather a quadrupedal combat drone covered in dense armor plating with a single red optic on the faceplate. Quite reminiscent of a combat dog.

"Query: Are you a member of 'faction Name: Silver Huntsmen'?" The drone spoke with a heavily synthesized voice.

Rita gave no answer, since she did not trust who- no, whatever was at their door. She heavily stomped on the floor, trying to wake up the rest of the huntsmen as backup.

The stomping immediately got the ichneumon's attention, and the rest of the huntsmen stationed there, who were already starting to wake up from the delicious smell of breakfast, jumped to attention, startled. The ichneumon ran towards where Rita was, and the rest of the huntsmen would soon be following.

Well assured that backup was on the way, Rita then turned her attention back to the drone. "What do you want?!?" She asked, demandingly.

The drone repeated the question, albeit with some of the plating on its back moving around for what looked like two napalm sprayers popping out from its back for intimidation purposes.

The ichneumon soon joined Rita, glaring at the strange drone standing at the door.

"Who're you supposed t' be?!"

"I am model PT-45d, a prototype interface droid equipped with onboard AI and offensive capabilities, 'Creator;Xavek' sent me to find 'Faction Name; Silver Huntsman'... Do not make me inquire again or your deaths shall be most painful.." The drone spoke, the napalm sprayers giving off an activation hum.

"Xavek...? Doesn't sound like G.U.N., at least." Rita mumbled.

"Negative, 'Creator;Xavek' recently started doing business with 'Faction;Silver Huntsmen'.. I am here in regards to that business."

"Business? With us, eh? Well, then where has this Xavek fellow been, precisely, doing his business with the Silver Huntsmen?"

"Location; Near Ice Clan of Kyanos."

"Ohhh, the dang Ice Clan..." Rita still didn't fully trust this droid, but that made it just a bit more believable to her. She'd heard about the trouble the Ice Clan had caused the Artika huntsmen.

"Is this Xavek fellow there now? At the Artika base, I mean?" the ichneumon asked.

"Yes, Creator; Xavek is currently near approximate Location; Artika Silver Huntsmen base."

"Hmm...we might want to ring up Nael and see if she's aware of this at all."

"Then do so."

The ichneumon pulled a cellphone out of the pocket of her shorts and flipped it open, before dialing up Nael's number.

(Ryu-Still deciding if I should keep Nael for myself or let someone have ownership of her (so long as they use her for the intended setting...)
* * * * *

Back in Soumerca, the truck carrying the suspicious cargo did not go as unnoticed as its driver and passenger would have hoped. An Egg Soldier concealed by a camo-cloak was returning to the large yet skillfully hidden Egg Base located deep in the Viridian Jungle to report her findings. Inside, she made her way to her commander's room, and rang up the console next to the doors. After a few seconds, a face appeared on the console screen; a female harpy eagle.

"Yes, what is it? I'm busy, you know," she said, sounding a bit irritated.

"I don't mean to disturb you, boss," said the cloaked soldier, removing her hood. "But there's been Huntsman activity around here, again."

The eagle's mouth curled up in a disgusted sneer.

"Those little scavengers..."

Her visage disappeared from the console screen, and the door opened, revealing the eagle in full. She was a relatively tall (for a Mobian) and decently curvy woman with claw-tipped fingers; the result of Cybernetics.

"They've got a lot of nerve, scuttling around my territory," she growled, stepping past the cloaked Egg Soldier; a Fluminato with a collar around its neck was trailing after her. The creature was missing a back paw, but the stump was completely healed up by now; it must've been an old wound.

The eagle turned back to the soldier.

"Where did you see them going?"

"They were heading to the south," said the soldier. "Driving a big truck with some kind of large crate strapped into the bed."

The eagle crossed her arms, Cybernetic claws tapping in irritation.

"They've poached some wild animal again," she hissed. "Damn them...I had to work tooth and nail to convince Eggman to let me set up my base here, just so I could stop him from tearing the place apart. And now those cowards are picking away at the wildlife!"

The soldier said nothing; while she had long gotten used to working for such an environmentally conscious Sub-Boss, the eagle had a temper to match her passion, and it was quite honestly scary.

"What do you propose we do, boss?" the soldier finally asked. The eagle started to walk away, but motioned for the Egg Soldier to follow her.

"We're going to gather troops and pay those poachers a visit..."

Meanwhile, back in the desert, the stoat, whose name was Stewart, along with his comrades, a lizard and dog, had completed their task of lifting the sedated creature into the truck and placed in a cage. Stewart smirked as he peered at it through the bars as the key turned and the lock snapped closed. "It's a beauty isn't it?"

The lizard and the dog shook their heads and one of them gave an unclear remark. Stewart ignored them and began to congratulate himself.

"I was right, and you were wrong! I was right, and you were wrong! I was right and YOU were-" He was silenced as his leader, the falcon glared at him through his one eye. Then, his leader reluctantly turned his gaze away from the stoat, and instead watched the unconscious figure of the shrew that had been found in the creature's grasp.

The dog and the lizard, along with Stewart and one other of the group, stood over the shrew, deciding amongst themselves on what to do with him. Then, their leader cleared his throat and stepped into their circle, and all there stood to attention.

"We should kill him, but that would be a waste. So we'll bring him with us, treat him 'nicely', and ask him what he knows about the creature. If he sees our base whatsoever, or asks too many questions, we kill him. And if he tries to do anything else, we kill him."

All in the group nodded in understanding. Then, after blindfolding the unconscious shrew, they threw him into the back of the truck with the creature. Noting he was dehydrated and wasn't going to wake up anytime soon, they threw the truck door down and headed off back to the warehouse with their prizes in tow.

* * * * *

The warehouse was once again mostly devoid of anything interesting happening, and the female moth from before was patrolling around the outside, accompanied by a female hedgehog, now. The crate that the male jaguar and the male hare had brought in was gone, now, likely brought into the warehouse.

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