We Don’t Take to Strangers Here

Featured Items: CURELESS[+] Yokai Chronicles  (The Epiphany), KABUKIbo-zu(KUROsakura), *::.who what.::* -sukashi BANGASA, Air_Emaki, & booN-kura (Kagami)

The forested hills surrounding the old temple, which stood at the top of the central and tallest of the mounds. And there was an eerie silence that wasn’t lost on the team of rescuers, all dressed in black military gear, wielding the latest in modern weaponry. They’d been contracted to hunt down, find, and extract the troublesome son of the Baener family, the heir apparent to their billion dollar fortune.

Jess had always been the black sheep. His antics had gotten him in trouble so many times, that the police were used to his lawyer showing up and bailing him out of so many would-be legal issues, that they seldom bothered to process the paperwork. He was nearly untouchable, despite the various crimes and misdemeanors that he would have otherwise been incarcerated for.

And now, he’d been missing for 3 days, and no one in his usual haunts, nor the hospitals, or police stations, had seen or heard from him. His phone was off the grid for 2 of those 3 days, until suddenly, it activated midway through the 3rd day. Hopes ran high that perhaps he’d simply gone on some cross-country bender with a group of would-be friends, and had somehow avoided detection by sheer luck or coincidence. But when he refused to respond, and did not call or text, it was assumed that he had been abducted, and the perpetrators were playing either a game or were unaware of the mobile being reactivated. Their mistake.

The team tracked Jess’s mobile phone via its GPS, and the indications were that it was at one of the taller mountains of the distant countryside.

“The Valkyre Riders”, as they were known, were on the payroll for the Baener family. Their orders were to recover the boy and punish the ones responsible. No one crossed the Baener family and got away with it. No one.

Holderson, Langly, Phenton, and Brice were a well-drilled and tight knit team, having served in the military, and then for one of those high profile ‘contractor’ security firms that had been responsible for some terrible things in the middle east during the first and second wars in the middle east. They were tough and confident and had been loyal to the Baener family since they decided it was more lucrative to be private security than corporate. They had the best equipment and steely discipline to use it. They were linked, each with a com unit, visors with Heads-Up Displays, and weapons that could spit more rounds per second than most any weapon devised by man. And there was a fifth team member, not including the pilot, who was a spotter in a high-altitude aircraft circling the area. Lattimer was their ‘eyes’.

They were all wearing black combat fatigues, flak vests, helmets and face scarves. An array of guns, weapons, grenades and ammo straps were strapped to their bodies. Other than variations in height, they all seemed relatively the same. The actually liked calling themselves “Shadowmen”, but Holderson thought that was cheesy.

They went on foot, climbing in pairs on either side of the stairway, paralleling the stone stairs. They moved with stealth and speed up the mountain. There was a short stone wall on either side of the path, and they moved with hardly a sound, despite the undergrowth and bracket and dead leaves.

As they neared the top, Holderson held up his closed fist, and the team paused near-simultaneously when he did. Their leader was sweeping the landscape with eyes trained through drill and combat, and each of the team did the same. Something had tripped Holderson’s awareness – and he trusted his instincts.

“Eyes.. what do you see,” Holderson asked through his com.

Lattimer’s cool, soft voice came with a soft crackle in the earpiece, “I see .. what might be a couple of dogs, maybe a large rodent. Nothing of concern, though. You’re all clear.”

Holderson didn’t bother to reply. He nodded, and his hand pointed forward twice. The team surged forward as one, confident they would soon find their quarry.

As they crested the top of the weathered mountain, the radio crackled, “This is Eyes – something is coming your way. Heat signature says its human.. And a couple of what might be dogs – could be guard dogs?.“

“Thanks, Eyes,” Holderson said quietly. Then he motioned for the team to fan out, and Holderson came forward around a thick stand of trees and broken stones, to see a strange sight – something he didn’t expect. There were painted stone statues of odd shaped animals. He remembered they were called Kitsune. The statues were quite old, with faded but still colorful paint that was chipping away by the ravages of time and weather. They were on stone pedestals that were moss-covered here and there, and were on either side of what looked like a dilapidated archway across the top of the path..

Also, a pale-skinned young man, almost androgynous in his looks – pretty with strange and compelling exotic eyes, snake bites at his full bottom lip, a piercing at his nose and strange markings underneath his eyes. His robe was a combination of several patterns with white, gray and black variations that patterned the robe and skirts.

The boy stood there, giving the team an expression of mild annoyance. He had long, pale silken white hair accented with strands of purple that draped down his back. Colorful tattoos played along the top of his forearm and his fingernails were long and shimming black. In one hand, he held an opened and ribbed purple umbrella over his shoulder, in a nonchalant manner.

His chest was exposed by the parting of his robe, revealing tattoos on the right side of his chest, as well as a necklace and a choker around his neck. The fall of his robe, tied at the waist by a wrap, and he had long cylinder case that was hanging low at the base of his back.

As they stood there, two animals came up beside the young man, and Holderson blinked as the creatures flanked the young man. They were black and white kitsune – LIVING black and white kitsune. Holderson blinked but he wasn’t imagining them. Maybe they were surgically altered dogs, costumed to look like the mythical creatures. The animals’ tails were fluffy and very long and flowed behind the umbrella-carrying lad’s body, almost as if they were forming some kind of backdrop for this encounter.

The black clad mercenaries seemed to relax a little bit, and Holderson strode closer by a few paces. He gave the boy an obvious show of looking him up and down, making sure his weapon was pointing down and not at the young man.

In a low, gravelly “tough guy” voice, Holderson said, “We’re here to rescue a young man – about your height – he has a goatee, dark haired; He’s about 18 years old. His name is Jess Baener. Do you know where he’s at? We tracked him here, so if you could help us out, the family would.. compensate you for your assistance.”

The young man’s face took on an amused look as he looked down to the black kitsune on his right, sliding his long fingernailed digits through its lush mane. The kitsune pressed into the hand, nuzzling its head and ears tighter against the boy’s thigh. The coils of purple rope, that were at the robed figure’s back, seemed to move like snakes, as if they were alive. These ropes slid against the long document tube that was at his back.

“Oh I don’t imagine you’ll find that young man on this hilltop. The one you are seeking was indeed here, but he chose to … leave behind his old life. I don’t think you’ll find him to your liking now.”

Holderson frowned behind his cloth mask and narrowed his eyes, though his visor prevented anyone from seeing his facial expression. But he made a gesture to his team to not threaten yet, but to be ready to take this boy and his animals down if need be. They all shifted their stances, and the young man looked up, his eyes shimmering in the shadows of the hillside’s ruined structures.

“So, you’re saying you know where he’s at.. Or you had something to do with his being taken?” Holderson asked in a rather tight voice.

The pale man laughed and nodded. “You could say that. Or you could say, I made him what he is today!” With that there was a thudding sound, a BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! Like someone was dropping heavy weights on the hillside. Behind the ruined archway on the path behind the young man, blue flames could be seen flaring up, along with a a rattling sound, as if wood or bamboo wind chimes of some enormous construction were being rattled. But as the blue flames grew closer, a huge winged bone creature – a giant skeleton with bony wings attached to its back – came lumbering behind the pale skinned young one, who was now smiling a wicked little smile.

“What the Fuuuuuck!” Langly shouted, bringing his automatic weapon up, and the skeletal giant glared down through fiery eyes of strange and intense light. It stopped right behind the ruined archway that leaned precariously behind the boy and his kitsune pets, and it bellowed out something that was a cross between tearing metal and a bear’s amplified roar.

“You can call me Ral, “ The young robed man said, as he gave them a superior smirk. “You can have the same choice that Jess, here, had to make. Join me, or become fodder for the hillside. I do need new minions, now that I have awoken in this time. Choose now.“

As one, Holderson’s team raised their weapons. Ral grinned a dark and evil grin, and whispered, “So be it.” He pointed at the team of mercenaries. The two kitsune’s eyes flashed deadly red, and they crouched for a moment. Then Ral said, “Get them.”

The black and white mystic animals lept to either side and their bared fangs gleamed sharp and deadly, as they bounded towards Phenton and Brice, to either side of Holderson.

Langly raised his weapon and opened fire on the giant skeleton, and Holderson took aim at Ral. They all opened fire, even as they braced for the coming battle.

Ral smiled as he held up a tattooed arm, his hand looking soft and delicate, the pale nails gleaming in the blue light of the flames given off by the giant skeletal creature behind him. The mechanical sounds of the machine guns being fired chattered out, but as the bullets flew towards Ral, they seemed to stop, as if caught somehow in mid-air, less than a meter from the pale boy’s body. 10.. 20.. 30 .. 40 rounds chattered out in seconds, all to be caught in mid-air, as if time had stopped for each bullet when it tried to pass that threshold barrier before the young beautiful man. The firing stopped. Ral dropped his hand, and there was a clatter of the impotent bullets as they fall, as one, to the ground.

Langly fired at the giant flaming skeletal monster and a shimmering blue tongue lolled out of the giant’s mouth.It was as if the creature were somehow inhaling the bullets as the came at him. They sparked and flashed as they were being melted into smoke as they struck the blue flaming tongue.

Phenton and Brice fired at the bounding kitsune, and the fox-like creatures, far larger than any fox, growled and snarled as they leaped and dodged side to side, avoiding being hit with an uncanny ease, until their front paws hit the soldiers in the chest, tumbling them over. The kitsune bit and clawed and raked at the helpless soldiers, shredding their uniforms, armor, and tearing their weapons free.

Holderson ceased fire, and looked down at his weapon in disbelief. He flicked a switch on the side and slapped in a fresh clip, and as he raised his gun to renew his assault, Ral was standing right in front of him – as if the boy had teleported, or moved so fast the eye couldn’t follow.

“Eyes” frantic voice came over the radio, “What’s happening?! I can’t see a thing now! There’s a haze..like the whole hillside is on fire or something! Repeat! No visuals on your position! They know we’re coming! Abort ! Abort! Team leader..Holderson Come in!”

Ral smiled a wicked smile at Holderson, and pressed a hand to his chest. It was as if the pretty pale haired boy’s fingers were sinking into water, as the material of his vest and body armor shimmered like ripples in a pond. Holderson felt the boy’s hand grip his heart. “Now, I give you one last chance to join me.. Or perish.. “

Screams were all around the leader, as the Kitsune proceeded to tear the now terrified and dying Phenton and Brice apart, and the giant flaming skeleton reached down and plucked Langly from the ground like a child’s action figure and brought the flailing man to its mouth.

Holderson snarled and said, “Death before dishonor.. “

The clawed delicate fingers closed around Holderson’s heart, and the last thing he felt was a burning sensation in his chest, as his heart was punctured in 5 different places. It was as if he were a marionette whose strings had been cut. Holderson simple gurgled and fell to the ground, his eyes gone wide, as he looked up at the sky, and saw Langly being devoured by the giant maw of the skeleton, flames consuming the man’s body. That was the last thing he saw before everything went red.. Then black.

Ral retracted his hand, the tips of his fingernails red with blood. He glanced back at the giant skeleton, and motioned towards it. “Jess, go back to your room now. The fun is over. Just don’t leave a mess behind.. “

The skeleton that used to be Jess nodded his understanding, scooping up the lower half of the bitten off torso of the man he’d just half devoured, and then the remains of Phenton and Brice, then stomped off back up to the ruined temple further up the path.

Ral looked up into the sky, and fixed his eyes on a point – which also happened to coincide with where the spy-plane that held ‘Eyes’ was orbiting the area. Ral’s soft but melodic voice spoke several words, “Burns and fall”, almost as if he were whispering them to himself.

In the sky, flames erupted from that orbiting plane – blue and white flames and the screams of ‘Eyes’ and the unfortunate pilot could be heard over Holderson’s com unit. The plane burned and fell from the sky, crashing into a distant mountain side, kilometers away.

Ral looked down at the still form of Holderson, and frowned. “You should have taken the deal, but I admire your bravery, however foolish. Perhaps you will change your mind, soon. “

The young man took the long document tube from his back and unscrewed the cap from one end with a deft twist of his wrist. He pointed the open dark end at Holderson’s body. A purple nimbus enveloped the still form, and then, as if from far away, a scream came from the dead soldier. A spectral figure rose out of the man, and elongated as it was sucked into the long tube in Ral’s hands. The soul-form of the man grabbed vanely at his body, trying to claw his way back inside, but it was no use – the might of the tube’s magical pull wrench the spirit of the man into the tube. Then, he screwed the cap back onto the end.

The kitsune, Filli and Killi, both bounded back to their master and rubbed their tails affectionately against him. Ral reached down and stroked their forms, and smiled. “Good boys.. Now, let’s go back to the temple. We have work to do. “

~fini~
Story by: Dehrynn Shepherd

Body:
Hair- .Olive. the Mia Hair (The Epiphany)

Outfit:
Yukata- KABUKIbo-zu(KUROsakura) (Kagami)
Rope Bow- CURELESS[+] Yokai Chronicles / Shrine Maiden / RARE (Modified) (The Epiphany)
Back Scroll- Air_Emaki (Kagami)
Umbrella- *::.who what.::* -sukashi BANGASA (Kagami)
Choker- [Gild] Studded choker (Store)

Makeup:
Eyeshadow- .ARISE. Haruku Makeup  (Okinawa Summer Festival)

Tattoos:
RedFish – Chinoiseires Tattoo (Kinky)

Decor:
Ruins- booN-kura Ruined (Kagami)
Skeleton & Kitsune Pets- CURELESS[+] Yokai Chronicles (The Epiphany)
Flaming wheel- Firey Blue Wanyudo {egosumaii} (The Epiphany)
Bamboo- 3D Trees Bamboo (Store)

*Please note: Modifying items is at your own risk and not recommended for the inexperienced on no-copy items such as gacha if you want info on how I Modified the Cureless dress feel free to leave a message*

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