“WHERE’S THE SPAWN OF SYPHILIS?” May had burst into the room ten minutes after dad got sent on his ‘pleasure’ trip. Her steel toed boots had spikes on the toe, just like her leather jacket had on her shoulders, and her gloves had on the knuckles. She was looking like the modern day version of an adventurer clad in studded leather armor. She almost threw Leonard off to the side as she slid on the floor towards me to hug me, almost. She controlled herself enough to just hold his face and gently nudge him off to the side. I pointed down on the ground. “He’s in Leonard’s apartment?” May asked, I shook my head to reply, still pointing down. She scratched her chin before her next question. “Félicie’s?” I shook my head again. May gasped. “Wait, you don’t mean… but I don’t see a body? Or charred ground.” I snorted a bit, the way you do when you’re feeling down but someone says something silly and you can’t help but laugh. Realisation dawned on her. “You sent him to Hell. Flesh and Bone. Alive.”
“With a broken nose and ground nuts.” I managed to get out, my voice still kind of raw from crying. Leonard was standing off to the side, looking awkward, unsure when to join the hug or situation. May’s spikes weren’t helping make that decision easier. “Do they all pop like grapes when you stomp them?”
“Eh, I have a lot of experience kicking fuckers in crotches, but never hard enough to make them bust a nut, so I can’t say.” May shrugged a little bit, and helped me stand up, summoning a handkerchief to wipe my face with. “Runny mascara goth look doesn’t work that well with you. Leonard would pull it off better.”
“If I decided to start a band, maybe. Hi Mrs. Lugubra.” Leonard awkwardly waved, the tension in the room easing up. That lasted for a good three seconds. “Oh fuck the beast is staring again.” His shoulders slouched big time, and May, confused about what he meant by beast, turned to look the direction he was looking. She was currently glamoured up, but her eyes broke through the glamour.
“You have a Fae Wolf stalking you?” She turned to face me and Leonard, looking between the two of us. “What the fuck did you two do that you have a Fae Wolf stalking you?” Leonard and I shrugged in unison while looking at each other.
“I hadn’t even left the apartment except for school. The Question started offering delivery for our apartment building for lunch menus, so I didn’t have a reason to go out,” was my reply, accompanied with the pile of take out boxes that were starting to slowly pile up.
“And all I did was go to the book store to grab new tankobons. Ranma 2 in 1 is wonderful and I can’t believe it took them so long to adapt it into a manga from the original fanfic.” Leonard walked over to the window, staring down the Fae Wolf, as May called it, from afar. “So I have no clue what reason a... Fae Wolf? would have to go after us or to stalk this place.”
“Right so you just suddenly have a calm friendly giant puppy of a creature that doesn’t leave it’s den and loves making friends hunting you. For no reason whatsoever.” May held her face and rubbed the bridge of her nose, sighing. “Leonard, I hope you have bestiaries or similar so I can show you what you’re dealing with.” She took off her jacket and hung it up, before proceeding to exit my apartment so as to reach Leonard’s, who rushed right after May to make sure she could enter, leaving me to follow the two of them with a shrug.
“You have every single Monster Guide for DnD but not a single legitimate bestiary?” May was gesturing at Leonard’s bookshelves in frustration.
“In my defense, I never expected I’d have to pick up monster hunting to protect myself.” Leonard raised his finger and his point, earning an eye roll from May.
“Fine, that excuse works. Are you finding any in the library site I gave you or are you on furaffinity or something?” May picked up a book from one of the stacks. “Oh wow, I thought this edition of Portal Problems was out of print. You mind if I borrow it? I really like the Kazuki Takahashi-like illustrations in it done as a gag on the whole Alternate Egyptian Cat Pharaoh Possessing a Trans Girl Egg plot.” Leonard waved his arm in May’s direction, in a ‘sure now bugger off’ gesture, you know the type. Probably. You DEFINITELY know it if you’re a younger child with a cool older sibling. Older siblings and only children? You’re shit out of luck for picturing that move. Oh wait no, workaholic parents do it too. Anyways, May put the book aside, obviously intending to take it with her when she left, right as Leonard yelled out.
“Got one! I think. Why do they all have to have weirdass names instead of like Fae Realm Bestiary 2080 edition?” He turned his laptop screen to myself and May, which currently showed an e-book by the title of ‘The Fantastical, Baffling, Incredible Living Organisms Found Within Spaces Beyond Mortal Understanding’. Author Nicholas Edward Raymond Danielson III., Esquire. What a N.E.R.D.
“Oh fucking hell you found his book. Nick was SUCH an insufferable prick, all ‘I’m gonna be a great adventurer like Cook and Columbus and such!’ after world war one, and he managed to rope me into his bullshit. At least his illustrations are accurate, even if the book reads like a cooking blog.” May grabbed Leonard’s laptop and swiftly scrolled through the tome to find the page describing our adversary. “Here we go, Fae Wolf, or as Nick called them: The Unbelievable Chimera of a Wolf, Hare, Mole and Bird. Dude had access to fucking Tolkien and he didn’t even bother workshopping the names with him.” May shook her head and let Leonard and I read the page at our pace.
I wouldn’t have included Mole in my description of the creature. Its basic shape was that of a giant wolf, but with important differences. The fur on its neck wasn’t fur, but a plume of feathers, capable of hardening and sticking out like a shepherd’s collar. That’s a collar with spikes shepherd dogs are given to protect them from attacks. The Fae Wolf’s front legs appeared strong, beefy, closer to bear paws than wolf ones, with sharp claws to render flesh into bits. So far, understandable. But it’s hind legs? Those were made for leaping. Comparatively skinny when considering its front half, they really evoked the idea of a hare. Or no, wait, a different creature. A much smaller creature. It’s hind legs made me think of a jerboa. Perfect for long leaps forward to catch their prey. Which also somewhat explained their tails. Big, bushy, but capable of fanning out somewhat to form more of a bird tail to help with said leaps. All in all? My reference to Monster Hunter was accurate. “I need to get a Charge Blade. Are those something we can get?” I looked to May, who held back a snort.
“Nobody figured out the mechanics of one yet, sorry Lily. Still, it makes no sense for one to be going after you. Despite the description and their attributes, they’re big sweet softies that don’t realise their size.” May began pacing around the room, you could almost see the smoke coming out of her head from thinking so hard.
“I mean, Lily sent her dad to Hell today, but isn’t there another guy with personal reasons who’d want to mess with your family?” Leonard proposed, which made May stop for just long enough to make it concerning, before she continued moving.
“No way, Khazmiel couldn’t have found this place. He could have followed my trail to Katka’s place, sure, but the tattoo covered my scent from him after that. He couldn’t have followed it to… here…” She stopped, and stared straight ahead. Her gaze was a million miles, her lips trembled, just before she raised her hand to her mouth in worry. “I stopped being the strongest source of my scent, but what was protecting Lily from being tracked was you fucking up the ritual, Leonard. But when I awoke her properly, she became the strongest source of my scent. And we spent a night in your apartment before getting you the tattoo. We took a long way to Katka’s house as well, through Wisteria Way. He must have tracked the scent to this building.” May quickly ran over to me, holding my shoulders, panic in her eyes. “Lily, you need to hide. If he somehow got a Fae Wolf to chase after you, then I have no clue what more he could be capable of. Even with three wings missing he’s still powerful. And I can’t… I can’t…” Tears began flowing from her eyes, and she hugged me, tightly. “I can’t lose you too! I can’t lose you now! My heart broke once, I couldn’t handle it shattering twice!” I hugged May back, gently stroking her hair to calm her down.
“You won’t lose me, grandma. We can face him. We can face whatever he throws at us. We’ve got friends and allies. We’ve got people that care about us, who’d be glad to help.” I turned to Leonard, my gaze full of determination and dedication. “Leonard, we’re cleaning your space up. I think it’s time for a little Neighbor Meeting.”