Original Stories Fan Fiction ❯ Capricious Infection ❯ Act 20: Tale of a Dove Part 1 ( Chapter 20 )
[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Act 20: Tale of a Dove Part 1
A tall girl with dirty, blonde hair and an athletic build peered around the corner. Through her black shades, she scanned the grounds for any possible alien threats. After she saw that the area was clear, she stepped out from behind the demolished wall and gestured to someone. “Come on! This way!” Her low, tomboy voice sounded through the air.
Several children peered out from their hiding places in various areas. Their leader was easy to spot with her long sleeved shirt that was white with red arms, and her short, frayed blue jean skirt with red tennis shoes and matching socks. However, her most familiar traits were being older than they were by a good ten years and having breast length hair that was braided on both sides and hung over their respected shoulders.
The group of minors ran up to the girl in black shades. One of the girls, who held a baby in her arms, asked what the group was going to do now. A boy stated that he had no parents, or anyone he could possibly go to. Everyone who was labeled as an adult in their lives was dead, leaving them to be children of the apocalypse.
“I know, but we have to stick together. Right now, we don't have much of a chance. Not when there's a war going on. We can't defend ourselves, so we have no choice but to hide in the water system tunnels,” the eldest noted as they climbed down one of the many ladders that occasionally littered the tunnels. They finally made it out of harm's way and she was sure that they wouldn't encounter anyone who was a threat down here. “We have to hope that no one finds us.”
Suddenly, multiple, large splashes were heard. Thinking quickly, the eldest grabbed a bow and arrow that had been tied to her back and drew, ready to take aim at whatever fell down below. The younger children behind her huddled together in fear. The little girl clutched her baby close and tried to remain brave, resisting the urge to cry.
The Cut Throat Crew surfaced, sneezing and hacking up the water that flowed into their bodies. They swam over to the ledge of the tunnel, where the girl stepped into view as soon as Boxcars placed his hands on the ledge he was staring down an arrow and an angry looking human.
“Who the hell are you? You obviously aren't human,” she demanded. Like hell she was letting them take a step onto dry land without knowing their intent.
Hearts reached for her pistols but Boxcars held out his hand, ceasing her actions.
“We are the Cut Throat Crew. We don't actually have any business with you and we don't plan on hurting you,” Boxcars' gruff voice wasn't too soothing, but his earnest tone was.
Diamonds slowly rose out of the water and wiped his monocle with his coat tail. “No, not really. We actually came across you by complete mistake.”
“What are you all doing down here, anyway?” Spades was a little confused at why anyone would be in the water way unless it was for tactical warfare. However that theory made little sense considering these were all children.
“What do you think we're doing? We're surviving. Ever since your kind came here, this planet has been nothing but hell. If you want to take it over then leave us out of it.” The human kept her weapon drawn. She didn't trust these dogs for the life of her. If they thought their passive remarks were enough to make her believe them they were wrong.
“I think you have us wrong, my dear. We really aren't like that,” Spades tried to get through to her. He saw how she would assume that they held similar goals to the other aliens but their situation was entirely a result of unfortunate events.
“Tell me something I don't know.”
“She doesn't believe us, does she?” Diamonds felt uneasy with her pointing that arrow at them still.
Clubs snickered, climbing onto the land. “She's probably afraid of Boxcars.”
A look of annoyance crossed Boxcars face as he shoved his foot backwards into Club's gut. The blow sent him back into the water with a splash. He later surface and told the larger dog that he was just kidding.
The girl just smirked. “What idiots.”
“What did you say!?” Clubs shouted and flailed in the water.
A girl finally stepped forward from the crowd of children. “If you're not here to take over then what are you here for?” It didn't make sense that they were just paying the planet a visit or anything.
“We just got here from the warp holes in the sky,” Hearts gave a sincere answer. There wasn't any reason to be afraid of them, despite their looks.
“Warp holes?” Another girl questioned.
“There are a series of war holes in the sky. They are caused by a being named Diablo. Because Diablo is here, more and more holes appear.”
Clubs hung onto the edge of the concrete path. “Because of that, all sorts of beings come here from many different worlds and places in time.”
The girl put down her weapon slowly. “What do they want here? Why are they killing people?”
“Your world is ending,” Boxcars had a simple answer for it. It wasn't the one that she wanted to hear, but it was the right one.
“Like a Sci-Fi movie? What are you guys trying to prove? I've already lost my brother, god knows if my parents are still alive,” she gestured to her following. “All of these guys are homeless. They have no family, no parents. We all found each other and we've been hiding under ground. I take care of them like they were my brothers and sisters. Every now and again, I go up and get food while you all destroy our world.”
“I don't get what everyone is fighting over anyway. This place is just going to end, so what's the point of fighting over doomed soil?” For the life of her, it was the one thing that Hearts couldn't figure out. All of these races just wanted a place that was going to die. It would cease to be livable.
“Oz said something about recreating this world-“Spades was cut off.
“Who is Oz?” The girl was a little lost on how someone could recreate something that was obviously going down the toilet.
“He's an alien with special powers.” That was the best way to describe him without being too technical on things.
“He's a Divine One,” Hearts added, which only brought up more questions.
“Divine One?” She had never heard of such a thing. What did they have to do with being tied to all of the madness going on? Did this mean that their world wasn't going to end? How did that work? Were they going to be run by some weird aliens with the abilities to keep dying planets afloat?
“You don't know about the Divine Ones?” Boxcars was shocked to hear this coming from a human, the very ones that the Divine Ones protected for eons.
The blonde arched an eyebrow and cocked her head. “No. Am I supposed to?”
“The Divine Ones are the great horned beings. They are the supreme law makers of all of time and space. They oversee everything, all aspects of time, space and creation,” Boxcars explained the significance of the Dius race and their creation of the universe.
“They make the rules,” Clubs added.
“Why are they destroying this world?” She prodded them for answers. If they knew of the great horned ones, then maybe they could educate her on what the hell was going on.
“Every planet has a time of ending, a point in which total apocalypse is eminent. You aren't the only ones to succumb to this fate,” Spades explained the planets like dated produce.
“Our planet has given way to destruction. It's long since been destroyed,” Diamonds could sympathize with the humans on Earth.
“So, you have nowhere to go…” That might explain part of the reason the Arcanes were there, but what was the other half. Surely they had some kind of agenda.
“Quite,” Diamonds nodded.
“I'm thinking that the other aliens are fighting over this planet,” Spades knew the assertation was incredibly obvious, but it brought on a topic all its own.
“Their homelands were undoubtedly destroyed as well.” If Hearts had to make a logical guess behind it all that was the route she was going for.
“So, you're telling me some guy named Diablo did all of this?” The human was still confused, but she wanted to know the motives going on here.
“Diablo destroys worlds. That is the role he plays,” Boxcars was a little surprised that she was so far behind on Dius knowledge.
A little girl spoke up. “Can't we stop Diablo from killing everyone?”
“Diablo isn't responsible for death. That's the work of the Grand High Messiah.”
“Grand High Messiah?” Another child spoke up.
“Who is that?” A boy asked.
“Another Divine One,” Hearts clarified.
“He's Death,” Clubs climbed out of the water and shook off.
“How many of these “Divine Ones” are there?” The girl in shades asked. It seemed like there were far too many to take out, even if she wanted to make the warp holes disappear in that fashion.
“There are thirteen in all. They each have respected titles and control elements of our lives: Unwine The Balancer, The Grand High Messiah, Tarvos, Diablo of the Chaos, Dredge the Illusionist, Karkatta the Miserable, Oz of Time, Calypso of Space, Pregmacia The Paradox Keeper, Cenobia of the Life stream, Hepesta the Mage of Life, Maya the Eternal, Zedainga the Mage of Doom, and Arnea the Revolutionary. These are the Divine Ones.” Hopefully that caught her up on things; at least it was an introduction to the world of the Dius race. Spades could only imagine what a rush of new information this must be for the girl and her companions.
“So, they're like gods?” Or at least, they had titles like gods according to what the dog man was saying. If they were over all of these aspects, then she thought them to be main factors of why the planet was coming to an end. Not to mention, it made her question her religion a little. Never had she heard about this in any sermon that was preached to her.
“Heh, you could say that,” Clubs remarked.
“Aren't god supposed to watch over humans and protect them?” A little boy questioned. He thought that gods were being that people could rely on; being that showed them mercy and provided them with stability and support.
This seemed to be quite the opposite.
“How do we fight a god? Talk about impossible odds,” the girl in shades sighed and placed a hand to her forehead. This was a lost battle, and she didn't see how they would make it much longer.
Hearts' next words only slammed down another helping of doom on her shoulders. “You can't beat him. Chaos is ever-present.”
“Are you saying that I just have to sit around and watch this place crumble at my feet?” She didn't like that idea in the slightest. There was nothing that made her feel more miserable than the fact that she could do nothing as the world caved in on itself.
Part of her refused to believe that her situation was that futile.
“Well, you could always go on a bit of a quest with us,” Diamonds found this to be the perfect opportunity. If this girl really wanted to save the children, why not reconstruct Arcane with them? If even they were only human, they could help out in great ways.
The blonde placed her hands on her hips. “Quest?” She wasn't sure that she liked the sound of it, but she was willing to listen to what they had to say.
“Quite, you see, we are trying to find a stone called the Blood Ruby. We need it in order to alter time. If we can make the alteration, we'll set things right and rid ourselves of the Divine Ones,” Diamonds only told half of the story, but he would worry about the consequences of his actions at a later time. The opportunity was prime to gain more allies.
Hearts held up a clawed finger with a smile. “Plus, we'll both have our homes back.” Earth would be unscathed and no longer in the realm of apocalypse if time could be reconstructed.
“Where is this Blood Ruby?” The blonde was still a little skeptical. How did she know they weren't trying to rope her into doing what they wanted?
“It's buried within the device known as the Time Sword,” Diamonds was for sure that was where the other half of it was. Who knew where his precious Dimension Sword went off to, but if they acquired that sword they could bring both weapons together.
“Where is the sword at?” She arched an eyebrow.
“Some kid with black hair and shades has it and he won't give it up without a fight. He's using it to help the Divine Ones,” Hearts knew of David's mission to become a Time Guardian.
This piqued the human's attention. “Black-haired guy with shades? You wouldn't happen to know his name, would you?” Surely it couldn't be him. She thought he was dead.
“His name is David,” Clubs answered her question.
This was giving her a strange sense of hope. This meant that surely, he was out there somewhere and he hadn't been killed in the carnage. “David? What was his last name?”
“I believe his whole name was David Ryzek.”
The girl stood stock still as the epiphany hit her like a sack of rocks. She took off her shades, revealing her blue eyes, widened in shock. “David…Ryzek? Are you sure?” So much shock was laced in her voice that she could barely muster up a tone to speak in.
“It's what I heard.” Hearing and knowing were two different things, but Clubs was sure that he had it right.
“Do you know that boy?” Boxcars was a little confused at what was going on.
“That boy is my little brother,” the blonde revealed herself as being a member of the Ryzek household. This moment in time made her happy beyond belief, but it also caused questions to rise. Why was he with the Divine Ones? The very aliens that were destroying them as if they were defects? Maybe David was brain washed to the truth.
“Your kin? Then you can get the sword for us,” Hearts was happy. Nothing could have been more perfectly executed than the fact that the one they sought was related to the one they found. Now all they had to do was reunite them and they would have taken a large step in getting closer to brining the Arcanes back from the brink of extinction.
“Why is he helping the Divine Ones?” David wasn't the type who would do something without reason.
“We aren't sure. There are several humans who help them,” Spades didn't know their intentions, but perhaps they were granted a special immunity in exchange for their cooperation.
“Maybe Diablo promised to spare them if they helped destroy the world,” Hearts thought that could be a fair assumption considering their lives would be chaos free and they would be able to raise the new world in any fashion they chose.
“Then I have to save them. They don't know what they're doing. Those Divine Ones, what do they look like?” This girl was serious about saving what was left of humanity. There was no way that she was just going to lay down and take it while humans were betrayed and led astray by the corrupt words of the so called gods.
Hearts explained to her that they all had white skin and horns. Most of them had black hair, although there was a pink-haired one who existed. She proceeded to question if all of them were actually on Earth, since they controlled multiple types of elements, they could possibly be spread across the galaxy or even throughout alternate paradoxes. The only ones Diamonds had seen were Oz, Tarvos, Diablo and Pregmacia. He wasn't aware of any of the others.
“I have to get my brother away from them. If I don't, they'll destroy everything.”
“I have an idea. Why don't you become a member of the Cut Throat Crew?” Boxcars was the first to make the offer. If she did, they could help each other with their goals. They would capture her human sibling and seize his sword. In a way, it got them both what they wanted.
The girl arched an eyebrow. “The what?”
“Right, we never introduced ourselves, did we?”
“We are the Cut Throat Crew. We are pretty much a group of renegades who are trying to tip the scales in our favor and rewrite a terrible past,” Diamonds provided some back ground on their group.
“Are you sure that you can do this with the Blood Ruby?” She didn't want to go into an agreement without any type of assurance that the plan was going to work, or at least what they were after was a sure fire remedy to their problems. The end of the world was at stake, and she wasn't about to forsake everything for a possibility.
The members began introducing themselves. First, Clubs Cutlass simply stated his name. Diamonds Debonair made a formal introduction and took his pipe from his mouth, bowing and kissing her hand. The human girl was just a bit weirded out about that event. She didn't know how to feel about alien dogs who kissed people's hands. The concept was just strange. Spades Sapporo made his introduction, followed by Sides Boxcars and Hearts Dahlia who then asked her for her name.
“My name is Dove Ryzek. I just gotta wonder though…why David is helping the Divine Ones. I feel like something doesn't make sense.” That suspicion alone brought a hand to her chin. She didn't want to believe that David had been brainwashed so easily.
The whole situation bothered her, and the missing information was the worst part about it.
“Maybe when you find him, you can ask him,” Spades brought up a suggestion that he was also curious about. “Quite frankly, I'd like to know the answer to that myself. Why would they assist their own planet's downfall unless they had something promised to them?'
Dove felt a furry arm hook around her as she turned to stare into the blank eyes and smug expression of Clubs. “For now, you'll be with us, a tried and true member of the Cut Throat Crew.”
“Our first non-Arcane member. It's jolly good news, it is,” Diamonds smiled with mirth. Now that they had a human on their side, it would give them a home field advantage, at least for certain situations.
Dove sighed. “How did I get pulled into this?”
Hearts glanced over her shoulder at the group of children. “That's good and well, but what will we do with these guys?” They certainly couldn't bring them along. It would just make them targets.
“They should be safe down here. Above anything, I don't want them harmed.” That was Dove's only request, to protect the future of their race.
Boxcars squinted his eyes. Were they really being assigned to play knights to a group of human brats?
“You're not going to leave us, are you Dove?” A little boy asked, his face riddled with fear and worry.
“We don't know what we'd do without you,” a girl agreed. Dove was the one who held the whole group together.
“Yeah, you're our fearless leader,” another boy added to the sentiment.
“Oh my! You have quite the following!” Diamonds glanced at the group of adolescents. They seemed to really look up to their newest member. He sort of felt sorry that he couldn't take them with him.
Clubs looked a little peeved. “How are we supposed to get that ruby with these kids tagging along?” He jerked his thumb to the group.
“I have an idea,” Boxcars offered.
“You do?” Spades was interested.
“We can leave them here, underground.” They were already safe there, so why not? It wasn't going to hurt anything and he was sure that no one would find them within the depths of the tunnel maze.
Diamonds frowned in disapproval. “That's rather unhealthy. Without sunlight, they'll be in terrible shape.”
Spades smiled for a moment with a happy expression. “I have an idea.”
“I'm almost afraid to ask,” Boxcars knew all about Spade's “ideas” and most of them were off the beaten path or confusing. That and the other half were roulette plans with lives.
“No, it's a good idea. Let's move the children to that far-off, abandon village. Once the aliens go through a village and kill everyone, they just keep moving on. It'll be away from the conflict. It's the perfect plan,” he was proud of himself for thinking of it. This way, Dove got her wish and the children would be safe without their presence.
“I say, that will be like having their village,” Diamonds supported the thought. In a way, it would be like building their own little neighborhood.
“That's actually a good idea. They can stay there until I get back,” Dove smiled. She was up for it.
Clubs snickered and turned towards the group. “So, how do you like that, huh? How would you like to have your own city?”
The children all cheered in agreement and chattered in excitement to each other. This was like a dream come true. They would be protected and could live peacefully away from the carnage.
A girl in a shabby purple dress ran up to Dove with eyes full of hope. “You'll come back to us, won't you Miss Dove?”
Dove turned and gave the girl a thumbs up. “You bet. I'm way too cool to die.” Walking over to her new team, she put a hand on Spade's shoulder. “With a team like this, I can't fail.”
The abandon town was a very small place, and few small buildings as well as an old jail and a few small stores still existed. The rest of the place had been destroyed and nothing but sand littered the ground. It was like a picturesque ghost town, but perfect for the children to inhabit.
The silence that hung over the place was like death had passed through and grimly wisped all of the souls up in some simultaneous rapture. The only sound that could be heard was the winds gently blowing through the hollow structures.
“Damn, it's desolate here,” Dove was overcome with a sense of loneliness just by looking at it. It was disheartening and drab.
Clubs snickered. “No one can hear you scream,” he joked, only to be smacked in the head by Hearts. He hollered in pain and placed both hands over the afflicted area.
Hearts cast him an irritated scowl. “We want the feeling of serenity not homicide.”
Dove looked at the group with an incredulous gaze. “Are you sure we'll be safe here?”
“There's nothing around to harm them. They have wells; nothing looks like it's been raided too much. There should also be food here,” Hearts began to name off all of the positive aspects of the place, to help put the human's heart at ease.
Dove put her hands on her hips and rested her weight to one side. “Well, what do you guys think?” She glanced to her group of children, who began to laugh and talk excitedly among themselves. She looked back to the Cut Throat Crew. “Hm, I guess they think it's cool. If I join your Cut Throat Crew, there's one thing I want you guys to do.”
Clubs smirked. “Oh? You're making demands?”
“Sort of. You asked me to be in your group, you know,” she wasn't begging them, they had approached her. She could easily just choose to live in this abandon village with the children.
Clubs' ears folded back and a scowl crossed his muzzle. “We don't really need you,” this girl should have been happy that they made the offer, much less going through the trouble to find a suitable village for her little pile of cretins to live in. What nerve!
“Then I won't bother,” she put two fingers into the air and turned to walk off. “Peace out.”
Dove only got a few steps before Spades was in front of her with his arms out and a look of alarm on his face. “No! I apologize for my team mate's…foul behavior,” he bowed his head and folded his ears back like a scolded dog. He was desperate to keep her on good terms with them. “The truth is…we need all of the help we can get, so please…help us…”
“Make up your minds. We're wasting time like this. “Either they were going to follow her one wish or she was going to walk away. There was no negotiation.
“I want you to join the Cut Throat Crew.” If anything, he wanted her to know his sincerity. Maybe he could win her back.
“Well, aren't we nice?”
“Wants to murder everything,” Boxcars finished his sentence.
“I say, I'd be cheerful as could be if you joined us. Please, Miss Dove. Do reconsider. After all, we have a common goal. You do want to help the children, don't you?” Diamonds needed her for many reasons. She knew where to find that sword, and having her around would mean that they would eventually come across David. Not only that, she could serve as a guide and teach them things about her planet.
Dove glared at him through her shades. “Then listen to me this time.”
Hearts was silent, and Spades told her to go ahead.
“This is how it's going to be. If I join your crew, then you have to protect these kids. They're survivors of my race and the only hope we have. Make sure that they all survive.” If even one of them died from invasion, Dove was going to leave. That was her ultimatum.
“I say, we can't surely do that one-hundred percent.” It was ridiculous for her to demand that type of output, especially because they could not physically be around to protect them like she wanted.
“We'll try our best. That's all that we can promise,” Hearts decided to accept in an inadvertent way. Surely Dove would know the circumstances if they could not keep their word.
“Good enough, I'll be in your crew then. Consider me your first human member.”
“It'll be nice not being the only girl here,” Hearts felt sort of happy with the fact that Dove was now a member of her group. The overpowering amount of testosterone could drown her out at times.
“I can see how.” Especially with guys like Clubs and Boxcars around. Dove wondered how she got a handle on those two. “By the way, if you guys want me to help you look for David, then you're going to have to tell me about the Divine Ones too.”
Fair was fair.
“No one knows completely about them, but we can tell you all that we know,” Diamonds offered. As smart as the Arcane were, even they had limited knowledge on the Divine Ones.
“Fair enough. I can't ask you for what you don't know.” Then she cast a threatening gaze towards them and held up her bow/ “Oh, and word of warning, you backstab me and I'll ram an arrow up your ass, got it?”
Diamonds was taken aback by her language. “Oh my! How improper for a lady!”
“I'm not a proper lady, deal with it. Let's help the kids set up. After that, we'll go and look for your ruby.”
A girl ran up to them at that moment, causing their gazes to be casted in her direction with arms full of ears of corn. She called out to Dove and announced her findings. Dove complimented her on a job well done and instructed her to talk to the other children and find one specific place that they agree on to gather any food they find. That way the children could establish a food supply. The girl agreed and ran off to find the others.
Hearts stared at her with admiration in her eye. “You know how to get things done. I'm impressed.”
Dove sort of chuckled to herself in irony. “I used to go to survival training classes. That stuff works wonders. Never thought I'd use it in an apocalypse though.”
Diamonds glanced to his bulky side kick, “I suppose we should help them out, right Boxcars?”
“Why are you looking at me? Do what you want,” Boxcars grumbled. Out of all of the people that mutt could have looked to; he decided to cast him the volunteer gaze. This was just great. He was a warrior, not someone who helped reconstruct homes and design ways to make people live easier.
“I'm sure the kids would like it. They might be happy to know that not all aliens are evil and want to eat their souls,” Dove cast the brawny psychic a knowing look. Out of everyone in the Cut Throat Crew, Boxcars was the one most likely to never be approached by women or children. He was flat out scary and his size alone was foreboding.
“Good heavens no! We're actually not war-like at all.” Contrary to Boxcar's career, none of them were truly hostile. The only thing that made them that way was their situation and willingness to acknowledge primal instincts as a method of survival after Arcane's destruction.
“Believe it or not, we used to be Oracles,” Hearts admitted.
“Oracles? That's pretty badass. So, what exactly are you guys anyway?” Dove had been wondering that for a while. It was amazing that they had such interesting jobs, but what exactly was an Arcane…besides a giant humanoid dog who used telepathy to speak to her?
“We are a race called Arcanes. We are powerful psychics and we speak with our minds rather than our mouth.” That was a basic summary of it all. Spades decided to let the obvious sink in for a moment, and see what questions she had resulting from those statements.
“Maybe you guys could teach me how to do that.” How cool would that be? To be telepathic. They were lucky to be able to be born with such intelligence.
“I have heard that humans have psychic abilities, but are unable to activate them in normal circumstances.” Of course, that may have been a myth, but it was interesting nonetheless.
“This is coming from a race that doesn't use all of their brain,” Dove sighed. Compared to these guys, humans lacked in brain power.
“Should you really have said it so simply?” Clubs wondered why she would insult her own race like that. She certainly wasn't making a good impression on them with talk like that.
“It's true, and what?” That didn't mean they were complete morons…okay, that didn't mean that she was a complete moron.
“You certainly are honest,” Diamonds could feel the sweat running down the back of his head at that nervous comment.
Dove merely shrugged. “I guess. It's not every day that you meet psychic talking dogs.”
“I say, what are these dogs you speak of?” Little did Diamonds know that he was opening a can of worms that would send shock through the veins of every Arcane in the vicinity. He had been called a dog by several people. He was curious to know what they were.
“They look like you guys, but they walk on four legs,” Dove explained before saying the sentence that struck horror in their hearts. “Humans keep them as pets.”
“How dreadful!” Diamonds recoiled. The thought of slavery sickened him, and to know that humans enslaved other beings that resembled them made him paranoid to question the topic further.
Dove waved at him. “Nah, we call them `man's best friend'. They get treated just like we do.” Well, most of them did, but she didn't think they needed to know any more than that. It was already awkward; there was no need to get into a deep discussion that would cause them not to trust her.
“So, your race enslaves other races?” Clubs just had to bring that up.
“I guess…” Dove's words were perplexed. “Never thought about it that way before, though. My question was about you guys, though. Can you tell me about your race?”
Anything to get her away from the topic at hand. Little did she know that she was about to know the extent of why the Arcanes reacted so badly to her dialogue about dogs.
…To Be Continued