Wolf's Rain Fan Fiction ❯ Lullaby for a Stormy Night ❯ Chapter 5- Return to Innocence ( Chapter 5 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

Chapter 5- Return to Innocence
Heart glanced over her shoulder to check on the other 3 younger wolves behind her as she walked at Tsumes flank while they all followed Kiba's lead in the forest of silence. She mentally counted off each one and frowned when one was missing.
“Toboe's falling behind.” She said quietly.
Hige perked his ears up and also looked over his shoulder to see that Akira's side was vacant of one wolf runt that seemed to attach himself there as of lately. He searched the path behind them and rolled his eyes when he saw the pup nervously looking around.
“Hey! Runt, keep up or you'll get left behind!” he called.
Toboe quickly darted through the forest to catch up to the rest of the makeshift pack at Akira's side once again.
Akira noticed that Toboe was looking around nervously and turned her head to fully look down at him with her curious orange eyes, “What's wrong, Toboe?”
“It's strange…. I mean, we're in a forest, but there are no animals around. Not even foot prints or sounds of them. I can barely smell anything besides us and I haven't smelt the flower since we left the cave back there. Well, besides you, Akira” Toboe blushed a little embarrassed when he mentioned her smell. It was so close to that smell Kiba said was the Lunar Flower that the only difference was the scent of wolf on her as well. She smelt so nice that Toboe found himself wanting to stay close to her to simply breathe that scent if nothing else.
“Well, what'd you expect, Runt, you're a wolf aren't you?” Hige rolled his eyes back to them, “They probably turned tail and ran for safety soon as they caught whiff of us.”
Toboe's eyes widened in realization, “I never thought of that…,”
Hige sighed and slouched his shoulders, “And this is why you should never take a city kid to the wilderness.”
“Come off it, Hige.” Heart scolded, “You were probably worse than Toboe at that age with a nose like yours. I can only imagine where it's taken you when you ran through your first forest like this.”
Hige gave her a dirty look before he started to change subject, “well, he's right about one thing. Other than Akira, I haven't caught the flower scent at all.”
Now it was Tsumes turn for dirty looks, except his was directed to Kiba's back, “Mind enlightening us on where we're going?”
“To paradise,” Kiba said with out a second thought or glance back as he walked on.
“And just what the hell are we going by? You can't tell me you've been there before or you'd never have come back.”
“I'm going by instinct.”
Those few words stopped everyone dead in their tracks.
“Instinct?” Akira cocked her head to the side, then shrugged with a goofy smile, “Well that takes care of that then! Let's go!” she trotted off to catch up with Kiba leaving the others to stare blankly after her.
“Instincts are great and all….. But when one chooses to base a journey off them…,” Heart started.
“It tends to end in hell,” Tsume groaned.
Suddenly, an ear piecing sound shot through the forest and all 6 wolves cringed at its intensity.
Tsume looked up with a pissed off glare, “That noise…,”
“It's an air ship.” Hige confirmed as he too looked up.
Heart growled in annoyance, “It's probably some stuck up Noble passing over head”
“Noble?” Akira cuffed her ears to try and muffle out the sound as she stood by Kiba's side while the white wolf looked through the sky to spot the threat, “You mean those people who run the cities and the other humans?”
“That's them” Hige nodded, “Their ships have so much power running through them that they make this weird sound when they're activated, but it doesn't bother them since they're all human and cant hear it.”
“Argh, I hate that noise,” Toboe gave his own glare up at the sky where they knew it was coming from.
Akira started picking at her ears as her ear drums started to itch from all the ringing, “You know what, so am I. It's almost as bad as the soldiers singing in the showers!”
“Do we even want to know how you came to find that out?” Tsume snorted.
“I sure don't.” Heart dead panned.
Akira's fur bristled nervously and she laughed embarrassed, “Well…. You- you see…,”
The air ship was now visible as it darted in and out of the clouds to avoid red laser weapons attacking it from a ship nearly 2 times its size! The ground rumbled as the missed lasers shot through the ground instead. The wolves braced themselves as the ground beneath them trembled in response, but Akira had a different feeling.
This one was comforting. It beckoned her to come back to it. She could almost hear a voice calling her name softly. Closing her eyes as she braced against another attack impact on the quivering ground beneath her, Akira saw someone familiar hanging suspended in that liquid filled globe as she slept on. The pure scent of flowers wafted to her nostrils and she snapped her eyes open excitedly.
“It's her!” Akira's voice was barely heard from the continuing attacks from above from the war ship pursuing the smaller Nobles ship.
“What?!” Heart called for verification.
Akira turned to her with joy in her orange eyes, “That's Cheza! She's here!” Akira took off with out even a second thought of leaving the safety of the others.
Heart watched as fear gripped her insides while the young wolf ran directly toward the hailing attacks of the lasers, “Akira!”
“Damn! What's gotten into her! She'll be running straight for her own death if she goes that way!” Hige gasped.
“Why'd she run like that?” Toboe wanted to run after her, but the fear of the unknown and the air ships above made him stay with the others.
“She's a crazy wench that's why. She'll be doing us a favor by going into something for suicide.” Tsume snorted.
“You're such a Moronic Bastard!” Heart hissed.
“Yeah, well you're a Fucking Bitch. So we're even”
“Why YOU-,”
Suddenly, Kiba took off after Akira as the Nobles air ship descended down toward earth to crash.
“Kiba!” Tsume called out as he started after him with Heart not far behind.
“Now HIM too?” Hige groaned, “Argh! What is wrong with you people! Come on runt,” Hige motioned for Toboe to follow as the last 2 wolves ran after the rest.
Hige's nose started to pick up something now and he looked to the sky in disbelief, “Wait a minute… that scent!”
“What is it?!” Toboe asked at his side.
“That's her! Cheza! Akira was right!” Hige and Toboe looked up to see the flower maiden herself spiraling down with her arms stretched out as she fell through the sky with a smile on her face.
Up ahead, Akira's orange eyes spied the peek that Cheza was headed to. The soft voice in the back of her head called out her name as if to find her.
`Akira…. Akira?' it called.
“Cheza! I'm coming! I found you again and this time I have friends too! Just hang on a little longer Cheza, and we'll see each other soon” Akira called back out loud.
The voice giggled, `This one is happy to hear your voice again. This one is also happy you have met him'
Akira's eyes narrowed, `Him?' she thought.
The red wolf slid to a stop as she came up to the towering cliff of the peak Cheza had landed by now.
She stopped just long enough that Kiba had caught up to her and he was just entering the small clearing at the foot of the cliff when she steeled herself and made a powerful leap to start climbing up the cliff side.
“Akira,” he called as he too jumped up to start the perilous climb. His leap was stronger than her own and landed him a good few yards a head of her as she struggled to climb. She had never done something like this before. He glanced down when the others also were on the cliff to see her still at rear of the group struggling to keep up.
She noticed their worried glances and shook her head at them, “Don't stop! I'm fine! Just get to Cheza as fast as you can!” she called back.
Heart gave her a `Yeah-Right' look, “Says the runt of a wolf that is struggling to stay on a nearly vertically standing cliff while trying to get to the peak.” She sighed sarcastically.
Akira growled at the barb, “Get GOING!” she shouted, “I'll get there soon enough so quit worrying about me!”
Soon as she said that however, her left foot slipped from its place she put almost all her weight on so she could reach another grid in mountain side and the red head scratched at the side to grab something to catch her but she couldn't stop herself as she fell from the mountain side.
“AKIRA!!!” Heart cried out and was about to jump from her own place on the cliff to save her before Tsume held her in place, “LET ME GO YOU BASTARD! SHE'LL DIE!”
“Then it's useless to try and save her if you'll die as well!” he shouted back.
A flash of white shot pass their vision as Kiba's wolf form was practically running head first down the mountain after the falling red wolf.
“Kiba!” Toboe shouted in fear.
“Sheesh! He'll kill himself trying to save her like that!” Hige's eyes were wide with fear and worry even though his words were seemingly indifferent.
Akira felt like she should have screamed for her life, but she didn't. It was just too unreal to be falling down a mountain like this. Cheza was only a few 100 yards away and here she is falling to her death, but she didn't feel the need to cry out in fear as she would have. She saw Heart and the others on the rocks above her as time seemed to slow down in slow motion as she fell. Her eyes relaxed as she looked up at them. A flash of her father and Shura came to her. They were smiling at her as if they were welcoming her home. In Shura's arms were 2 cubs. One was a deep golden color and the other was half deep golden and half light cream like its mother. A third pup was in her father's arms, Sasuke. It was dark chocolate brown with even darker paws and the tip of its muzzle was black.
So it was triplets after all.
The image of her family flashed away and Akira's eyes dilated as they refocused on the living world around her. She didn't have time to react to the white fur coming at her before he body was snatched out of the air and the breath was knocked out of her as her back was slammed back to the mountain side. Whatever was keeping her there didn't have a good grasp on the side yet so they slid down a few more feet before knife like claws dug into the rock and held them in place. Cuts and bruises marred her back painfully as the jagged side of the mountain rock bit at Akira's back and she whimpered at the sudden pain.
“Are you alright?” that was Kiba's voice!
Akira's vision snapped up to the face of her savor and sure enough it was the white wolf himself looking down at her with those golden eyes as his k-9 body held her fast to the mountain side with only a little bit of difficulty.
The red wolf's eyes stared at him in disbelief. She opened her mouth to reply but no words came out. Looking down she saw that the foot of the mountain was still a ways to go, but they had fallen from over half way to the top of the mountain and now they were just below half of it.
“Akira?” she looked back up when he called her name worriedly.
“Why did you do that?” her voice was soft, “I could have caused your death when you tried to save me. Why would you put yourself at risk when you know how much the others need you! How much Cheza needs you?” Akira's wolf orange eyes shimmered.
“Wolves don't make promises they can't keep.” Kiba said as he situated her so she could start climbing again, but then decided against it when he saw how torn her back was from the friction of the hard rock when they slid to a stop. Instead, he shifted her so he could carry her and climb back to the others, “Zali wanted me to protect you. That's a promise I can and will keep.”
“Zali?” Akira hadn't remembered Zali saying anything about that. She tried to insist that she didn't need Kiba's help any more as she started to wiggle her way off his back to get back to climbing the mountain, but Kiba's powerful leap up the mountain made her grip to him instinctively, “Ok. Ok, Ok.” She gasped as they shot up through the air again, “You saved me; I'm okay now so you can let me down already! I can still climb.”
“It's faster this way. You're still not use to this environment.” Kiba said with finality in his tone.
The others looked on as the white wolf carried the grumbling red wolf pass them and continued on up the mountain.
Toboe sighed in relief as they started to climb again with new vigor to keep up with the unyielding white wolf, “That was a close call.”
“I should have realized this would be hard for her. She's never been in a forest before.” Heart berated herself before she quickened her pace to catch up.
“Never?!” Hige snorted in disbelief, “What the hell has she been doing all her life if she hasn't even been in a forest?”
“She was born and raised in Free City's Keep near the labs that were soon to hold Cheza. If we were in the city, Akira wouldn't have fallen off the side of a building we scale or something like that. However, since she's so focused on finding this …. `Cheza' flower she probably forgot that she's still new to all of this.” Heart sighed in after thought, “She can be simple minded like that.”
“And Darcia thought he could take back the Flower Maiden from us,” a soldier snorted from his post near the Flower Maiden's scientist, Cher, “I wander if he realized how stupid he really was to think such a thing when his ship is crashing to the ground!”
“You fools! We could have hurt Cheza!” Cher whopped the soldier upside the head, “Thank GOD the reading says she's not harmed though.” Cher looked back at the tracking device she had to help find Cheza. It once allowed her to find the pup, Akira as well, but Akira hasn't been seen in a long time now. So Cher thought she'd wound up some where with a family to care for, knowing how loving the pup could be.
So why was that red spark that showed Akira was near by flashing on the small screen?
“A… Akira?” Cher whispered.
“You say something?” the chief asked.
Cher straightened up quickly, “It's nothing, but…. I just think this machine is a little over used. It's showing that my … Dog is near.” Cher covered.
“If it is near, it's probably dead by now with all the laser shots that missed Darcia's ship.”
Cher didn't say anything as she stared curiously at the screen. It showed Akira approaching Cheza.
`Akira…. Are you searching for Cheza too?' she thought.
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“For the last time, Man,” Akira groaned from Kiba's back, “It's my back that was injured! Not my feet or my legs! I can damn well walk!”
And like he had been doing for the past 30 minutes, Kiba was ignoring her and refusing to let her down from where he held her on his back.
Akira didn't like to be ignored when she thought it was important like this, “KIBA!” she hissed.
“Just but the god damned wench down before she blows a hole in my ear drums Kiba.” Tsume snarled, “She's starting to sound like the Runts whining.”
“I don't whine!” Toboe puffed up in defense.
“Yeah, you're right, you just whimper a lot.” Hige laughed when the pup deflated.
“Just because I said I have a weird feeling in my chest doesn't mean anything like I whine too much or whimper!” by now, Toboe was blushing from how hard his heart was pounding. A few minutes back, he'd asked Kiba if that was the feeling he was going by to find Cheza. The white wolf was trying to hold the struggling red wolf in place stubbornly as Akira decided it was time for him to let her down, but nodded his head any ways.
“Man my hearts pounding even harder than before! Its like the further we go, the stronger this feeling becomes.” Toboe whispered.
Hige had a silly grin plastered on his face, “Yeah, I know! This is that cool feeling you get just before you pounce on a pretty girl!”
Heart shot him a disturbed look, “You pervert!” she hissed.
“Hey, you feel it too! Even Tsume feels it!” Hige retorted.
“I'm not overly excited like some porky wolves here,” Tsume said brashly.
Suddenly, Akira started to double her efforts to get down, “Kiba! Let me down already!” she hissed in frustration at the stronger wolf that held her easily in place.
With a sigh, Kiba let go of her and she plopped to the ground with a yelp of surprise and blinked disoriented from the spot she sat on the ground. She shook her head and shot a glare up at the dark brown haired humanoid form of Kiba who watched her with an amused expression in those blue eyes.
With a huff she stood up and dusted her pants off. With one last glance at him and the others, her attention was focused on the path ahead as if someone had called her name. Everyone knew a body of water was very close by. It was only a matter of time before they came in contact with it.
“There! That's where she's calling,” Akira took off quickly for the path toward the water.
“There she goes AGAIN off on her own!” Hige sighed, “If she almost fell off a cliff last time, who knows what'll happen this time.”
“Don't say things like that,” Heart chided him as they followed Kiba. Unlike Akira, the others chose to walk at a fast pace rather than run. It wasn't that far off, just pass these trees.
Sun light bore down on them as they saw the clearing come to view. A soft bluff of rich green grass rolled down to a small lake in the middle with ruined remains of a noble's castle cast around the lake. A water fall hit one of the ruins and created a more complicated water way of a waterfall before it poured into the lake water. It was a wondrous sight to see all in its self, but what caught their eyes was the red fox coated wolf that stood in the shallows of the water cuddling up to a maiden with pale pink hair and ruby eyes that showed evidence of her blindness. She wore a strange body suit with designed holes in it and remains of her bindings used to hold her in the globe tank back at the lap clung to her limbs.
She was kneeling in the water holding the neck of the red wolf to her chest with a joyous smile on her face. Akira's red, white, and black colored tail swayed back and forth in a happy gesture with her back to the others who stood there shocked.
“That's….. That's her?” Toboe gasped.
“It would seem like…. I never thought the flower maiden would look so…. Young.” Heart whispered.
“It's really her?” Tsume watched wryly.
Cheza stood up from her knelt position and looked up to the voices she heard. Though she couldn't see them, she smiled up at them. She could feel the wolves near.
“Akira, your friends have come. The one this one is so happy you've met the white moon one. He is here.” She said softly to the red wolf at her side.
Akira looked over her shoulder and just now noticed that what the flower said was true.
“Cheza, who are you talking about?” she asked.
Cheza just looked down at her with a smile of some one who knew something wonderful was unfolding before them, “This one can not tell you yet.”
“Cheza” Akira pleaded half heartedly as her curious nature from her fox half begged for her to find out this mystery the Flower maiden was giving her.
Toboe clutched a hand to his chest as the flower maiden smiled up at them, “My heart just skipped a beat!”
“Calm down, pup before you do something too premature for your age.” Tsume only half heartedly jibed at the young wolf.
Kiba started to walk forward.
“Just hold on a second!” Tsume reached out to pull the young man back, but Heart stopped him.
“Let him go. If Akira trusts this girl, then the least we could do is show her trust as well.” Heart said with out taking her eyes off the seen playing out before them.
Akira backed away a little for Kiba to approach the flower maiden.
Blue eyes looked down at her softly before returning to the flower maiden, “Cheza,” he spoke.
Cheza's eyes widened then softened as well as if he were her dear friend she hadn't come in contact with in so long. She reached out her hands and stroked his soft fur on his cheeks before moving down his neck and hugging the white wolf to her in an embrace.
“We meet. At last,” she whispered.
Akira nuzzled the girls back lovingly with a happy whine.
“Ah, I wish I was the one being held like that.” Toboe sighed.
“Can that really be….,” Tsume was still not sure about this.
“Yeah, that's her defiantly. That's the flower maiden.” Hige said with a happy tone.
Heart glanced back at Tsume to gage his reaction to all this before turning to look back at the tender scene of the maiden embracing the 2 wolves.
“Akira has finally found a peace of her that has been taken. All this time, everyone she's ever loved has been stolen from her life, but here, Cheza has been able to reunite with her. Even if Shura and Sasuke are unable to return to Akira in this world, there is no doubt in my mind that this marks the hope that's still left here.” Hearts tender words took time to seep into every one, but they were welcome into their hearts.
“Who knows, maybe Jazz'll come back too.” Heart shrugged.