The house they had given us was smaller compared to mister Smirnie's but it was more than big enough for Satoshi and me. Frankly, a bedroom and washroom was enough for us, so the house was almost too big.
Satoshi had tucked himself into the bed and I was making my way to him back from the loo when I noticed a silhouette outside the bedroom.
Those asshole wolf people! They couldn't beat Satoshi in a straight fight so they wanted to kill us in our sleep.
The intruder sounded feminine.. and familiar.
"Perripi? They sent you to kill us?"
"Who sent who to kill whom?"
Was she pretending to not know anything?
"Your people. Didn't they send you to attack us?"
"Why would they?"
Was she really unaware of what had happened earlier when we had just arrived? I don't remember seeing her there so it was possible.
"Then why are you here?"
"I want to copulate with Satoshi."
"I want to copulate with Satoshi."
"I didn't ask you to repeat it!"
Was this girl dumb?
"No, I asked 'what'! It means 'what do you mean?'"
"Then you should have specified."
"No, it's not."
Hah! She changed topics! Means I won. Hmph.
"I want to have sexual intercourse with Satoshi."
"I know what copulate means. I want to know why!"
She was just playing with me.
"Can you decide on what you want to know?"
"I want to know everything when it comes to Satoshi."
I was only greedy when it came to him. I could never have enough of him.
"So just know that I'm going to take his seed and let me through."
"What do you mean 'take his seed'?"
"I'm going to remove his lower garments, take his long hard thing and stroke it till.."
This girl was giving me a headache.
"Let me make it as direct as possible. Why do you want his seed?"
"Because I'll never get a chance again. Just seeing his power once was enough to rouse my womanly instincts for reproduction. As if that display of his power wasn't enough, he took me out to fly. It was the best 10 minutes of my life! I had never felt so good before. I knew at that moment that I knew I had to mate with him. And as if even that wasn't enough, he's straight out of a legend!? Are you for real!? I had never seen magic in my life, other than uncle Bom but you're telling me he's one of the best in the entire world!? I'd be stupid to let this opportunity go. It would be stupid for anyone to let it go. I claim every woman in the village should come here and ingest his seed! Not doing so would be a crime! A felony against nature! To not breed for the most powerful! And what other chance will I get if not now? He will leave tomorrow and possibly never come back. Even father hasn't seen a human before. No, he hasn't even seen a beast person other than a wolf person! What does he know! He's stupid. He doesn't see what I see. He can't understand the heart and womb of a woman. It takes being a woman to understand being a woman! Nature gave us these instincts so that those with strength could leave multiple offsprings. I am simply doing what nature dictates, what nature birthed me for. Now it's my time to give something back. It is the greatest honor to bear the child of a man as mighty as him. I didn't come to steal him, Feriana. You needn't worry. I simply wish to fulfill my duty as a woman. I will not love him. I will not seduce him. I simply lust after his genes. And I want those genes inside me. As it should be."
"Different species cannot have a child together."
She looked at me like she woke up to someone having trimmed her tail of all its hair while she was sleeping.
"Two people of different species cannot have a child."
"I! Ugh.. Don't. Copy my tricks!"
I tilted my head with my tongue out.
She looked really despondent so I didn't mess with her again.
"It's common sense from where I come. Inter-species love is more prevalent since you can have as much sex as you want without worrying about pregnancy, but eventually almost every beast person that ends up marrying, marries to someone of the same species. Not much point otherwise, if you can't make a family."
I shrugged at the end of it all.
"Then you and Satoshi can't..?"
"Yup. That's the good part! I can get as much love from him without the fear of a blotted belly!"
I laughed out loud, patting my tummy. We were actually standing right outside Satoshi's room and having these discussions so I'm sure he was aware. He would have gotten to know even if we weren't right outside his room since he is super-duper amazing.
"How come I didn't know this?"
She turned a little accusatory glare towards me but it was weak.
"You think I'm lying to you? Well, no way I can prove to you if you people don't know. My guess is that since your tribe doesn't interact with other species, you don't have a way to check. But trust me, I came from Domania. If this was possible, we would have all kinds of mixed breeds. Have you ever heard of half cat and half dog people? Now that would be crazy!"
I laughed again. Really the thought of it was so funny. A half cat and and half dog person? Hahahahaha!!
"I still want to do it."
She said with resolution.
"This feeling inside of me will not die down till I mate with a powerful male, even if unsuccessfully."
"Well, that's up to Satoshi to decide really.."
Since I could tell her aim was not Satoshi's love, somehow I didn't mind it anymore if she spent a night with him. Anyways, I know that I'm not enough for a man as powerful as him. Just like she said, his seed has to be revered and passed on to a next generation and that is something I can't do.
As if perfect timing, the door to the room opened revealing the most handsome and perfect and amazing and owner of all the best adjectives man. I looked to Perripi and she had a greedy smile to her face. Her instincts were spiking, I could tell. She licked her lips and walked towards him.
(I should let them be for the night.)
I started to turn away but I got a push from an invisible force towards the room. I looked at Satoshi, he was smiling at me.
I smiled back and took a step into the room. The door closed itself behind me.
Tonight was going to be a two-on-one. Literally.
Boraro led me to the meeting. Almost everyone of relevance in the village had been gathered.
"Smirnie, take a place."
It was a place just outside the village where the gathering happened. A large fire was ongoing, illuminating everyone present.
The leader and Bombatta were standing on one side and the rest of us, about thirty in number were seated opposite to them. Bombatta was one of the eldest and wisest wolfman in our village and had been standing by the leader's side for many years.
I found a place to sit and sat down. Seemed like it wasn't a trial to decide my punishment. In those, the guilty is not let to sit with the others.
"Smirnie. We have already discussed the arrival of the human and his extent of powers. But since we are largely unaware, our speculations are all over the place. At the very least, we are all of the same opinion to simply let the calamity pass. Your side of the story will hardly change the opinion of the masses but we would still like to hear it."
I took that as a cue to stand again and address everyone.
"The earlier incident was a mistake. Satoshi is a gentle human."
I didn't like how everyone else referred to him as 'the human'. I made it a point to call him by his name so everyone could hear.
"He's powerful enough to kill all of us without lifting a finger but he didn't. He just gave us a small taste of what he was capable of so that we wouldn't look down on him. I got the feeling that he had suffered enough because of his lineage."
One of the hunters asked. I tried to keep my story as concise and straightforward as possible. I also had to keep my feelings aside and relay it objectively.
"They didn't tell me this but I got the feeling that it is also the reason why he was injured before and lived here without revealing his powers. He said he is the wind elemental."
The one who had that severe reaction was Bombatta. His face paled. He looked scared, incredibly scared.
"No way.. it can't be.. why here..??"
"Bom, calm down!"
The leader grabbed his shoulders and shook him. The change in him was too sudden and his expression had turned dark.
"No.. we have to get rid of him.. He'll kill everyone.."
I had never seen Bombatta like that. No one had.
All the hunters couldn't help but be uneasy.
"Bom, tell us what is this elemental thing."
"Wasn't there that story.." "Yeah, five humans destroyed the planet.." "Really? That sounds like a fairy tail.." "I saw him fly.." "Will he kill everyone here?"
All kinds of talks started in the hunters.
The leader shut them up.
"As many of you know.."
Uncle Bom started staring at the ground with horror plastered on his face.
"I learnt my magic in Domania, the beast people's kingdom."
Most of us here knew that. The ones who didn't were the younger ones and hence surprised. All of us of the older generation knew of this but it was decided not to tell it to the next generation. The reason was Bombatta's son Meste. He had left the village, seeking glory in the kingdom. To prevent more of such cases, we decided to not tell the next generation of the fact.
"It is a village secret. Swear to take it to your grave."
The young ones pledged to never disclose it at the leader's command.
"Magic wasn't the only thing I learnt there. I learnt a lot of things, stories, fairy tails, myths and truths."
Myths and truths?
"Thousands of years ago, all the beast people's tribes lived separate from each other. There was no Domania."
"Then came those five humans. Each one a master of one of the common elements; fire, air, water, earth and light. Most of you do not know much about magic, so I will tell you that chantless magic is not possible. Only the elementals could do it."
That's the same as what Feriana told me.
"They were as ruthless as they were powerful. They killed indiscriminately. Hundreds of tribes lost to their might and turned to ashes. Domania was created to fight the elementals."
"They had to create an entire kingdom to fight off five humans!?"
Someone shouted. None of us could believe what we were hearing. How was that possible!?
"It may not have started off as a kingdom but from what I know, all the beast people tribes got together under the leadership of the lion tribe which was physically the strongest."
I couldn't believe it. Satoshi's ancestors were the reason that the greatest and probably the only beast people's kingdom exists.
"They must have managed to defeat or repel the elementals but that was not where it ended. According to the story, the elementals appeared again."
"Again?", someone asked.
My fur stood on its end as I got goosebumps throughout my body.
"Not just once. They appeared again and again and again. Every 300 years."
300 years? That didn't make any sense. How could the title he passed down after 300 years? Human life-span was same as beast people's as far as I knew.
"Not everyone is told of this, but they are a product of the immortal demon lord."
Demon lord? It was a figurehead I had never heard of and from the reactions of the other people, neither had they.
"Even I do not know the details. Those are kept top-secret in the upper part of the military and nobility but I do know the immortal demon lord is just a title. I don't know if the individual is indeed immortal or even a demon. I don't know if there even exists a demon race so there is really nothing I can say about that."
"None of this is making any sense.", I called out.
"What you have do to understand is that if that human is really an elemental, then none of us are safe. In fact, we are most definitely going to die soon."
"We have to go kill him right now!", Someone shouted.
"Get your weapons!", Shouted another.
"Get him before he gets us!", came another about.
The leader put a stop to all of that.
"Bom, are you sure he will kill us all?"
"That is the one thing I am sure of more than anything."
"But Satoshi is not like that!", I announced.
I cowered as all eyes shifted to me. I was by no means a coward. In fact I was one of the oldest and most experienced hunters of the village and as such I commanded a lot of respect. But I had never gone against the entire village like this.
"Speak your mind, Smirnie.", The village leader gave his permission but I knew it was an order.
"He's a good man. Do you not remember!? He could have killed all of us in that moment, but he didn't!"
It was obvious what moment I was talking about. Many of the hunters here were present at that scene. I could see some of them shudder at the memory.
"He's powerful, yes. But he's not an indiscriminate killing machine! He sat and ate with my family, he played with Dora and he came back here just to thank me for saving his life! If he really wanted to kill us all, what would be the point!?"
"You cannot judge elementals by your common sense, Smirnie.", Bombatta interrupted, "We have lived secluded in our small tribe. There are all kinds of people out there. The horrors I have seen in the kingdom, you cannot even imagine it."
Bom was known as the wisest man for a reason. And it was because of the things he had seen and did in the kingdom and there was no way anyone here could deprive him of that.
"There are those that enjoy watching their victims suffer so they keep them alive, heal them over and over again before their body just literally can't take it any more."
Many of us gulped at that description.
"With what I have seen, I wouldn't put it past the elemental to get close to your family so that he could take pleasure in torturing them right in front of you while you watch, unable to do anything against his massive strength."
I just couldn't believe it. There was no way that could happen right? That man who had taken my hand as a warrior, who had taken Roda and Perripi for a flying ride, who sat with us on the same table to eat dinner.. He wouldn't do it to gain our trust, just so he could kill us later, could he?
"Smirnie. Your loyalty lies to the village. If what Bom says is true, then we are all in danger."
I grit my teeth. That was right, my loyalty was to the village and our tribe. I couldn't trust someone after knowing them for merely a few days. Much less when the conversation I had had with them was practically just a few words.
"I understand.", I replied.
"Smirnie.", the leader continued, "Did they tell you where they came from?"
"And did they tell you why they left?"
I remembered Feriana's face when she was telling me their story.
"'Something happened and we decided to go on a journey', she told me. And I could tell from her face that that something wasn't really something good."
"They must have been found out!"
"They escaped to here."
"Surely, no one would bother to look into a village so far from the kingdom for the elemental."
Was that indeed what happened? Feriana always got dodgy when there was a conversation about that or about Satoshi's magic, as if she was afraid we would find out.
"That proves it."
Some part of me was unconvinced. Even though Feriana would hesitate to reveal Satoshi's identity, Satoshi did it readily. Why would he do that?
"We need to kill him now, while he's asleep!"
"Yeah! We need to make the first strike!"
"Hard and fast!"
"Wait, everyone "
The one who interrupted was Bombatta.
"We are dealing with an elemental. You have no idea of his capabilities. Marching in for a fight now is suicide. You told me that he detected the ambush, down to the exact count?"
He directed that last question to the leader.
"Yes, and then he was able to target them with his magic even though they weren't in plain sight."
"Chances are, we can not beat him in a direct assault."
Many of the hunters who were there clicked their tongues. That feeling of helplessness at that time had been devastating.
"We need to do it in a way he cannot detect."
Everyone started thinking at those words.
"How about we snipe at his back with an arrow?"
"Won't work.", I replied this time, "He can control the air with his mind. Arrows are easy to deflect."
"What if everyone shoots at once?"
"I still don't think that would work either. He gave me a small demonstration where he created a small tornado in his parm. If he produced a massive one, no attack will get through."
"What the hell is with this balance?" "Totally unfair!"
"How about we pit him against Sheraja?"
There was a brief moment of silence.
"..that actually sounds like a good idea."
"Sheraja is like the perfect opponent for an elemental, one on one."
"Yeah.. it's like an elemental killer."
That indeed sounded perfect. Shereja was the strongest beast in the forest. It has been there for as long as any of us knew and had never birthed offsprings. It's a sole creature that every other beast in the forest is scared of.
"It might actually work.."
Sheraja had taken many of our family members, including my own two sons. So we knew how powerful it was. Especially one of his abilities.
"It can make itself immune to one type of magic for some time. If it is against one elemental, there is nothing the elemental can do against it."
Exactly that. Bombatta's grandparents were both mages. It was in his family. They had died to get the information of the beast's ability to us.
"But how do we get him fighting against it?"
That was another problem.
"How about we lead him to the beast and then run away?"
"Won't he just kill the ones who take him there when he realises what is going on?"
"People of the wolf tribe, lend me your ears."
The leader who had been quiet till now, interrupted.
"We have come to a conclusion on our means to get rid of the elemental, not just for our tribe but for the whole world. But it won't come without sacrifice."
He took a breath.
"We, as a tribe, have lived with pride for generations. As Bom just said, several hundreds of tribes perished under the elementals' devastation and either collapsed or merged with Domania, but WE. DID. NEITHER!"
"We outdid the odds. The odds that were just as against us as everyone else and WE. CAME. OUT. ON. TOP!"
"Now the elemental has come to take revenge. He thinks we will bend over and let him play with our bellies like were some pet! ARE. WE. PETS!?"
"We're not, my tribesmen! We are warriors! And like true warriors, we will not go without a fight. But warriors are not just made on the field of battle. Warriors are made both before the battle, the ones who outwit the opponent and during it, the ones who overcome. It does not diminish a warrior’s pride to win without combat. In fact, the sign of a true warrior is to listen to those who are smarter than them and wiser than them and not let themselves be overtaken by the foolery of letting themselves be drawn into a losing battle. A warrior is to protect. A warrior's task is to look back and remember who he is to protect and do it BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY! "
"So my tribesmen, are you with me!?"
"I couldn't hear you. TRIBESMEN, ARE YOU WITH ME!!??"
The screams of the wolf men and wolf women alike echoed into the night, uncaring of whether the enemy would hear it.
"The time has come to prove yourselves. To prove that you have what it takes to protect this village."
Suddenly the atmosphere changed as the leader spoke in a low tone. But our hearts were pumping adrenaline and our minds were screaming in a united rage.
"I will now tell you the battle plan."
We listened eagerly.