“So, who is this Gerogom guy?” Rick asks as they arrive at the city’s outskirt. Behind them is the city and in front of them are rows of chain-link fences. Behind those fences are thick rows of trees forming the forest that continues to the mountain ranges. The fences continues far to the left and right that one can’t see the end of either side from where Ren and Rick are standing.
“An elf,” Ren answers as he approaches the fences and then turns to looks to Rick, “And also a mad scientist.” As soon as he said that, Ren leaps over the three meters high fences without visible efforts and lands smoothly on the other side.
“Mad scientist? There really stuff like that in this world?” Rick follows Ren and jumps over the fences.
“You battle a demon two days ago, we’re currently trying to find a girl with animal ears and tail, and you don’t believe in mad scientist?” Question Ren in a calm, almost monotonous manner of speech. He reaches into his bright red jacket, pulls out a pack of toothpicks, and takes one of them and put it in his mouth as if it’s a cigar. “That’s cute,” Ren adds as he puts back the pack to his jacket.
“Hmf, I guess you’re right.”
As they start walking, Rick notice boards with warning written on them hanging from many trees
WARNING! PRIVATE AREA!
TRESPASSER WILL BE PROCESSED!
“Wait, this Gerogom guy own this whole area?” Rick gestures toward the boards.
“Not really sure about that myself,” Ren keeps moving forward without turning to face Rick,”Though I’m quite sure about that last sentence.”
“You mean ‘processed’?” Rick asks. He’s quite troubled by the word choice on that notice. “What does it means by ‘processed’?” He adds.
Before Ren can finish his sentence, he suddenly ducks as if avoiding something. Rick who is right behind him instantly notice a sharp long metal is heading toward his position with a high speed. Realizing that is the reason Ren ducked and how close it is to impaling his head, Rick quickly bends his body backward to dodge the harpoon. It barely misses Rick’s head and stucks deep on the tree behind him.
“Let me guess,” Rick says while fixing his body position after bending hard backward, “that’s part of this ‘processed’ thing?”
“Yes,” his emerald colored spear is ready on his hand, “And that’s not even near the worst that he can throw at us. Move faster and keep focused.”
With that, Ren dashes forward and start to move in high speed followed by Rick with speed rivaling Ren’s. The trees are tightly packed, making the viewing distance fairly short. As they move deeper, more harpoons are fired at them. This time they are ready. With only slight movement both of them can easily dodge harpoons that are flying from all direction.
“Damn, this is annoying!”
“I doubt this will be as annoying as what await us,” Ren points to a group of yellow eyes glowing through the gaps between the trees.
Revealing themself from the trees are a pack of wolf. They growls while showing off their teeth. These wolves doesn’t look like a simple ordinary wolves. They have several parts of their body covered in mechanical stuffs, some wolves even have parts that seems to be completely replaced by mechanical parts. The eyes of several wolves are glowing yellow. As soon as they see Rick and Ren, the wolves dart to several directions and disappear from view.
“Rick, peels your eye. This gonna be troublesome.”
“Those are just wolves, they won’t give us much trouble, will they?”
Ren has no time to answer Rick’s question. As soon as Rick finished his sentence, the wolves jump out of the darkness from all direction, essentially surrounding both of the man who are still running. Wolves jump to their front, trying to stop them in their steps. Caught by surprise, Rick suddenly stops. Ren, not far from Rick, also stops since his way is blocked by wolves. All this happen while they still actively avoiding the harpoons shot at them.
After they stopped, the scene become hard to follows. The wolves lunge toward the two man with open jaws. Rick and Ren read their movement and dodge the attacks while at the same time trying to not get pierced by the countless harpoons. Their attacks are very swift, precise, and relentless. Whenever they managed to dodge the wolves, the wolves turn and start attacking again. It’s very chaotic and one could easily lose track of what's currently happening.
“What was you asking before?” Ask Ren sarcastically while still constantly dodging.
“No need to answer that; I already know the answer!” Replies Rick.
Although the odds look like against them, Rick and Ren slowly able to gain the upper hand. Every now and then they able to counter the wolves. Wolves are thrown away from them one by one from their punches and kicks. All the wolves that was able to struck down by them are rendered unconscious.
Seeing his comrades lying on the forest floor, a big greyish wolf who was until now standing still observing the battle steps forward. Unlike other wolves, this one wolf doesn’t looks like it has mechanical modification. There’s no metal part covering any part of his skin. But, when it barks toward other wolves, its right eye glows red.
Hearing its barks, the other wolves’ actions start to change. While previously their attacks are fast and relentless, it’s all based on impulse and instinct and thus not organized. But now, their movements are different. It’s flowing and feels connected. Previously all their actions are focused on attacking Rick and Ren, but now they start to do repositioning and move around without attacking. All this movements are coordinated by that one grey wolf.
Ren notices the change. His choices for dodging become more limited and it’s harder to find window to strike back. Their number sure is smaller now, yet with their coordination, the attacks don’t feel like decreasing. He feels that they need to finish this quickly.
“Rick, we nee- Ah!”
In the middle of that chaos, the two man who previously had some distance between them bump into each other. Unknown to the them, the wolves coordinated their attacks and movements to slowly herd them to each other by limiting their movement choices. With their position so close to each other, Rick and Ren’s movement is being severely limited.
With a single command from the big grey wolf, the other wolves attack in unison. Ren and Rick try to dodge, but with their back against each other, the task is not going to be easy. Ren manages to avoid and step the wolves that were aiming for his legs. But, as he swing his to throw one wolf away, another wolf jumps out from behind and plants its teeth onto Ren’s right arm. Rick also doesn’t fare well. While he manages to avoid and hit several wolf, because of the limited space, a wolf manages to bite his leg followed with another one.
The big grey wolf sees that they managed to stop the two trespassers’ movement and realize that these two guys are not gonna stay still for long. Without wasting any time, it charges toward the distracted Rick. Busy with two canines locking his two legs, he doesn’t realize a big wolf jumps from outside of his view and aiming for his neck.
The grey wolf opens its jaws, ready to maul his target. But, before it manages to reach Rick, Ren spins and swings his right arm very hard with a wolf still hangs on it. With a big force, the wolf on Ren’s arm hits Rick hard on the torso. The wolf on Ren’s arm letting its bite go because of the pain when it hit Rick. Rick falls backward from the hit unto the unsuspecting grey wolf. It’s all happen so fast and the big grey wolf unable to react and ended fall to the ground underneath Rick.
“*cough* What’s that for?” Still not realizing how close his neck to a wolf’s jaws was, Rick quickly stands while complaining.
“You’re welcome!” Ren swings his spear and send the big grey wolf flying toward a tree. It hits the tree hard and slumps down unconscious.
Seeing their leader fell, the remaining wolves slowly stepping back before finally turn and disappear into the thickness of the forest. The wolves left are those who are unconscious.
“It’s over?” Rick looks around to see what become of the battlefield. Wolves and harpoons are scattered on the ground. Ren walks to nearby tree and lean to it while pressing bite wounds on his arm. “Guess so,” Ren answers.
“Hey you’re okay?” Rick looks at Ren resting. “Let me see your wounds.” Rick grabs Ren’s arm and rolls his jacket’s sleeve. “Oh, wow,” while he’s also bitten in the legs, Ren’s wound looks worse than Rick’s. “This probably because you’re swinging that huge wolf while it still bites you.”
Ren pulls his arm from Rick, “It’s okay. Not that bad.”
“Yeah. And rather than that,” Ren walks away from the tree and turns, “Do you notice?”
“Huh?” Rick isn’t sure what to notice. He walks around for a while before he realize, “There’s no harpoons flying at us!”
“Yeah. Either they run out of harpoon or...,” Ren looks at the knocked out grey wolf.
“What? You think that wolf controlling it?”
“Do you realize how absurd that sound?”
“You’ve fighting demon, we’re rescuing a fox girl, we’re attacked by cyborg wolf. Tell me how that’s not absurd.”
Rick scratches his head as answer.
“You noticed it right,” Ren adds, “The harpoons never hit any wolf at all. And when that big wolf started joining the fight the harpoons attack become more sparse and even stop at times.”
“Hm, you do have a point,” Agrees Rick. “He made a wolf that can control harpoon with their mind. Just what kind of a person this Gerogom is?”
“One thing for sure, we can’t be sure what will await us later.”
“You’re right. And we must be fast,” Rick clenches his fist hard, “There’s no telling what he’ll do with Tama.”
“Then, what are you doing standing there?” Asks Ren who’s now already quite far ahead of Rick.
“W-wait! Since when you’re there?” Rick hastily runs following Ren.
Not long after leaving the previous battlefield, they reach a big clearance. Right in the middle of the clearance stand a white building that looks like the result of gluing together different sized boxes.
“This is Gerogom’s Lab”
“Whoa, this looks so….. Avant-Garde.” Rick looks at the building for a while and decides, “Alright, we just need to blow the wall and search for Tama inside!”
“Good luck with that. That wall was built with a special material that highly resistant. I’ve been here before, and trust me, it’s not easier than going in from the front door.”
“Really? What about security?”
“That’s something that we both gonna find out inside. Although, I expect something more than just a pack of wolves.”
“So…. Front door, then? Where’s the front-”
Before Rick finishes his question, an automatic door opened from the side of the building. From inside the building walks out a short haired man. He wears what looks like some kind of black colored armor or suit with a red scarf circling his neck. On his back hang a piece of sheathed straight sword.
“Hm?” That armored man notices the presence of the two strangers standing out in the field and walk slowly towards them, “Can I help you?”
“Is he Gerogom?” Rick asks Ren quietly.
“No. I never see him before.”
“Wait.” The armored man stops. He stands still for a while with a thinking pose. “I didn’t hear anyone is coming from the main gate.”
“There’s a main gate?” Rick asks Ren again.
“Why don’t we go through it? It sounded a lot safer than through the ‘Processing Forest’.”
“Yeah, ‘Hello mister Gerogom? We want to take back the fox girl you kidnapped. Could you please open the gate?’”
“Then you must be trespassers,” the armored man finally understands, “You shouldn’t be trespassing, you know. You better leave before Ge- Wait…. Where’s Thyella? She should be guarding the area for trespasser.”
“Thyella?” Asks Ren confused. He doesn’t think he met anybody before arrived here other than those wolves.
“Do you mean that big grey wolf?” Asks Rick.
“Wait, how do you know that?” Now Ren’s confused.
“That big wolf wears a collar with ‘Thyella’ written on it. You didn’t see it?”
“There’s no way Thyella let you get pass her,” the armored man face showing some hint of anger.
“Uh oh, I don’t like this, Ren.”
The man dashes, grab his sword, and within seconds already covers the distance between him and Ren and Rick. He slashes his sword downward hard at Ren who is nearer to him. With this quick reflex, Ren already put his spear horizontally between him and the sword, blocking it. The force from the slash is so big that Ren needs to push his spear with all his power. His right arm is pulsing in pain while he’s blocking.
With a slight expression of anger on his face and still pushing down his sword, the man asks Ren, “What did you do to Thyella?”