Chapter 33:

Volume 2, Prologue: The One Called "Fenris"

Parable of the Renegades


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AUTHOR'S NOTE:

Long time, no see everyone! Jio Kurenai here!

It's been a long time coming, but I'm back with the second volume! I've been taking a hiatus from writing during the holidays to try other activities and rekindle my passion, but now I'm hungrier than ever with a lot of storytelling I'd like to crank out!

Before we begin, I just want to say that Volume 2 picks up straight from where Volume 1 left off. Lucas and Rio almost won't make any long appearances in the first few chapters (because they should still be asleep together in bed right now XD) so I'd like to take this opportunity to shine the spotlight on some other characters both new and old! Hope they make an appeal to you!

Feel free to leave a comment below. It can be anything like a random question, a comment for fun, or any constructive criticism to help me improve! If there's anything I like more than writing a story, it's interaction with those who are reading it. I must admit, that's one of the best feelings in the world for me!

Lastly, please give yourself some credit by giving that "LIKE" button a [insert verb that can substitute for "click" here] after reading this chapter! I'm always interested to know who's following me and I'd absolutely love it if we could start a conversation too! Likes and Comments will give points to your Honeyfeed badge, so make me recognize your mark by doing at least one of those two! I'll be singing your name in praise if you do both! ;)

Oh yeah, one more thing!

I have a Twitter account now, where I (mostly) post all sorts of news related to this story such as official artwork illustrated by the ultra-talented HikariSoul! Please follow us both! If you follow me on Twitter, I'll follow you back in a heartbeat!

*Phew* That's all for now. I hope you have fun reading this as much as I had fun writing it!

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An hour went past midnight. The full moon was gleaming brightly in the sky.

A lone teen walked deep within the alleyways of Cameron’s Feint, Sarkansas, slightly hunched forward with both hands deep in his pockets.

The sounds of his shoes scraping across the gravel prevented the location from becoming completely dead with silence. Out of the darkness in the hood that shrouded his head, a pair of braided ashen hair traveled down the front of his shoulders. Within the darkness in the hood, a pair of emerald eyes glowed in a melancholic luster.

He had spent the entire day doing his usual routine: stay within range of certain people within a specific amount of time without letting them or anyone else know he was nearby – though he could do nothing to prevent them from feeling what seemed to be theoretical weights dropped on their chests. After completing his quota for the day, he would meet with a tall man in glasses who worked as a history teacher for the local high school. After that was done, he would walk all the way back home to rest and repeat the process again once the next day arrived.

He passed a section of the alleyway that was partially curtained in murky shadows untouched by the moonlight. Then he saw that the walls on both his left and right were showing scarce signs of graffiti. It was a sign that he was getting close to the part of town he called home.

“Enjoying the night air, Fenris?”

“…!”

The one called Fenris kicked up a rock near his feet and caught it with an open hand. With a whip and crack of the arm, the dense material was hurled in the direction of the soft and gentle voice that called to him from the shadows. With the force he exerted and the rock weighing approximately three pounds, it should have been more than capable of tearing a chunk off a person’s skull assuming it hit its mark.

A hollow noise, comparable to a violent toast of wine glasses, rang across the alleyway.

It was clear to Fenris that the thrown rock had struck its obscure target, but instead of plowing through as he had intended, it was deflected with no damage done. Hearing that distinctive noise in tandem with the deflection was enough evidence for Fenris to know that his intended target was no ordinary person, but another being like him.

This person, concealing themselves in the shadows, was also a [Renegade]. They made the right move to approach Fenris prepared.

Because of his defensive action, Fenris caught a glimpse of what was lurking nearby. His intended target had blocked the rock with crossed arms to protect their face without moving away from their spot in the shadows. Their arms now bore strange marks in patterns of blue strokes that glowed brighter the closer they were to the exact spot the rock had struck. Seconds later, the target lowered their arms as the glowing marks on them faded away. All that was left glowing in the darkness was a single eye. A brilliant azure blue iris with a dark grey sclera that gazed upon Fenris’ emerald eyes.

“Looks like someone is very paranoid if a yes or no question is all it takes to provoke him,” the voice taunted without forgoing its gentle tone. “If you were to ask me the same question, I would say ‘no, I just absolutely hate it. Cold winds really do not go well with me.’ You might not be able to tell since the shadows prevent you from seeing most of me, but I am actually shivering here. I was keeping myself nice and warm not too long ago, but I could not find it in myself to fall asleep. Not just yet. Then I thought maybe a chat with you will make me feel like going back to that cozy bed.”

“…”

Despite the gentle tone of the other [Renegade] and how their eye bounced around as they spoke, Fenris remained silent and proactive without moving away from his spot.

The situation had become critical for him as not only was this person from the same human subspecies as he was, they also addressed him by the alias known only to those who were trying to hunt him down. Also, there was a hint of mockery mixed in with the gentleness of that person’s voice. It made him think they were looking down on him.

Inch by inch in both movement and angle, Fenris crept his left hand to the opening of the backpack strapped behind him to retrieve the weapon he never left home without. His fingers curling around a sleek grip, he slid a foot across the gravel in a crescent motion and brandished his weapon in a flash, holding it with the intention to give the appropriate response for whatever this other [Renegade] may do.

They weren’t fazed. Not the slightest bit.

“Now, now. You should save doing something like that for someone else.”

The [Renegade] continued to talk without a sense of urgency in mind before their eye squinted, taking everything off their line of sight except the weapon Fenris had brought out.

Needless to say, the weapon itself left them somewhat baffled even though this was the second time for them to see it.

First and foremost, the weapon was held as a one-handed sword. What was strange for it to still be classified as a sword was the fact that it lacked a basic aspect - its blade was nowhere to be seen! The weapon was nothing more than just a grip and a hilt. The hilt, however, had a distinguishing design. It was shaped like a wolf’s head, complete with a set of piercing eyes and jaws opened wide - wide enough for a person’s neck to fit in.

“I know I tried to take your head a night, or maybe two nights ago, but things have happened, and plans have changed,” the voice said as their eye adjusted its shape several times mid-speech. “I can assure you worrying about me will only be a waste of your time and energy… so long as this person remains alive.”

Out of the murky shadows, the other [Renegade] threw a projectile of their own. It was flat, in the shape of a square, and came out spinning with incredible speed like a ninja star.

Fenris caught and held the thrown object between his thumb and index finger just inches before the projectile’s sharp edges could graze his neck. Even if he failed, it wasn’t like this would have led to an injury. No, that wasn’t the purpose of this projectile.

Examining what he caught, all Fenris saw at first was a blank square. Rotating his wrist a few degrees, however, revealed the thrown projectile to actually be a photograph with only one person depicted in it; a boy. His chocolate-brown hair made most of the picture as they were obscuring his eyes for some reason.

“This is the one who will be going after you now,” the [Renegade] revealed. “Allow me to introduce you to Lucas Thorne. He likes to hide his eyes like that because he is quite insecure about showing them off. I find it kind of adorable how he is so shy. Ah, forget I just said that.”

Having registered the appearance of the person in the picture, a person he had already seen not too long ago, Fenris shifted his proactive glare back toward the figure in the darkness, his weapon still wielded firm and ready to serve its purpose.

“…?”

“Let me guess. You want to know if he is a [Renegade] like us, right?” The shadowed individual asked, which only tensed Fenris to become more alert. “I actually believe he is, but he does not think the same. To his credit, I never felt any different whenever I was near him. I wonder if the range of his [Influence] is almost non-existent.” Their eye looked up a corner for a moment before darting its glare back to Fenris. “Not like yours though - you were easy to track.”

“…”

“Anyway, you should not underestimate him even though he might not seem like much. I would not be interested in him if I thought he had no potential, and I do not like leaving my curiosities unsatisfied. Let me tell you this. From the few rounds I went with him, I will at least say that he has what I like in a fight: he will exploit an opening when he finds it and he is also an opponent that fights back.”

The flow and tone of their voice were way too smooth and easygoing for his ears. Fenris couldn’t help but be perplexed. This [Renegade] was talking rather fondly about the person in the picture despite their warnings about him.

“…”

He wanted to know more, and this other [Renegade] seemed like they intended to give him just that. Without breaking eye contact, Fenris backed away until he could lean against a wall with his weapon still on standby. He was ready to listen, but that didn’t mean he would also drop his guard.

The [Renegade] studied the body language in front of them and determined the situation to be progressing smoothly in their favor.

“Hmm… It might make things more interesting if I let you in on something else, but before we get to that…”

Stepping out of the shadows, the figure revealed themselves to be a girl with pale skin and long midnight-blue hair in a dirty white kimono. A shawl was wrapped around her shoulders to provide her with some resistance to the chills of the night wind.

“…Pleased to make your acquaintance, Fenris,” she said, courtesying him a slight bow. “My name is Rio Kiyodera.” 

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