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It was a rather warm evening in the sleepy outskirts of the virus city where Iyzebel had been busy (well, not so busy) poking about for creatures to feed off of.  It'd been a little more difficult to get near any human homesteads, as there seemed to be an increase in hunter patrols in the normally quiet and unguarded rural communities the cat-girl enjoyed hunting in, so she'd been spending a little more of her time out in the woods looking for various animals she could manipulate and/or kill--whatever struck her fancy.  However, there didn't seem to be very much prey around this evening.  That was strange . . . there was always bountiful life in the forest if one knew where to look . . . even in the woods surrounding virus territory.

Iyzebel flicked an ear and stood up, brushing off her ripped jeans a bit as she'd been kneeling in a dry fern patch, and tiny flecks of crispy, dead fern fronds had broken off and clung to her clothes.  She wiped her giant paws over the fabric of her pants a few more times before she caught the sound of footsteps trudging through thick foliage.  Her eyes darted to the side as both of her ears swiveled to the direction of the approaching footsteps.  Whoever it was obviously wasn't very good at moving about quietly.  She narrowed her eyes and crouched a little, her tail staying low to the ground as she went and knelt behind a tree trunk, her paws at the ready in case she would have to climb it if this stranger presented a threat.

Just as she was tensing her muscles to climb, a familiar figure appeared form the trees.  Freize?  What's he doing out here?  She curiously quirked a brow and crept out from behind her tree, making a soft hiss to get his attention.  Freize whipped around in her direction, but didn't seem to relax much under gaze even after identifying her.  She narrowed her eyes slightly, tail slowly waving behind her, the flames curling slowly and silently in the air.

"'Ey, Birdboy . . . what're ya doin' out 'ere?" she asked in a slow, even voice, only slightly letting a hint of a challenge underline her question.  But the young man only gave her a grin--a shaky one at first, but it strengthened a bit as he began to relay her a message.

"Oh, 'ello there, Iyz! It seems there migh' be a li'l unpreceden'ed trouble afoot! See, we didn't really mean tah, but we were rounding up s'me Mini Viruses t'nourish and take care of, an' somethin' wen' wrong. We're tryin' ta fix th'issue, bu' i' seems like there's tons o' viruses poppin' up everywhere, an' they've escaped our headquarters," he explained.

Iyzebel crossed her enormous arms and continued to hold his gaze.  "Zat so?  Well, why're ya botherin' me wi' this?"  She didn't really care too much about many of the duties of the virus hierarchy, and playing round up with a bunch of baby viruses didn't sound in any way appealing to her.

"I 'ope none o' you mind too much, I mean, this happens quite frequen'ly, bu' with th'large amoun' tha' 'as escaped, i's been trouble fer us. We're giving ou' a reward for 'nyone who can bring them back to us, includin' other viruses. Hun'ers an' 'umans are also welcome t'get th'reward too, bu' we won' ge' mad 'f ya 'ave ta extermina'e 'em.. M'boss promises tha' on ya. I figure we're a very understandin' bunch."

That peaked her interest, and her narrowed eyes only widened slightly, ears pricking up a little as her tail froze mid-wave.  "Oh?  Mm . . . go on."

"Tha' bein' said, le' me ge' ya th'notes we managed ta ge' on 'em. I 'eard they c'n be tamed, an' I think they're kinda cu'e. Maybe ya c'n keep 'em as pe's too. I doub' they'll do much on th' offensive fron', though, sorry," he apologized with a little laugh as he handed her a couple of cards.  On them were the profiles of two types of viruses:  a morpher and a ruckus.  She'd seen both of these before, of course, but only ever when they'd been under supervision, and only a few at a time.  Having a ton of these little blighters running around wreaking havoc would definitely lead to some serious problems if they didn't get this problem under control.

"Tha's all there is ta i', we'll discuss th'reward when ya bring 'em back!"

She nodded a little in response, not taking her eyes off of the cards.  "Hmmm . . . well, le'see 'ow this goes, ye?" she asked, looking up after a moment only to find that Freize had walked away.  She flicked an ear, looking slightly irritated, but pocketed the cards anyway and set off to look for the little buggers.  Now that she thought about it . . . having a bunch of viruses running amok would be exactly the type of thing to frighten any little creatures back into their burrows or nests.


Iyzebel had been skulking and stalking all through the woods to the northeast and southeast of the virus town for almost twelve hours by the time she finally got fed up and went to take a break in one of her favorite shady spots near a lazy brook that ran through some small, rocky cliffs before water-falling into a tiny pond before continuing to flow out and deeper into the wilds.  Occasionally, she'd find some tasty morsel hanging about and would be able to get a little bite to eat along with a good drink and nap.  This morning, however, (as she'd been hunting all through the night) she doubted she would be so lucky.

She huffed a little, sighing through her nose, and pushed through the plants surrounding the grassy banks around the pond only to come to an immediate stop, tail sticking straight up (well, as straight as it could as it was very bent and broken).  Before her, lined up in little rows around the edges of the water, were many tiny, shadowy, and very curious-looking creatures staring at the water, some batting out at it with little paws.  Other creatures floated about with wide, white eyes, taking in the tall trees and how their needles and leaves slowly waved in a faint breeze that had begun to pick up.

Iyzebel couldn't help but stare at them all as she stood at the edge of the treeline, her mouth slightly agape, black fangs glinting dully in the low light.  Her sudden appearance hadn't gone unnoticed by all of the little viruses, however, as a few had turned to look over, ears pricking and eyes bulging.  One in particular, a rather tall and slender variant of ruckus had lifted its slender, smoky head from where it was seated on the opposite bank of the water.  Iyzebel merely stared back at it, noting how it held itself differently from the others.  It sat tall and proud, its gaze unwavering as it looked up at her.  She could just make out a faint challenge in the gleam of its white eyes, despite one being horribly scrambled-looking, much unlike the other rucki, who all had either round eyes or spiraled ones.

While she watched it silently, it stood up, kinked its tail and leaped over the glassy surface of the water, landing without a sound as it crept over the grass, its paws hardly disturbing the grass as it approached her.  She quirked a brow.  Yes . . . this one was rather unique, wasn't it?  She could tell from the way the smaller rucki all watched it or crouched as it passed that it was somewhat respected by them.  When it was only a few feet away from her, it sat and puffed out its chest, giving a rather mischievous smirk.  Iyz frowned and tilted her head.  "Why're you-" but before she could get anything out, the little cat-like shadow suddenly arched its back and hiss-screeched seconds before she was suddenly blinded and felt something cold clinging to her face.  "'EY!  WHA'S 'AT?" she growled, bringing up her massive paws to swat at whatever had grabbed at her face.

Her struggle was to no avail, unfortunately for her, and she only stumbled a little into a tree.  "A'IGHT, 'at's IT!" she snarled, letting her hands drop and her fingers curl, claws extending.  Though she didn't lift a single one to her tormentor.  She instead held them a little ways apart and tensed them.  For a moment nothing happened.  Then, a tiny spark was seen emitting from one of her palms before they flashed and were suddenly both ablaze with dusky flames.  She held them up and whatever shadow creature had taken hold of her face gave a startled cry and popped off, the light of the flames causing its little black form to flicker as it quickly shot down toward the ruckus and hid behind it a little.  The ruckus itself was looking smugly up at Iyzebel who glared back at it through narrowed eyes.  She shook her hands, causing the flames to die out before she stomped over to the pair while the others looked on.

"A'ight!  Now 'at that's very well o'er, jus' in ah Hell did ya think ya both were doin'!?  'Ave the pair o' ya even stopped to think for a bleedin' second what trouble ya both 'ave caused for the hierarchy!?  Not to mention how long I've been lookin' for the lot o' ya!" she growled, waving a hand about to gesture to all the little viruses who were now crouched unhappily around the water, ears flat and tails wrapped over their paws if they were a ruckus, hovering lowly behind the ranks of little shadow cats while trying to take on the forms of rocks or twigs in order to hide if they were morphers.  But the ruckus in front of her refused to be intimidated and merely glared up at her, hissing a little in reply.  Iyzebel did feel a twinge of admiration for the creature's boldness, but she was still positively pissed at it and its floating companion who curled its tail around its "leader's" throat.

"Now, if any o' you decide to try somethin' so stupid on me again, I won't 'esitate to scorch ya!" she threatened, her tail blazing up momentarily.  "Because I'm takin' ya right back to where you all came from, AND I'LL 'EAR NOTHIN' ELSE ABOUT IT!  Zat clear?!" she demanded, raking her scorching gaze over the lot of them.  There were pitiful murmurs and mews from the crowd at the prospect of going back, and a few had started to slink off, seemingly unnoticed, but froze the moment Iyzebel let out a furious hiss, causing them to plant their little butts back in the grass.  Her glare snapped back down to the lead ruckus who had begun to look downcast, its chest not quite as puffed out as before.  Now, it really just looked like a pouting kid, brooding over being snapped at by an adult.

Iyzebel looked at it for a moment before letting out a slow sigh, her shoulders relaxing a little.  She lowered her voice.  "A'ight . . . I guess I can see why ya all wanted to do this.  Must be borin' bein' cooped up all day wherever it is they keep ya.  But yer little adventure's o'er.  Yer all comin' wi' me!" she commanded, and the tiny viruses hurried over, not wanting to feel the wrath of her dark fire.  She scratched her head a little.  How was she going to bring this many back?  There must have been at least forty or fifty little ones siting about this clearing.

Just as she was pondering, she realized that the tall and slender ruckus and its morpher buddy had suddenly vanished from the lot milling about nervously in front of her.  She almost gawked before baring her fangs in frustration.  "Now where'd ya both- 'ey!" she shouted, spotting the dark duo fleeing into the thicket on the left, heading uphill towards the northeastern forests.  "Stop right there!" she called.  The two kept running, though, and a few of the others started to join in.  They only chased after the others instead of dispersing and running around in different directions as would be smarted if one wanted to avoid capture.  But they were still young, and likely couldn't plan like that yet.  She growled and shook her head, sprinting through the trees after them.

After a moment she was finally gaining on the two in lead.  The ruckus had its ears held back as it hared over the ground, the morpher wrapping itself around its neck so as not to be left behind.  Iyzebel growled and looked to the right of the pair, spotting a leaning tree.  It was particularly large, its trunk only about the width of one of her forearms.  She then looked back to them before her gaze swept back over to it and she changed course.  Judging by the way the ruckus was running, it was going to round up the hill along the brook's bank and would try to disappear into the more densely-packed trees uphill.  Not on her watch!  Iyzebel put on more speed, leaping over several rocks and low bushes before pounding over to the tree.  Without slowing, she recoiled a mighty hand and swung out, her giant, black claws suddenly blazing as shed struck the tree.  The searing talons cut straight through the bark and as she crouched and struck out with both paws again, the trunk shook and started to tilt as the upper-half of the tree began to groan and give way against her searing blows.

The little viruses saw it, almost too late, and skidded, falling over one another, some nearly falling into the brook or rolling back down the hill as the tree fell and hit the ground, its branches shaking and sending up a loud racket.  The lead ruckus ran straight into its trunk, however, and the morpher went with it.  The two slumped in a stunned daze as Iyz went over, fuming and yanked them both up, one in each paw.  She bared her teeth at the others.  "Does anyone else feel like runnin'?" she challenged, only to be met with little fast head-shakes and quivering shadow bodies.  She sighed and gave a sharp nod.  "Good.  Now move yer asses.  Back to town.  No funny business."  The others all got up, shaking themselves off a bit before dejectedly trudging back downhill with Iyzebel carrying the other two and keeping a sharp eye on the lot of them.


They'd finally reached the town, and when they did they earned quite a bit of attention from everyone.  With the hoard of little viruses and a pissed off-looking she-virus, they made quite the sight.  She marched them back off to where she was supposed to bring them.  However, looking down now at the two she was carrying, she felt strangely hesitant to turn in the bold little ruckus and its partner in crime.  Even if they were both scheming butts.  She just sighed and went to get her reward for bringing back the tiny herd.

Going up to who she was supposed to see, they discussed briefly what would happen next as other viruses came to take the little ones back to where they belonged.  But when one came up to her and asked her for the ones she was still holding, she risked another glance down at the pair.  They both looked miserable, hanging loosely and helplessly in her powerful grip.  Their eyes were almost pleading.  They didn't want to back here!  Why would they want to go back here?  They never had any fun!  Iyzebel hesitated looked from one to the other before rolling her eyes a little, shifting them in her hold to bring them closer to her.  "Eh, actually, I was plannin' on keepin' 'ese two.  I mean, ya got so many, I'd be doin' ya a favor takin' 'em off yer 'ands."

The virus gave her a funny look but shrugged and walked off after where the others had gone.  "Whatever," he grunted.  "Do what you want, I guess."

Iyzebel felt a tiny flare of satisfaction in her chest and gave the tiniest of smirks. "Ye, thanks, mate."  The two viruses still in her hold exchanged surprised, yet delighted glances at not being turned back in after all.  Iyzebel smiled down at the two before looking back up.  "Now . . . about that reward . . ."
Pre-Arc - Mini-Event:…

Oh yay . . . a shitty GIMP doodle and story to boot by yours truly.  Do you all hate me, yet?  I don't even know why you watch me . . .

Well, here's my contribution to the mini event in Hunting-Insanity .  Iyzebel went to look for some of the little virus escapees and somehow became somewhat attached to two of them.  They don't have names yet, and I don't for the life of me know what I'll call them right now, but rest assured I'll come up with their names on my own in time.  I love naming things!  So yeah.  Hope that this is somewhat entertaining for you all.

I'm getting on the sprite stuff and finishing up commissions before I start on the casting call master list of chars, so don't hassle me, okay?


Iyzebel (c) Me
Hunting-Insanity, Freize, ruckus, morpher (c) Hexlix 
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July 11, 2014
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