• Crimson Tears
    Sunset was the shades of pink and red, an unsettling combo, or so thought a black dog as she prowled silently into the bustling streets of Battle City. She minded her own business and stepped nimbly out of the way from the shuffling of feet around her. She looked up. This was not her day to be traveling in such an annoying crowd of merely weak humans. She sighed and went on with her day. She spotted an alley and explored around.
    This could do for a home for now, but in the meantime, she’d have to have someplace dry to stay in. She knew she couldn’t stay forever as a dog. But, who cared? Honestly, no one. No one cared for her. She was on her own, a wanderer of no destination. She had no one to love and defend, and in turn, they disregarded her as a street mutt.

    She found a dry wall and curled up to sleep. She was exhausted from the day’s travel. She watched the clouds slowly pass over like a breeze in the wind. With sleep creeping over her, she fell asleep. The city lit its lights and continued with the hustle into the night. The wolf groaned and rolled over. She knew this would be a long time before she can adjust to the liveliness of Battle City.

    The next morning was quite a surprise. She was lying around when a group of humans invaded her space. They poked and prodded her. She whined and turned around in her sleep. They looked at each other and continued. One human commented, “She’d make a great guard dog. Wonder if we can get a collar around her neck…” The other human had just what they needed. He carefully put the spiked collar around her neck and clicked on the leash. He whistled and tugged. The dog woke up and leapt to her feet. She snarled and bristled her fur. She was really angry.

    The humans jumped in surprise. They hadn’t expected her to be this aggressive! The dog barked and snapped her jaws at them. She seemed to growl, “Let me go, or I’ll kill you!” The humans tried to reach to get the collar off, but the dog was too angry. She snapped again at the nearest human. She bit down on his hand and shook. The man fell back screaming and holding his bloody hand. The dog jumped for the other human and bit on his neck. The man struggled under her feet. She clamped harder until life left him. She raised her face and glared at them, continuing to growl.

    The humans let her leave calmly. The dog walked a good few yards and turned at them. One had made a reach for her leash. She whirled on her hind legs and jumped like a back hand spring behind him. She barked and sent him scrambling for his life. She turned to face the other humans. They had backed up enough to where they were against the alley walls. She snorted and walked away. She grunted in distaste from the humans and went on with her search for home.

    The walk was endless. Every human she would pass by would give her dirty looks and weird expressions of fear on their faces. She was not familiar with this. She shook her head and went on walking. A young boy had stepped out of a card collector’s shop and had turned her direction. Behind her were a couple rushing down the kid’s way. The dog looked both ways and jumped to the boy’s defense. She pulled on his shirt and took him aside while the couple raced past him. The boy turned and looked at her. He told her, “Thanks! I guess I wasn’t paying attention, was I?” The dog just looked at him with no expression readable.

    The boy patted her head and said, “I’m Mokuba Kaiba.” The dog nodded in understanding. Mokuba asked, “Where are you from?” The dog looked around and then back at him. He stated, “Oh, you don’t live anywhere, do you?” The dog shook her head. Mokuba asked, “The do you want to come home with me?” The dog’s ears perked. A home, finally! She barked and twirled around on her hind feet. She was happy! Mokuba laughed and picked up her leash. She growled. Mokuba noticed and asked, “Want to walk with me instead?” The dog nodded and followed the boy to Kaiba Corp. She and the boy slipped past the security guards without trouble and stepped into a large office. The only furniture in the office was a long couch, a set of chairs in front of a huge desk and one fern plant.

    Mokuba spoke to the man sitting at the desk, “Hey, big brother! I found someone while I was out.” The man looked up and then looked down at the dog. She kept her gaze steady as she and the man studied each other. The man said, “Very well. What have you named the dog?” Mokuba looked at her and said, “Shadow…” The man said, “Okay, Shadow it is…” He looked back over some papers and ignored the pair. The dog (We now switch to ‘Shadow’) whined and loped over to the man. He looked at her and asked, “What do you want, Shadow?” Shadow whined and sat at his feet. The man sighed. Mokuba stated, “She wants you to play with her, Seto.”

    The man called Seto retorted, “I don’t have time to play around, Mokuba.” Shadow whined and lied down in front of his desk. Seto looked over and sighed. He asked, “You never give up, do you?” He reached over and rubbed her ears. Shadow whined and panted happily. He smiled and went back to work. Shadow sighed and rested her head on her paws.

    The next day, Seto and Shadow went for a walk out into Battle City. Seto paused as a group of people were walking in his direction. Shadow growled protectively. Seto told her, “No, no. None of that.” Shadow looked at him in confusion. She stayed on her feet, watching the people come closer until they’ve stopped in front of him. Seto snapped, “So the Dweeb Patrol comes back for another round, eh?” The smallest, a young boy with strange hair colors and purple eyes, told Seto, “Kaiba, please, we’re not looking for trouble. We’re out of our own accord, thanks.” Shadow looked at them carefully.

    The boy bent down to his knees and studied Shadow. Shadow growled. The boy didn’t flinch. Shadow was confused and stopped growling. She stepped forward a bit and sniffed. She sniffed his hand cautiously. The boy chuckled and pulled back. The dog sat down next to Seto. The boy asked, “I thought you never liked dogs, Seto?” Seto replied, “None of your business, kid. This is Mokuba’s dog.” The boy asked, “What’s her name?” Seto answered with a bored tone, “Shadow…” Shadow looked at him and whined. Seto looked down and petted her head. She barked.

    The boy stood back up and said, “I’ll see you around then…” Seto grumbled, “Yeah, when you want to lose.” Shadow looked at him. Judging from his tone, he hated this kid. She wondered what he had done to threaten him like so. She looked at the boy and growled. The boy in response just waved. She sat there baffled. Seto tugged on her leash and told her, “Come, Shadow.” Shadow turned and followed him home. Seto took her and Mokuba to a small mansion. Shadow assumed this was their house, judging from all the furniture that was around. She looked at Seto. Seto told her, “Go on.”

    Shadow waltzed her way to the kitchen and looked around. Nothing much was around for her to do. She walked back to Seto and sat with him on the couch. Seto looked at her for a minute and reached to pet her. Shadow shoved her head under his hand and whined happily. Seto chuckled sweetly and petted her. He mumbled, “Sweet girl…” Shadow peered deep in his eyes and attempted a smile. Seto laughed. From this time, Shadow thought this was the life she was supposed to have…but it was not to last…

    Seven months later, Seto had her booted out of the mansion and out on the streets from where she was from. She searched once more for another home. Snow started to fall heavily. She looked back at the alley that she once stayed in, but it was occupied by another dog. She growled, “What are you doing in my alley?!” The dog, a huge white, stood up and growled, “Exactly what are you talking about?” He loomed over her and snarled, “Go away. You’re in my space now…”

    Shadow sighed and asked, “Why bother?” The white dog (no, not really a dog, he’s a wolf) growled and puffed his fur. Shadow growled along. She and the Wolf charged at each other. They lunged for each other’s throats and went to fighting, throwing up clods of snow in each other’s faces. The wolf threw her at a wall. Shadow fell, yelping. She rose to her feet and tackled the wolf from the side. He moved and attacked her neck. She rolled and tugged for release. He jumped and sprang back to biting her nape. He drilled his fangs deep in her neck and drew blood.

    Shadow yelped and pulled. The wound drew to a huge gash. She panted for breath. The wolf charged and rammed her against the wall. Shadow yelped. The wolf grabbed the nape of her neck and threw her over his shoulder. She fell, sending up a cloud of snow. The wolf gripped her neck. Shadow whirled up to her feet and bit down on his back leg. The wolf tugged and threw her down. Shadow blacked out, staring into a pit of nothingness. The wolf left her to die in the alley.

    Shadow stayed unconscious for some time until a gentle hand petted her shoulder. She looked up and saw the boy from before. She tried to growl, but her torn neck wouldn’t let her. She attempted a whine. The boy looked her over and commented, “You poor thing…” He told her, “You wait here. I’ll be right back.” He got up and hurried out of the alley. Shadow whined. She thought he’d never come back. When he did, along with some other people, she whined and thumped her tail on the ground. The kids behind the boy muttered, “She looks like she hurts, man.” ‘That bite wound’s going to take a week’s healing…”

    The smallest one told her, “Just stay still and we’ll have your neck cleaned up and healed.” Shadow whined. She was begging, “What’s your name?! Please tell me!” The boy who was watching over her said, “It’s okay, calm down.” Shadow then growled and barked. The kid asked, “What, girl?” She nipped his jacket with a grumble and peered up at him. He told her, “You don’t…know me…do you?” He sighed and said, “I’m Yugi. These are my friends, Joey and Tristan.” Shadow whined and licked his hand, finally knowing what his name was. Yugi patted her head and stroked her face.

    Tristan declared, “Okay, your wound’s cleaned up.” Shadow whined and tried to reach for his hand to lick it, but she couldn’t, and she was hurting too much to do so. She whined in an attempt to say, “Thank you…” The boys looked at each other and smiled. Yugi asked, “Should we carry her to my home?” Joey nodded. Tristan stepped to her front while Joey bent down. Tristan picked her up and put her on his back. Joey got to his feet and followed Yugi home. Yugi thanked them many times. When they were inside, Joey put her in the living room. He bent down, and Tristan put her on the floor. Joey and Tristan stood next to Yugi and looked at Shadow.

    Yugi sat with her. He stroked her shoulder. Shadow woke and looked around in a hazy glaze. She sensed that she was not in the alley anymore and that the smells told her she was in a house. She felt uneasy and tried to get to her feet. Yugi pushed her down, saying, “No, no…don’t get up…” He stroked her face and said, “You’re not better yet.” Shadow huffed and rested her head in his lap. Yugi paused.

    The next morning, Shadow woke to notice that she wasn’t on the floor anymore. She stretched and studied the surroundings. She was indeed in a house, maybe a small one, but a house, nonetheless. She sighed and got off the couch. She wobbled from lying around for a while. She steadied herself and looked around. The living room was probably the biggest room in the house, but there was more to explore in the house. She didn’t want to cause trouble and stayed where she was. A plump old man entered the living room. Shadow yelped in surprise and hid behind the couch. The old man looked up and saw her. He told her, “Oh, don’t be afraid. I’m Grandpa Moto. I’m Yugi’s grandfather.” Shadow raised her head. She still didn’t quite trust him.

    Grandpa Moto chuckled and went into the shop that was in front of the house. He worked around, selling dueling cards and helping beginner duelists. Shadow peeped behind the door and poked her head out to the store. She was in amazement. A store that doubled as a house? Cool! She barked and waltzed out of the house. Grandpa Moto heard her and looked down. Shadow sat at his feet and whined, wagging her tail rapidly. Grandpa Moto laughed and patted her head.

    Shadow explored around a little. She had stepped into the kitchen when she sensed that something was wrong. She whined and followed her nose to the shop. She sniffed and targeted Grandpa Moto. She knew something was about to happen. She whined and barked loudly. Grandpa Moto turned and asked, “What is it, girl?” Shadow tried to speak but had nothing. All she could do was bark. She jumped and put her paws on his chest. Grandpa Moto was confused. He asked, “What, girl, what?!” Shadow finally growled and pounced. Grandpa Moto moved and felt a wave of pain overrun him.

    He gripped his chest and buckled to his knees. Shadow barked, putting her paw on his back and staying beside him. Grandpa Moto looked at her. Shadow stayed close. He grabbed her nape and let her drag him to the back of the house. She took him to the living room and sat with him while the pain slowly receded. Grandpa Moto sat up when the pain had gone. He looked at Shadow and asked, “Was that what you were trying to warn me about?” Shadow whined and rested her head on his lap. She looked in his eyes. Grandpa Moto patted her head and said, “Thank you…” Shadow attempted a smile.

    Yugi came home late. Grandpa Moto was in the kitchen making dinner when Shadow left his side and trotted to the door. She barked and skittered around, Grandpa came and unlocked the door for Yugi. Yugi came in and asked, “Wow, now she’s a good one.” Grandpa commented, “She saved my life.” Yugi paused and asked, “Pardon?” Grandpa told him, “She saved my life. I had a heart attack and she had sensed it before it happened.” Yugi looked at Shadow. The dog glanced from him to Grandpa and back.

    Yugi asked him, “Are you okay, though?” Grandpa replied, “Yes, I’ve been better. Shadow should be the one to be thanked for…” Yugi clicked his tongue. Shadow loped over to him. He wrapped her in a hug. He whispered, “Thank you…” Shadow whined and licked his face. Yugi smiled.

    He asked, “Do you want to stay with us?” Shadow didn’t know what to think. She paused and let his question sink in. She barked and licked his face. Yugi laughed and said, “I take that as a yes.” Shadow barked and bounced around like crazy. Yugi laughed. Shadow smiled from ear to ear, even though she was a dog. Yugi looked around for a leash. Shadow tugged on his hand and scratched at the door. She whined. Yugi followed without one in hand. He opened the door and let her out. Shadow sat patiently at the doorway. Yugi hummed in thought. She didn’t run off, like most dogs would do. He followed her.

    Shadow stayed as close as she could to Yugi. She didn’t want him out of her sights, not even for a second. Yugi grinned and followed Shadow all over Battle City. He realized that Shadow would take off for a while and sit patiently when he’d catch up. Shadow realized how much she enjoyed being with an owner who actually cared for her. She liked him, but she was unsure whether or not she could trust him to keep her true form a secret. She thought to herself and wandered from Yugi by accident. She blinked and noticed that she had left him. She yelped and turned back.

    Yugi was right in the crowds, just where he should be. Shadow sighed and decided to stick with him. She barked and nudged his hand, like she was saying, “Pet me!” Yugi laughed and petted her head. Shadow barked and whined happily. She was really happy to have him. Yugi told her, “How about we go home?” Shadow barked and nodded, tail going about ninety miles an hour. Yugi laughed and walked with her home. He snuck upstairs while Grandpa Moto slept. He told Shadow, “Tomorrow’s going to be better, I promise…” Shadow whined and lied on the floor. Yugi, oddly, didn’t want that. He told her, “Come, Shadow.” Shadow raised a brow in confusion. She jumped on the bed and slept at the edge. Yugi petted her head and said, “Good girl…” Shadow woofed silently.

    Later that night, Shadow heard the rattling of a doorknob trying to be opened. She rose to her feet and snuck down the stairs to investigate. She saw the shadow of a man slink by. She growled. The door was pried open, and a man wearing a black toboggan entered the house. She hid behind the couch and watched him. He passed through the kitchen and made his way into the living room. She watched him decide to climb the stairs. She growled. The man turned, only to get pushed down by a young woman. She asked, “What are you doing here?” The man stammered, ‘H-H-Hey! Shouldn’t a lady like you be asleep at this time?”

    The woman snapped, “You’re breaking and entering my house…GET OUT!” The man pushed her off and reached to get to the stairs. The woman pounced on him. She held a knife at his throat and asked, “Do you want to die here?” The man shook his head and pleaded, “Please, just let me go!” The woman thought about it for a minute and sighed. She growled, “Very well…” She got up and snarled, “Don’t you even think about breaking in here again!” The man nodded and left quickly.

    To be continued...