Ginga Densetsu Weed: Duel

Kyoshiro's followers surrounded Weed and his pack in a circle, blocking off everyone until he and Kyoshiro stood alone in the center. The Kishu Inu licked his lips slowly, then bared his teeth.

"Keep that old bastard from running away!"

He called to a couple of mutts, who kept the injured dog pinned forcefully in the snow. Weed, not wanting to listen to the mutt's suffering, cried out in protest.

"What did he do that was so horrible? He can't be that bad if he's crying and begging for mercy!"

The Shiga's eyes narrowed.

"I suppose you should know... just why that bastard over there deserves to die."

He turned his head and looked backward, into the mass of his followers. He nodded and spoke in a gentle tone that seemed unfitting for such a bold dog.

"It's alright now. You can come out."

Slowly, a brown and white puppy slinked out into the center, slowly approaching Kyoshiro. He was very young, younger than four months, and was quaking with fear. He sat down beside Kyoshiro, and on closer inspection Weed could tell that the mutt was thin and small, and very beaten up.

"That piece of shit over there... is Teru's father. One day Teru came home after trying for hours to find more food for his father... and his father accused him of eating up what little stash they had. Teru wasn't lying when he said that he didn't take it... but his father wouldn't believe him."

Kyoshiro lifted his head and glared at Teru's father, teeth bared in a snarl.

"He beat him to the point of breaking his teeth. Tore at his ears until he almost ripped em off. Nearly gave him a concussion from slamming him against the walls of their shack. He would have died if I hadn't stepped in."

"No parent... should ever do something as horrible as that... no one..."

Teru's father suddenly cut in with a pitiful whimper, a desperate plea.

"Please, I'm sorry! Forgive me!"

"Shut up! No one gave you any right to speak!"

Kyoshiro barked, fangs bared as he took a few rushed steps toward the mutt. Shinku instinctively moved forwards to protect him, though hearing Kyoshiro's story had lowered her opinion of the nameless mutt beneath her.

"What do you think you're going to do? Kill him in front of his son?"

"You're an intruder in my territory and have no say on what goes on!"

Teru, shaking with fear, still stood in the center as he was too frightened to move. Reika, feeling a deep empathy for the puppy, slipped towards him and began soothing him by licking some of the blood and dirt off of his face. Teru soothed by Reika's motherly action, stopped shaking and settled in between her front legs.

"Alright, I'll let him decide then! Teru."

Kyoshiro laid his body down into the snow, settling onto his stomach, so he could look into Teru's eyes.

"What do you think Teru? Should your father be punished for what he did to you? Does he deserve any forgiveness after what's he done?"

"Please forgive your father Teru! Please!"

Teru shied away and cried heavily, cuddling closer to Reika for support.

"Someone like him... can't be my father! Waaaaaahh!"

Kyoshrio nodded solemnly.

"Alright guys, he's decided! Grab him!"

He called, racing towards the mutts. His followers shouted in agreement and excitement, while the four who had been guarding Teru's father grabbed one limb each and raced after their leader. Weed shouted out in protest and immediately followed Kyoshrio and his pack to the edge of a cliff, where a tall waterfall crashed down into a river far below. Kyoshiro stood at the edge, howling excitedly.

"Go!"

On his command, the four who had been holding the mutt tossed him carelessly down the waterfall, much to Weed's horror. A panicked yell was heard, then a large splash. Kyoshiro shouted down the cliff,

"You hear me, scum? You ain't that kid's father anymore, and I'm taking your place! If you come within five miles of my son, you be slaughtered without mercy!"

Kyoshiro, pumped with adrenaline, temporarily forgot all about Weed and his pack as he called the rest of his pack to return to him. With a bark at Teru to follow, he and the rest of the pack disappeared off into the distance, leaving Weed and his pack to watch in stunned silence.

George slowly made his way through the shrubbery, cautious. He had searched every inch of his parent's old territory, but had eventually found out it had been taken over, and his parents had left. So, he had tracked them all the way to Yamanashi, the place the Devil Dogs of Kai, along with his father, had been born. It hadn't been easy traveling all that way, but now he was sure he had finally found them. They were resting together in the center of the clearing, near a tree stump. Slowly, Cross rose from her spot besides Ben, and stood facing the other Saluki. After a brief silence, George spoke,

"Hello... mother."

Cross regarded him with a look of mild concern, then replied,

"You've returned."

He blinked.

"I have."

He could see the unspoken question lingering in her gaze, and he decided to address it himself.

"You're wondering why I've returned... and I won't mince words with you..."

He paused, trying to pick the best words for the news he had to bear.

"A foul tyrant marches onto Ohu... and wherever he goes, death is sure to follow."

Suki clawed open the rabbit carcass neatly with her paws, in preparation for Hougen's meal. With the success of her last plot, she felt new confidence. She was certain that, if she could get this plan to work, she could eliminate this problem quickly, and silently. Suki had found some poisonous yew berries that would suffice as a poison strong enough to kill Hougen. Just to be sure, she had carefully stuffed four of them into the rabbit's insides, certain that they would not be visible until too late. Once she had closed up the rabbit again, she carried it towards Hachi's spot outside Hougen's shack. She almost stepped out into the open, but hesitated. More than once she had heard rumors circulate through the pack, and dogs quickly turning on each other to avoid Hougen's wrath.

She had to be careful. So, she waited patiently until Hachi returned, with his own catch for Hougen. Her eyes narrowed in relief. It was another rabbit, snow white just like hers. Slowly, she slid out, carrying her rabbit towards Hachi. He nodded to her, then listened intently while she asked him to check on the patrol guards. He went off, not suspicious in the least, while she made the switch. Taking the clean rabbit with her, Suki leaped up into the tree tops, waiting. Her whole body was tense as Hougen strolled out, dragging the food into the building.

Suki waited. Her claws had sunk deep into the bark of the tree branch, her whole body stiff from waiting so long. Finally, a loud yell pierced the air like the thunder from a storm. Suki's ears perked up, and she listened intently. She watched Hachi approach the shack, curious. Suddenly, Hougen burst outwards, the half-eaten rabbit dangling from his jaws.

"HACHI! WHAT DID YOU THINK YOU WERE DOING, YOU PRICK?"

In a blind rage, Hougen threw the rabbit into Hachi's face, terrifying the hapless mutt. Suki watched in horror as Hougen began drooling and his lips curled back, exposing his fangs. He picked up Hachi by his throat, growling and snarling. Blood splattered onto the snow as Hougen shook Hachi again and again, shouting things incoherent to her. She turned away as Hougen dropped Hachi's unmoving body onto the ground and walked off. She lingered there for several moments afterward, until at last, she turned, and raced off into the trees.

If she remained, she would die. So she ran off, far, far away, never to return.

The hospital room was clean, white, pristine. It made his head hurt, not just from the unnatural brightness, but from the sheer fact that starring at the colorless walls for so long was giving him a headache. He was bored of this place, and longed to be out in the woods again, hunting. Matt sighed. He knew he could never go there again. Not after what he did. He growled. It pissed him off, that he had to stay here, while those things remained free. They should be locked up, not him. Matt rolled his eyes. Damn humans, thinking they're superior to everything else. The only reason I'm stuck here is because I'm a 'threat' to their 'innocent children'. Hah!

When Gin had spoken fondly of his old master, a boy called Daisuke, Matt hadn't tried very hard to hide his contempt for humans. If he was anything, he was honest with his feelings. He hadn't bothered to explain why though... he didn't think it mattered. He was gone, and that was it. Still... the way Gin had talked, about his story, his life, had entertained Matt somewhat. The vivid details of the battles and scenery Gin had encountered in his traveling had made Matt almost believe he was there himself, experiencing it, living it. But... no. He was stuck here. Forever.

Gin flicked one ear, and turned over.

"Feeling better today?"

Matt asked, bitter. He knew that once Gin healed up, he would be released. Adopted or simply left out in the wild, he didn't know, but he would get to leave. He would go and find his son, and get everything Matt would never be able to have.

"Yes. Thank you for your concern."

"Do you miss her?"

Matt questioned suddenly, lifting his head to look straight at the silver Akita. Gin nodded, knowing the German Shepherd was speaking of Sakura. Deep down, he was still grieving for her, however much he tried to hide it. John had always been able to see his true feelings, which made him even more certain that this dog, by any other name, was his best friend. He was convinced that, somehow, Matt didn't remember who he was, and that he would remember in time... he would wait for his friend for however long it took.

He owed it to him.

"And that's why I think it would be best to get Kurotora and his nephews. Ohu will fall without the proper defense."

Ben nodded, and answered his son.

"There is wisdom in your words, George. Especially given the current situations you have told us about."

The old Great Dane rose to his paws, and Cross followed, guiding him to the exit of their home.

"We will find Chutora's sons and tell Kuro that they'll be getting their first taste of battle."

Night had fallen, and he was back in his shelter, pawing desperately at the ground. He uncovered pawful after pawful of dirt and earth, but no food was to be found. He flopped to the ground in despair.

"All of my emergency supply is gone... what am I gonna do now?"

He moaned, his torn ear still stinging from the pain. He rubbed a paw against it and growled,

"Damn kids..."

Out of nowhere, two figures stood in his doorway, the darkness of the night concealing their identities. One of them spoke, his voice cold and calculating.

"Looks like you've got quite a problem on your hands there..."

He looked up, frightened. The other spoke up, his voice nearly identical to the others, save it was a bit more gruff.

"We might be able to offer you our... assistance."

Both of them licked their lips, while he whimpered in fear. Both of them chuckled darkly.

Slowly, he slipped out into the darkness, his breath coming out in foggy clouds. He puffed as he continued to jog further away from the shack, following the tracks he and his pack had left behind. Weed's eyes narrowed in concentration as his thoughts were drawn to the white Kishu, Kyoshiro the Silver. Despite the advice of Jerome, Kagetora, and Ken, he decided that Kyoshiro must join his pack. He would convince the Kishu Inu any way he had to... his father needed his help.

Weed paused to catch his breath and take in his surroundings. He had reached the spot where he had last seen Kyoshiro, and could hear the waterfall's dull roar in the background. He sniffed the ground, picking up the Kishu's scent, and wordlessly, like GB had taught him, began to follow its trail. He came to a clearing that he had not come across with his pack... yet there were fresh pawprints in the snow. They did not carry the scent of any one of his friends... so whose were they? Before he could ponder that any further, his ears picked up the sharp, eager cries of Kyoshiro's followers, followed by a few panicked screams for help.

Teru's father came running over the horizon, screaming in terror. Kyoshiro followed not far behind, growling angrily. Weed watched, shocked, as Kyoshiro pounced on the mutt's back, tearing into his spine with his fangs.

"I warned you, I warned you! And you didn't listen! You know what's gonna happen to you now? DO YA?"

He bit harder, while Teru's father groaned in agony. Teru himself stood amongst Kyoshiro's followers, shouting encouragement.

"Kill him, Kyoshiro! He's not my father!"

Teru's father's eyes rolled upwards, to look back into the distance. Two figures, barely visable, stood waiting. Silently, he bid them to hurry up with it before he screamed once more in pain. Weed rushed at Kyoshiro right then, fury in his eyes as he shouted Kyoshiro's name and barreled into the Kishu's side. The scarred dog fell to his side in the snow with a pained grunt, but appeared unhurt as he rolled onto his stomach. He snarled at the silver furred Akita.

"Kyoshiro, I thought you were better than that! If you think that's justice, you don't have a clue what justice is!"

In his fit of rage, Weed grabbed onto Kyoshiro's back paw and smacked him about in the snow, tossing him into a group of his followers. He panted as he tried to calm down, his teeth still bared.

"This isn't good... he's gone and started a fight instead of talking it through..."

Rocket murmured.

"Yeah... he's not gonna like that..."

GB whimpered.

"That kid needs to learn to control his temper..."

Shinku added.

"Should we go out there and help?"

Ken and Kagetora asked.

"There is no point in us going down there. Weed has to handle this on his own."

Jerome concluded.

Hiro, who had been taking this all in silently at Reika's side, suddenly looked over to his left. Two Dobermans were standing in the bushes, talking. He could not hear what they were saying, but who were they? Reika, who had turned her head to see what he had been looking at, voiced his thoughts.

"Um... who are those guys?"

Shinku narrowed her eyes.

"They don't look like any of Kyoshiro's dogs... they look like trouble."

"Alright, surround him!"

Kyoshiro growled, then smirked as his pack circled around him and the Akita. Once they were all in formation, he licked his lips and prepared himself. Elseware, out of sight of the Kishu, the two Dobermans remained, watching intently.

"Brother... we've lost our chance."

"Yeah... the brat got in the way."

"We coulda had him."

"We should start over. Let's go."

Both of them raced into the darkness, not completely unnoticed. Rocket spotted the two Dobermans and, along with GB, raced after them. Kyoshiro also sent two of his dogs after them, a sense of foreboding probing his mind. Pushing it aside, he turned to face the silver Akita. He walked towards Weed, teeth bared.

"It's been a while since I've been thrown down... the only dog that threw me down was my Dad when I was two months old... and that was the only time."

Weed stared back, intimidated.

"You are the one who doesn't know a thing about justice. You have no right to open your mouth!"

Weed blinked.

"Let me be honest... I came to ask for your help. "

"Huh?"

"But now... I'm disappointed, and disgusted with you. I thought we could talk things through together and you'd understand ... but I guess not."

"It's too bad Kyoshiro. I don't need anything from you now."

"WHAT?"

Kyoshiro snarled, taking a few steps forward. Weed unconsciously took a few steps back, but the crowd of dogs behind him shoved him forward again. Kyoshiro grinned, and licked his lips.

"There's no going back now. You've got a bone to pick with me, and I won't let you run away."

"I never run from anything."

"Oh, reallly? How impressive!"

Kyoshiro jeered, leaping into the air high above Weed's head. The Akita dodged backwards at the last moment, but was not saved from Kyoshiro's wrath. The Kishu grabbed hold of his leg and dragged him down to the snow, then took hold of his neck. Weed, not to be taken down so easily, grabbed Kyoshiro's neck in turn and shoved the Kishu off of him. Together they rolled over and over in the snow, running into some of Kyoshiro's dogs. Weed, using one of the moves Jerome had taught him for this kind of situation, used his body weight to shift to a more balanced position, and threw Kyoshiro off of him. The Kishu landed on all four paws, grinning.

"Heheh, not bad Weed."

"You remembered my name? I'm glad!"

He rushed forwards, fangs bared, while the rest of the dogs circling them cheered. Up above them, Hiro, Reika, Jerome, Ken, Kagetora, and Shinku were watching.

"They've started."

Hiro commented, while Reika watched with wide eyes.

"Weed is trying to prove himself to Kyoshiro. Let's watch for a bit."

Ken and Kagetora watched intently, admiring the skills Weed was displaying.

"Heh, the kid's a chip off the old block!"

Ken bragged, while Kage countered,

"Oi oi, he learned more from me than you! He's got the tora-ge blood!"

"Jerome taught him more than both of you combined!"

Shinku teased, nudging the Dane-Saluki mix and the Kai Ken simultaneously.

Suddenly, two mutts rushed forward, growing impatient with the fight.

"Leader, leader! Let us kill him!"

"He's not worthy to fight you!"

Weed, using his honed reflexes, jumped on the tan mutt's head and leaped over them both, amazing Kyoshiro with his agility and jumping power. This kid... isn't normal...

"Humph. Weed, why do you waste your time with that pack of mean, useless adults?"

"Mean? Useless?"

"That's right. They're liars, all of em. They don't care about their kids, they just use them. I bet that pack of yours don't even think of you as a comrade!"

"No, that's not true! All of my comrades are my friends!"

"Idiot. Are you so blind that you can't see they're using you?"

Weed snarled.

"Don't. Insult. My. Friends."

Kyoshiro gaped, then growled slowly.

"I.. don't want to hate you, Kyoshiro."

Kyoshiro's fangs became fully exposed at this. Cheeky brat!

"Kyoshiro, punishing this guy in front of everyone.. it's too much! Parents are parents, no matter how bad they are! If this child wants his father dead... it's an absolute mistake."

"Spoiled brat. The parents should be the ones teaching their children about love. But,"

The scarred Kishu turned to glare at Teru's father.

"Sometimes, love is not shown."

"Then shouldn't you teach him love, instead of hate?"

"Brat, you could never understand!"

He leaped after the Akita, grabbing hold of his throat.

"I will protect all of my kids, from anyone who gets in my way!"

He snarled, throwing Weed down into the snow. The Akita landed on his side, hard, and had the wind knocked out of him. Gasping for breath, he watched as Kyoshiro slowly approached him.

"If you apologize now... I'll forgive you. I'm not the heartless demon you think I am, Weed..."

He walked forwards, the only sound heard was the soft crunch of the snow as it was crushed under his paws. He stopped when a small voice broke into the crowd.

"Kyoshiro, kill him! That guy doesn't know what he's talking about! Do it!"

Weed turned his head to look at Kyoshiro.

"Look. See how your words and actions have affected those around you."

"Slaughter him, Kyo-!"

"Shut up, Teru!"

The mutt puppy blinked in surprise, then shoved his tail between his legs.

Kyoshiro barked,

"Hey, someone take the kid away."

"Wha? Why? I wanna see..."

"Alright kid, come on."

Teru cried out in protest as he was dragged away by another mutt, but his cries were cut off as he caught Kyoshiro's hard gaze. He silently allowed himself to be carried away, while Kyoshiro watched.

"The talking has gone on for long enough... let's finish what we started."

Weed nodded, his determination shining his eyes. Slowly, he and Kyoshiro circled each other, when Kyoshiro broke the tension by rushing forwards. Step by step, Weed matched his pace until Kyoshiro jumped off of his head, shoving Weed's face into the snow. Smirking, the scarred Kishu began to dig in the snow. Weed watched him, confused.

"This is a friendly gift from me."

"What?"

Slowly, a small chuckle broke about Kyoshiro's dogs.

"Well, how do ya want it? Bigger? Wider?"

The laughter grew louder.

"I'm digging you a grave."

All the dogs were laughing loudly, like a pack of hyenas. Weed's ears flattened against his skull in anger.

"Stop treating this like a joke, Kyoshiro!"

He ran forwards, none the wiser to Kyoshiro's trick.

"Here it is Weed!"

He looked underneath himself to glare at the Akita.

"I've had ten times the life you've had!"

A large rock hit him square in the face, followed by several more, smaller stones. Weed skidded to a stop in the snow as more and more rocks pelted him in the face. Kyoshiro continued shoveling more at him, goading him,

"Well, how do you like it Weed? Are you enjoying my gift?"

His paws found the biggest rock, and he shoved it backwards with his paws.

"This will end it!"

The boulder hit him right between the eyes, and Weed's eyes rolled back into his head. He fell back into the snow, completely exposed. Kyoshiro turned around, regret showing on his face. Sorry kid... but I have to keep leading this pack. They need me.

"What a shame. Here comes your death!"

"There it is!"

"Kyoshiro's killing attack!"

"He's finished!"

Kyoshiro was heading towards the ground, teeth aiming straight for Weed's throat. Up above, Jerome cried out in disbelief as the Kishu came closer. Weed still lay on the ground, helpless, unable to defend himself from Kyoshiro's killing attack... when out of nowhere, a scream pierced the air. Kyoshiro landed face down in the snow, Weed on his side a few inches away. Jerome and the rest of the group sighed in relief, and ran to Weed's side. To their surprise, both the Akita and Kishu ran off in the direction of the scream, with Kyoshiro's followers close behind.

Two of Kyoshiro's dogs lay in the snow, heavily wounded. One of them had lost his eye, the other had several wounds cutting neatly across his throat. At that moment, the mutt gurgled and died, while the one-eyed one cried heavily. Kyoshiro brushed his nose across the dead dog's muzzle, then turned to the one-eyed one.

"Who? Who did this?"

"Those guys who we were following... the Dobermans!"

Weed's eyes widened as he looked ahead. GB also was lying in the snow, panting, while Rocket limped over to him.

"Weed... we tried to help them but..."

The Borzoi looked over at GB.

"They were too fast, too strong."

"And their teeth... those guys aren't normal!"

GB whimpered.

Kyoshiro bared his teeth.

"I don't give a damn. They killed one of my kids! Two dogs are no match for all of us!"

Both he and his followers raced off, following the tell-tale pawprints left behind by the Dobermans. Weed followed along, matching steps with Kyoshiro.

"Weed wait!"

"Come back!"

"Why's he running along with them?"

GB asked, while Rocket shrugged. Not long after, Jerome and the rest of the group caught up, Shinku rushing to GB's side at once. She licked his wounds urgently, while Jerome questioned Rocket on what had happened. Meanwhile, Weed continued to follow Kyoshiro, until the scarred Kishu asked,

"Why are you following us?"

"To find whoever did this."

"The hell do you care?"

"It's the same reason as you. I won't forgive anyone who harms my friends."

"Oh, is that so?"

They came upon a fork in the path, with a large mound of snow in front of them.

"The footprints separated?"

Weed thought aloud, sniffing at the prints. Kyoshiro, catching onto his idea, sent half of his group in one direction and the other in the opposite direction. He noticed Teru racing off with one group, until Kyoshiro called him over.

"You don't have to go with them. You can wait here with me."

Teru panted, and tried to hide his weakness.

"I'm fine. Stop treating me like a kid."

"Heh, with how you were acting earlier?"

Teru avoided his gaze.

"I know sometimes we get hasty and rowdy... but you took it too far Teru."

The puppy's head lowered in shame. Feeling pity for him, Kyoshiro lifted the puppy onto his head.

"One day, when you become a real dog, Teru... we can scare the adults together. "

The puppy smiled and perked up instantly.

"Yeah, I want to become a real dog like you Kyoshiro!"

"Heh, alright then."

He placed Teru atop the mound, watching as the puppy played. Weed watched as well with a smile on his face. Kyoshiro caught his gaze and narrowed his eyes.

"What?"

"Oh, nothing."

Kyoshiro turned his gaze back to Teru.

"I wasn't lying to you when I said I treated all of them like they were my kids. Every one of them were abused by their parents... some had it worse than others. So I take their parents' place, and raise them. And now, all of us will raise Teru together."

Kyoshiro... you are not a bad person. I definitely want you as one of my allies.

Weed thought.

Then, the sounds of rushing pawsteps signaled the return of Kyoshiro's pack. Echoed voices of confusion clamored about the group, until Kyoshiro silenced them.

"Jiro, give the report. Where are they?"

"Um. Leader... the pawprints lead all of us back here."

"What?"

The sound of a lump of snow crashing to the ground caught all of their attention. Teru was gone.

"Teru?"

Kyoshiro called.

"Let me go! Let go let go let go LET GO!"

Teru cried, not too far away.

"Teru... Teru!"

Kyoshiro shouted, racing towards the sounds. He came to a sudden stop and stared in shock at what was in front of them. Two Dobermans stood in front of him... and Teru was in their jaws.

AN: Don't know how many readers notice, but I update my profile with updates on this story... so check it out for previews of the next chapter n such.