1943, the end of the Battle of Stalingrad
Dmitri looked over the sand bags, than quickly pulled his head down.
"Germans" He said under his breath.
Next to him were his three friends, Sasha the machine gunner, Malik the Chechen, and a bottle of Vodka.
"How many Germans are there?' Sasha asked, while he checked the pan of his DP machinegun.
"A squad, maybe 10 or more." Dmitri answered. Malik looked at Dmitri, and then looked at his rifle. His mere presence gave ice to his teammates.
"We don't have enough ammo, do we?" Sasha asked. Dmitri shook his head.
"Shit, where is Commissar Boris with the reinforcements?" Sasha asked.
The Chechen answered, "Does it matter?"
The two looked at Malik, then at each other.
"Well guys, it was nice knowing you." Dmitri said, as he pulled the Vodka out of his belt and passed it to Sasha.
Sasha took a big swig, possible his last. The Chechen, however, placed his hand up, indicating no.
"Well, more for me then." Sasha said, taking a swig of Malik's part. Once drunk (besides Malik), the three loaded their weapons, and fired.
Ulrich was not prepared for shots to fire out of the building next to him.
"Soldiers, kill the Russian swine."
He then turned to Holo.
"Now dearie, this will only hurt a bit"
Jabbing his knife into Holo's arms, he pulled it out, licking her blood from the blade. "If what the legends and scientist say are true, I will be unstoppable."
Holo watched in horror, as the man became a wolf. Like many before him, Holo's blood was harvested and transfused into others. Many died because the blood was not fresh enough to turn them. This time, however it would not be the case. As Ulrich turned into a wolf, Dmitri and his friends had already killed most of the Germans.
"Sukis," Sasha screamed over the machine guns roar, "were is your Fuhrur now?"
Then, a huge wolf appeared.
"There, there is their Fuhrur" Malik answered.
The remainder of the German's ran at the sight of the Wolf. The Russians started firing at the wolf.
"You stupid pests, you will die like insects, "Ulrich howled. He swiped the build, breaking the wall. Dmitri fell from the two-story building. The wolf came closer, baring its teeth.
"Where is Marx now?" the wolf asked.
Dmitri, out of words, pulled a Nagant revolver and pointed at the wolf.
"Stupid insect, your bullets are mere mosquitos to me."
Sasha and Malik where stunned by the wolf's presence, they could do nothing to save Dmitri.
"Go ahead, insect, fire a shot." The wolf taunted.
Dmitri fired a shot into Ulrich's head. To the surprise of everyone, the shot punched into Ulrich's head, killing him instantly. He gave no sound when he died. Sasha and Malik both stared at their comrades kill, Sasha cheering, while Malik was silent as ice.
Holo got up from the ground, undoing her bonds. Ripping her sleeve, she wrapped the cloth around her hand. She would not die, this she knew. What bothered her was that the man-turned-wolf died, that is not supposed to happen. Only a wolf could kill a human-turned-wolf. Curious, she walked to the soldier in the rubble. Stepping over the naked body of the officer, she lifted the helmet of the man. She gasped.
The man looked up, he too gasped at the sight of Holo.
"I, I have seen you before!"
Dmitri then closed his eyes, Holo's warmth keeping him alive. As Holo embraced the man, two soldiers came up to her.
"Ah mam?" the big one said,"Is he alright?"
Holo looked at the man, a tear in her eye. The other man, a bit shorter, came up next to Holo.
"He's fine, only in shock." He said.
His voice made Holo feel cold. Just then, a man wearing a Commissar's hat and overcoat appeared, followed by a mix match of soldiers and partisans.
"Soldiers, Report!" the old man said with authority. The two came at attention.
"Commissar, we ambushed the German's here, we could not wait any longer." Sasha answered.
"I see, who took that officer's clothes off?" Boris asked
"Commissar, he turned into …" Sasha could not finish
"A wolf, or is it a dragon this time Sasha? Besides, I know better to ask you, Malik, why is he naked? "Boris said in an angry tone.
"He attempted to rape a woman." Malik said with no tone.
"You see Sasha, you need to take a page from Malik and not drink." Boris said, and then asked," Where is Dmitri?"
Malik only pointed toward Dmitri's passed out body and the girl.
"Woman, who are you?' Boris asked.
Holo did not answer. Boris asked again, this time with more force.
"WOMAN, WHO ARE YOU!" Holo got up, and stared at the old man screaming at her.
"My name is, ah." Holo thought a moment. "My name is Horo"
The commissar only looked at her, and then grabbed a Mosin Nagant with a sniper scope on it. He handed it to Holo. Holo only shook her hands and head signifying no. The commissar pushed the rifle into Holo's arms.
"YOU WILL FIGHT FOR YOUR MOTHER LAND, HORO, OR YOU WILL DIE LIKE A PIG IN SLAUGHTER."
Even though Holo could turn into a Wolf at any time and run back to Yoitsu, but the soldier named Dmitri made her wonder
"Could he be my descended?" she thought
Holo stepped out of the supply tent, wearing a one-piece uniform meant for snipers. It was too big for her, and the uniform barely kept the cold off of her. Still, she thought, it hid her ears and tail from the others. The one thing she hated about her uniform was the rifle. It was bad enough that it was a rifle, but worse that it had a scope.
"I damn the one that invented the scope," Holo said under her breath.
The commissar had since left to spread the ideas of communism to the troops and to raise moral.
"He is nothing better than the Church back long ago," She said under her breath
"I couldn't agree more," A voice behind her said.
Holo felt scared, how did someone sneak up on Holo the Wise Wolf. She turned around, only to see Malik with his arms crossed, his face expressing no emotion.
"I am sorry, ah, comrade, I was just…"
But Malik stopped her, answering, "Don't worry, I am only a soldier, not the thought police."
Holo signed in relieve, then asked, "tell me, Malik, why where sneaking up on me?" Then Holo got in close to Malik's face "are you trying to get close to me?" Holo said in a seductive tone.
Malik only looked at her with a blank face
"Dmitri is no longer in shock, just wanted to tell you."
Malik then turned, and walked away, Holo followed
"You know Malik, you will never get a woman like me to love you if you treat them like that!"
Malik only turned around, taking off one of his gloves, and showed her the wedding band on his ring finger. The action was harmless enough, but to Holo it was similar to being given the finger.
"Why you!" Holo shouted with anger.
The Chechen only turned around, walking to the medical tent.
The medical tent was a house of wonders and horrors to Holo. Many of the cots had troops dying, either from loss of blood or by disease. To Holo, even the air had blood. She examined the instruments, some in wonder, and some in horror. Glass bottles with blood hung with tubes connected to some troops. On tables were numerous knifes, needles, and saws, many drenched in blood.
"If this keeps up, I fear that the ground may become blood itself!" Holo commented.
Malik took no notice to Holo's comment. At the end of the tent, Holo could see Dmitri sitting on the cot with the big Russian next to him helping him up.
"Hey Dmitri," Malik said with some hint happiness "that girl you met in battle is here to see you."
Dmitri looked up, and felt shocked at seeing the girl from his dreams.
"You, You are from my dreams!" Dmitri said with a shock.
"Let us go Malik, these two love birds have some catching up to do"
As Sasha said this, Malik was already stepping outside of the tent.
"Malik, wait up."
Once Sasha was gone, Holo looked at Dmitri. Likewise, Dmitri looked at Holo.
"Who are you?" Holo asked
"Me, well my name is Dmitri. And you, what is your name?" Dmitri asked.
Holo pondered an answer.
"Well, you see to your friends I am Horo. But my real name is Holo." Holo answered.
To her surprise, the man looked confused.
"Holo, like Holo the Wise Wolf from the child's story "Spice and Wolf"?"
Holo felt shocked.
"Our travels have become a mere child's story?"
Again the man looked surprised.
"What do you mean by "our travels"?" Dmitri asked.
Holo looked at the man,
"Maybe someplace a little less bloody" Holo answered.
The two walked out, both heading toward a place that offered privacy. It was hard, but they eventually found a spot to talk.
"Tell, me Dmitri, why did you say I was from your dreams?" Holo asked the soldier.
Dmitri looked at her, examining her features. Then he answered
"When I was young in the orphanage, I always had dreams of a young she wolf and a man traveling across Europe. You remind me of her."
Holo stared at the man, could he be her descendent? Dmitri spoke up again
"Holo is it? Tell me, are you named after the character?"
Holo mearley smiled, a sense of pride came over her. It had been years since she felt that feeling.
"I think it's better to say that the character is named after me."
Dmitri only laughed at her comment.
"Really, but the story is over a hundre..." Dmitri starred at Holo as she removed her hood. Once the hood was removed, her ears puffed up. Fear gripping him, Dmitri crawled into a corner.
"What, what are you!"
Holo sensed his fear, and decided not to show her beautiful tail.
"I am sorry about scaring you; it has been years since anyone has seen my ears up close." Holo said in a calming voice.
Dmitri leaned forward, feeling the ears, trying to comfort himself that he was not drunk. Holo giggled, his hand felt ticklish in her ears.
"So the legends and tales, they are true? You traveled with a spice trader named Lawrence?" Dmitri asked.
Holo looked down, sadness overcoming her.
"He was not just a spice trader, but a trader all kinds of goods." Holo looked up, her tears dried up before they could fall.
"As for any legends and tales, I have no knowledge of them."
Dmitri took this answer. It was silent for a time, before Holo asked Dmitri a question.
"You were an orphan, how did that happen."
Holo realized the problem with her question, and tried to say that she was sorry for bringing up. Instead Dmitri smiled, a inhuman smile
"I never knew my parents, but considering they abandon me, maybe it was the best."
Holo was taken aback, was this how her last child saw her, did he think she abandoned him and she was okay that she abandoned him.
"Still, I wonder" Dmitri said.
Holo looked at him, feeling a small hope of happiness. Although she was not his mother, she felt it her duty to protect him.
"Tell me Dmitri, who are your friends?" Holo asked, wanting to change the subject.
"The big soldier is Sasha, he is our machine gunner. One thing you should know, he drinks a lot and likes to spin tales, so be careful."
Holo nodded in agreement
"So that's what you officer meant, what about the small guy."
Dmitri turned his head to where Holo pointed.
"He is Malik; he comes from the Chechnya province. I do not know much about his past, other than that he is married. I will tell you this, he rarely talks. When he does talk, listen to him." Dmitri said to Holo
"Tell me, Dmitri, does Malik scare the two of you?"
Holo noticed Dmitri's mood change.
"Yes, in fact many soldiers in our battalion often joke that his presence instills fear even in wolves."
Holo only nodded in agreement, feeling relieved that she was not the only one that was intimidated by Malik's presence.
"Holo" Holo twitched her ears at her name," the stories end with Lawrence and you making it to Yoitsu, what happens afterward?"
Holo pondered the question, and then started to sob.
"I am sorry, I was just curious."
But Holo shock her head at the remark
"It is only in your nature, much like it is in my nature to hunt your kind." She looked up, seeing a fearful smile appear on his face.
"Do not worry; I have no need to kill you or your kind." Holo told Dmitri. She felt him become a little less tense.
The two talked with each other on other matters, learning more about each other. Their time, however, was cut short. Boris, done with his sermon on Communism, began to look for Horo. When he found her, he noticed her ears. Quickly, he hid behind a wall.
"That idiot, doesn't she know that the Germans are looking for her."
Still in his hiding position, he called
"Horo, HORO, where are you. You need to train with the Mosin!"
Holo heard him, and quickly pulled her hood up. She hated hiding her wolf features, but after what happened to her during capture, it would be for the best.
"Sir, I am here." Holo came to attention. She hated having to treat the old man with such respect, but she had to hide.
"Horo, as much as I like partisans, you need to learn how to use that rifle." Boris turned to Dmitri "Private Dmitri, you squad is looking for you!"
Dmitri saluted the Commissar. The commissar looked at Holo, coaxing her to follow him. The two walked silently to the firing range. The firing range was little more than glass vodka bottles placed all over in random locations. The commissar asked for Holo's rifle. He detached the scope.
"Now then, to use the Mosin Nagant you must…"
Holo listened to the old man's teachings. She hated all of it. The report of the rifle caused pain to her ears each time she fired. The smell of gunpowderhung in the air and blocked up her usually powerful nose. Despite this, she was good with the weapon, something she hated to admit.
"I have become that which I hate." It was all Holo could say to herself.
Boris was pleased with how good Holo was with the rifle. Even though Holo did not know it, Boris was teaching her for her own good.
"The Germans will never know that Holo is a sniper, they will never find her." The commissar thought to himself. Calling her to attention, he stared at the deity as if she were a common soldier.
"That's enough Horo, report to your squad. You will know who they are for you have met them."
Holo saluted, and walked backed to her "Squad mates". Boris only smiled.
"Funny that despite her wisdom, she has no clue of my intentions, nor who I am. I will make sure that she doesn't find out this till she needs to"
"What do you mean that Boris did not make you take physicals?" asked Sasha
"If I knew, I would tell you." Holo remarked back.
Holo looked at her squad mates, examining their actions. Sasha and Dmitriwereplaying cards, Dmitri winningby a landslide. As for Malik, he was in a corner sharpening his knife. Dmitri then pulled out a glass bottle, its contents clear.
"We shall celebrate the induction of our new comrade, Horo"
Holo looked at the bottle, smelling alcohol, she attempted to grab it. Sasha stopping her
"Hold on Horo, we need to go down the chain of command. Malik! Can I have your part of Vodka?"
Malik only looked up, sheathing his knife. With a blank expression on his face, he pointed to Holo, then the bottle.
"Oh I see, one girl not enough?" Sasha then looked at Holo "Looks like you will be getting his part, you lucky suki."
Dmitri took the first drink, downing his drink like water. Holo was now even more curious of the drink.
"What is this drink? It nothing of the sort of alcohol I drink."
Malik looked up, opening his mouth
"It's Vodka, Horo; the Russians make it from potatoes."
Holo looked at Sasha grab the bottle, taking a swing for alcohol.
"This is not enough Vodka to make me drunk on, DAMN YOU MALIK!" Sasha said in a drunk like reply
Malik only turned away, sharpening his knife.
Holo took the half empty bottle. Putting the bottle to her mouth, she started to drink to contents. Instantly her neck started to burn. Holo spat thedrink from her mouth, looking at Dmitri and Sasha
"Don't do that," Sasha said "We only get one bottle every now and then. You know what, give me the bottle."
Sasha extended his hand, expecting to grab the bottle. Instead, Holo quickly drank the rest of the alcohol; disgust could be seen in her eyes.
"Good thing that bottle was real Vodka and not shoe polish." Dmitri said to Holo. Holo merely looked him with confusion and disgust.
With the bottle empty, Holo, Dmitri, and Sasha stumbled over to their cots. Malik kept the trio from falling over from the alcohol. Once they reached their cots, the trio attempted to sleep.
"By my tail, how can they drink stuff like that? It has no taste, and just burns the throat. This "Vodka" is just pure alcohol, too much for one drink I fear. I wish there was mead around." Holo mused to herself.
"Because they don't care how they become drunk, how much alcohol is in the drink, and mead takes too long to make for their liking"
Holo froze, and then turned her head. She saw Malik staring at her, his rifle taken apart for cleaning.
"Can you stop that, it is really freaky that you can sneak up on me and hear me so well."
Malik just stared at Holo, then back at his rifle.
"He is indeed colder than Ice." Holo thought.
On her cot, she turned to Dmitri. She stared at him, still surprised at how similar he looked like Lawrence. Then, Dmitri yawned, showing his teeth as he did so. Although slightly drunk, Holo was shocked at his teeth.
"Wolf teeth!" Holo thought just before fatigue and alcohol took control of her body.
Malik looked at Holo, sensing surprise in her face before she fell asleep. Putting his rifle back together, he laid his head to rest. Unlike Sasha and Dmitri who drank till they could no longer stand up, Malik never drank alcohol in his live. It was against the teachings of the Muhammad, plus alcohol dulled the senses. From what he could see of Horo, she was lying. The way she acted toward Vodka, Communism, rifles, etc., plus her comment about her "tail" made Malik come to the conclusion that Horo was something much larger then she has showing to his squad mates. What she was, however, he did not know.