Chapter 2

Left Behind

Phew! Sorry I haven't updated in a while. I was stuck and then I was in a contest since May that took up most of my writing time. If you are interest in the results of the contest, please check my bio.

Zoe was trying to make sense of what was going on before her. Her morning started like normal. Get up, get dressed, eat, and go to school. But it was lunch period that threw things off, and it wasn't because of the Mystery Meat. Being smart, Zoe had brought her lunch with her and went outside to eat. She usually eats in the woods that surrounds the property, so that was nothing new. But when she finished her leftover pizza that was when the mysterious vortex appeared over her head and sucked her in, even when she held onto the log that she had been sitting on. Now, she found herself drenched and surrounded by animal people.

The penguin, Carmelita, and the kangaroo, Ryder, managed to scrounge up some clothing for her to wear until her stuff dried off. She ended up wearing one of Ryder's Hawaiian shirts that was a few sizes too big, thankfully giving her the chance to dry out her bra without drawing attention to her chest. Carmelita gave her some khaki pants and a belt that thankfully came in her size.

But despite the hospitality, her new acquaintances questioned her constantly. Mostly by Duncan. He was the one who asked the most critical of the questions, which were more critical than Basil's. The whole situation made Zoe uncomfortable and her anxiety could be sensed by the Fur-Fighters-in-training. It wasn't until Zhong intervened that Duncan and the others stopped questioning her and let Zhong treat her. But they did get plenty of answers out of her.

Zhong had come up with the theory that Zoe was from another dimension, where the roles between humans and animals were reversed and that humans were the dominant sentient being in her world. But how she came to their world was a matter that they were having trouble answering. It was then that Ryder decided to ask a question.

"Oy, mates. Where are we gonna keep her? I'm pretty sure it'll take some explaining to tell our Oldies about her before she can come into the village."

The others gave it some thought, leaving Zoe to ponder on what she should do. Basil was the first to speak.

"Ryder'z right, mon amis. She can't stay here. It iz too wet and she can catch a cold here."

"And it's going to take a while to explain to our padres before we can let her stay in one of our houses." Carmelita spoke.

Duncan, agreeing with his friends, walked outside the falls and screened the village until his eyes fixed on the Undermill. Since the Undermill was used as both a Fur Fighter training ground and a regular watermill, it might suit their predicament for a while.

Returning to their hiding spot, Duncan voiced his idea.

"We'll hide her in the Undermill. No one's going to train for a while and we have plenty of milled goods stored for now. She'll be safe there."

As the Junior Fur Fighters followed Duncan's plan and began to agree, Zoe raised an eyebrow at Duncan's statement.

"Training? For what?"

Ryder decided to answer as the group began to move out to the Undermill.

"Well, Sheila. To tell you that, I'll have to talk to you about our Oldies. That's Aussie-talk for our pops and moms. You see years ago, before we were born, Basil's and Zweek's moms and the rest of our pops were in a war against a bad cat named General Viggo."

"Why a war?" Zoe asked.

Zhong spoke up.

"He wanted to take over world. He owns company called 'Viggo Industries' and had plenty of money to spend on bears, peacocks, foxes, and other kinds of animals as a massive army. We're lucky that the bears were very stupid and couldn't go through several orders without messing up if their lives depended on it."

"Anyway~. Every nation took part in fighting the war, but we were at a stalemate. So they called up the best warrior of six nations to form a small fighting force known as the 'Fur Fighters'. Mi Padre is from Argentina, Basil's Madre is from France, and Ryder's Padre is from Australia. Zweek's Madre is from Wales while Duncan's Padre is from Scotland and Zhong's Padre was from Hong Kong. Each one of them had a different atributos that helped them in their cause." Carmelita spoke as the teens entered the Undermill.

"We ended up winning the war, Mademoiselle, and Viggo was arrested for crimes against every country. As soon as he was put away, our parents founded this village after they became friends in the war. They met their significant partners and started families. It was très bon until we were five, when Viggo returned." Basil spoke.

Zoe stood still for a few moments before speaking.

"Wait. Viggo, the evil cat who made enough money to start a war with the world and was sent to prison for it, got out?"

Zweek nodded.

"Right. No one believed it at first until he attacked our village from his aircraft carrier. He sent helicopters to spread some sort of sleeping powder, immobilizing us."

Duncan was the last to speak.

"He abducted us and our families, left our Fur Fighter parents behind and held the rest of us for ransom while he tried to conquer the world again. He even went as far as mutating our mothers and Basil's father, except for Zweek's family, whose youngest brother was unknowingly left behind by Viggo. He took part in saving Zweek and their siblings, while Tweek had to face their Mum in battle to save her."

Zoe couldn't help but giggle at the sight of Zweek's embarrassed and exasperated expression at the thought of the baby of the family save him.

Curious, Zoe's mind went back to the story.

"What happened next?"

Ryder spoke again.

"Our Oldies found us and save our other Oldies in different places around the world and beat Viggo at his own fortress. But…he escaped before the island blew up."

Curiosity changed to concern as Zoe gawked at the anthropomorphic animals.

"Why do I get the feeling that he's still out there?"

"That's because he is, Zoe." Zhong spoke. "Our parents tried to find him, but it was like he disappeared off the earth. No one has seen him for thirteen years. Chances of him dying are now in the double digits."

"Well my Da and I believe that he's still out there, waiting for a chance to strike." Duncan spoke.

But as he said that, the sound of helicopter blades began to roar through the air. Despite being underground, the sound could be heard by the Junior Fur Fighters and their human guest.

"What's that?" Ryder asked.

"I do not know, Ryder. But I have a feeling that it izn't good." Basil replied.

Knowing that they didn't have any weapons with them, and Zoe was practically defenseless, Duncan gave an order.

"Everyone. Find a place to hide and wait until I give the all-clear."

Carmelita jumped into the waterway, using her penguin abilities to hide and listen underwater. Zhong crawled into the air vent, his small size being an advantage in this kind of situation. Ryder hid behind some crates with Zoe while Basil used his claws to hang on to the back of some hanging carpet that was used in his and his family's training. Zweek hid up in the rafters while Duncan hid behind a pillar near the entrance and kept watch.

Seconds turned into minutes. Minutes turned into two hours. Duncan began to wonder at this time what was going on, since no bears were coming into the Undermill to try and find anyone. On the third hour, silence came and the leader of the new Fur Fighters decided to leave his hiding place and crept to the entrance of the Undermill, his paws balled into fists.

As he made his way up, the sound of silence continued to bother him quite a bit. But as he returned to the surface, Duncan could not but widen his brown eyes. There was no sign of life in the village. No siblings, no friends, not even any of the parents who founded the village. Duncan kept to the shadows as he looked around for any signs of his father.

"Da! Da! Where are you? Where is everybody?"

Duncan searched as much of the village as he could before returning to the Undermill to call his friends and Zoe.

"Lads! Lasses! Everyone's gone!"

Hearing Duncan's voice and news, the F.F.I.T. left their hiding places and ran to the entrance where Duncan is with Zoe right behind them, all of them trying to piece together what was going on.

As the Anthros reached the surface, they all saw what Duncan had seen. Zweek searched through his family's treasure pile and the alcove that was accessible only to the dragon family to find no one, not even Tweek. Carmelita searched the waters of Fur Fighter Village for her family, but to no avail as well.

Zhong, Basil, and Ryder checked their houses for any sign of their families but found them empty as well. Zoe wandered the village, also noticing the apparent emptiness. Then, Zhong called out, knowing only a few can hear him.

"Everyone! My bàba's security camera found something!"

Everyone, including Zoe, rushed to Zhong's house, where Zhong was trying to focus the images on the video feed.

"Anything, Zhong?" Duncan asked.

"Not yet, Duncan. I am currently trying to get a clear picture."

"Then may I try? I'm good at cameras."

The response came from Zoe, who just spoken those words without thinking. Zhong looked at Duncan before he stood up and let Zoe at the computer. Zoe, having worked with computers before as well, changed the resolution until she cleared the screen. After a few more adjustments, she was able to bring out a clear video before speaking.

"Your disk drive must be dirty. We would've had this cleared earlier if it were clean." Zoe told Zhong, who was amazed at her diagnosis and video results.

"How did you know how to adjust the resolution right in a matter of seconds?"

Zoe answered him as she rewound the feed to three hours prior.

"I'm a reporter for my school's newspaper and I can be pretty persistent in getting a scoop. I've worked with video cameras all the time when with dangerous scoops."

The teens then turned their attention to the video, which showed Chang and his wife, Mai, collapsing as a green dust settled. It was shortly after the dust cleared when two black bears approached the fallen couple and took them away before Zoe changed to a video that was taken at the center of the village. There, it showed the Fur Fighter families out cold with Roofas and his comrades in a separate pile. Overlooking the pile was a sinister-looking white cat in a blue business suit that the Anthros recognized immediately.

"General Viggo!" Duncan let out a startling half-yell.

Zoe paused the video and turned to her saviors.

"This is that Viggo guy you were talking about?"

Carmelita nodded and spoke while Duncan's fist shook in anger.

"Si. That is Viggo, the cat who took us long ago."

Duncan then spoke.

"Zoe. See if you can enable us to hear what that damn cat is saying."

Zoe complied and adjusted the settings so that Viggo's speech could be heard.

"Well, well. We meet again, Roofas. I've returned once again and this time, the world will be mine. But this time, I will change the plans. I will not kill you as I dreamt about every night since the destruction of my island home. No. I want you to watch as you and your families are force to obey my every command."

Viggo then turned to his bears.

"Take them away. And have the Fur Fighters and their spouses taken to the laboratories. I will deal with them there."

That was the end of the feed before the helicopters flew away, Unknowingly leaving Duncan and his friends behind. Zoe turned her seat to find Duncan and his friends expressing their own emotion.

Carmelita fell to her knees and tried not to sob, Ryder and Zweek trying to comfort her. Zhong was trying to keep Basil from clawing up his house out of rage, and Duncan pounded a fist on Zhong's desk, which the Firefox protested at.

"Damn! We were right there and we just let him walk away with our families! Why didn't I check outside sooner?"

A sting of guilt went through Zoe, as she was the one responsible for their not being there to help their families.

It was then another video feed caught her attention. While the Anthros were amongst themselves, Zoe used Zhong's headphones that were lying nearby and listened to what Viggo was saying to a peacock as he neared a helicopter.

"Sergeant. Any sign of that human that arrived here? This was where the dimensional rift caused by the Dimensional Doorway Device was calculated to be, wasn't it?"

The peacock gulped.

"Err…sorry, General. But we have found no traces of the 'more evolved' human anyway. Chances are, it may have drowned in the sea."

Zoe had to close her eyes and remove the headphones before Viggo took his anger out on the unfortunate sergeant. She waited a few seconds before she dared to take a peek. Thankfully, whatever Viggo did to that peacock was over and she was able to continue to listen to the feed.

"Send some small watercraft to scour the seas near the village for the next two hours. Find that human!"

When the feed ended, Zoe removed the headphones and pieced together what had happened to her for the past three hours. Her coming here wasn't an accident or divine intervention. She was brought here on purpose by an evil cat who clearly had something planned for her that she was needed alive to initiate it. This realization combined with the negative emotions of the Anthros in the same room, Zoe up and left the house, heading towards the beach area. She sat on the sand and looked out at the sea.

"Even if it was Viggo who brought me here, it's still my fault. If I hadn't come, maybe they would've been able to save their families."

"On the contrary, my dear, you've actually saved them from a fate worse than death and given them the chance to save their families." A British voice spoke.

Zoe turned around and nearly toppled into the sea at the sight of a transparent walrus dressed in army attire. Judging from his helmet he was a three-star general.

"Wh-wha-! Wh-who are you?" Zoe asked in a panicky state.

The dead walrus answered her.

"I am General Bristol. In life, I was the Fur Fighters' commanding officer in the first war against General Viggo. Before I died, that is. I was also their spiritual advisor and mentor when they needed to save their families from Viggo thirteen years ago."

Zoe gulped at the thought that she was talking to a dead general and even more that no one else was seeing this but her.

"Wh-why are you here? D-did you see what had happened to the village while we were in the Undermill?"

"I did, my dear, and your timing was perfect. Your meeting Duncan and the others saved your lives and unlocked the door for all of you to right what has been wrong. And I am here to guide the seven of you on your quest."

The human blinked a couple of times before she spoke.

"S-seven? I'm sorry, general, but I don't know how to fight other than with my fists. From what Duncan and the other's told me, if we're supposed to go after Viggo and get their families back, I'd be the most useless in the group. I can't fire weapons, nor do I have a special talent for combat. And what makes you so sure that we'll be going after that cat?"

"Because, Duncan is like his father. He will be determined to get his family back as well as the rest of them. And as for you. Viggo's Dimensional Doorway Device wasn't the only reason you were brought here. It could have taken any other human, but it seems that fate has chosen you to help stop Viggo once and for all, Zoe. The new Fur Fighters can teach you how to fight with weapons as well as how to keep your stomach in order when you kill bears."

Zoe held her stomach at the thought of being forced to kill bears with weapons as the general continued.

"And as for talent, you have a natural gift at stealth. This would make you the perfect espionage agent for silent missions. And your knowledge in media will come in handy in the future." It had never occurred that Zoe would be perfect as a spy. Such a compliment was just for fun from her friends back home.

But now, this was bigger than finding embarrassing stories about the most popular, yet vicious, kids in school to print on a piece of paper. She could use her stealth to save some lives, and end others. But why should she do such a thing? Bristol, who knew Zoe was hesitant about joining a fight like this, spoke.

"If you and your friends free the original Fur Fighters and their families, you may be able to find where Viggo's Dimensional Doorway Device is and acquire it. For it may be the only way to send you home."

Just like that, the general vanished, leaving Zoe with more unanswered questions. And the Junior Fur Fighters standing up the hill. Gulping, Zoe spoke.

"Tell me you saw what I saw."

"We did, Zoe. I cannot believe what Général Bristol had said about us." Basil spoke.

"Or about that Viggo is responsible for bringing Zoe here, mate?" Ryder asked.

Ignoring his friend, Duncan walked down and knelt down in front of Zoe.

"We have seen the rest of the feed after you had left. I fear that whatever that mad cat is planning isn't good news for you. But I agree with Bristol. We're defiantly going after our families and teach that damn cat not to mess with us. And with what the general had said about you being stealthy, we could use someone with that light of feet in our group. And who knows. We may be able to find that device to send you home with."

He then gave Zoe a serious look.

"But are you willing to join us, lass? The road ahead will be dangerous and tough. You may have to take enemy lives, even if you don't want to. You will get hurt and the chances of you of getting killed are high if you are not careful. But we will have your back if you have ours. So what do you say, lass. Are you in or out?"

Zoe looked at Duncan, then at the others behind him. They were serious about going into such a fight and that they would help her along. All she needed to take care of was her ability to fight and to stomach killing foes. As she gave it some more thought, she decided. With a smile, she shook Duncan's paw.

"I'm in."

With that settled, the new Fur Fighters returned to their homes for the night, while Zoe stayed at Carmelita's house. And with Zoe now being a Fur Fighter, Duncan looked to the setting sun.

"Just wait, Da. We'll find you as soon as we as the new Fur Fighters can."