Shiko stared into the sewers, his eyes ever so slightly crinkled at the edges. Cautious as he was, he couldn't help but find the base of Risk's pack amusing. The base of the sewers? As genius as it was, surely there was a better place. Sighing, his nose crinkling against the varying smells, he padded into the small pipe, crouching slightly.
It was a tight fit for the massive wolfhound, but his lean form made up for it. As he slowly padded deeper though, the tunnel began to widen out and lengthen. He straightened his massive shoulder and sighed with relief, sniffing curiously as a peculiar smell wafted through the air. Almost minty, with a touch of the cold bite of snow he so loved. He kept his head low and his ears pricked, wary of every sound and motion that echoed through the massive pipes.
He came upon an intersection of sorts, a large circular clearing in the middle. The water came barely up to his ankle. For a normal sized dog, probably the elbow. He paused, cocking his head and studying the various directions he could go.
Two steel paws stepped lightly from their previous confines, black claws delicately scraping the surface the concrete ground. The two paws were followed by a set of back paws before the lean figured silhouette stood still, silently watching the door to his left. It had been a while since the hybrid female had left. They both heard the footsteps approach long before they arrived and she did the sensible thing and left. Really though, it mattered not whether she had decided to stay or leave. He didn't need her help, he had been planning for a good while now. Planning his escape.
The malinois mix gazed silently at the open door, he could smell the scent of gunpowder and drugs. He could hear the humans within. He could taste blood in the air. And he could sense the death that would've come if he had stayed. However his question now was; did he have what it takes to exact revenge?
Volker had decided to use his brain as opposed to his instincts. Although this virus had helped him thus far, now was not the time to be listening to a disease that was (quite literally) eating away at his brain. No, not yet, the humans would come. His time won't be wasted of course. For now, the steel blue male was busy following a trail. He had caught a few snacks on the way; a pigeon, a decent sized crow, a small rat and this strange clawed creature that made an ear-piercing hissing noise. Volker of course got quickly annoyed by the fur ball and dispatched it with a shake and bite, leaving nothing behind besides the purple belled collar (Why on earth would a human put a bell on a collar... No, why on earth would they put a collar on such a worthless beast).
Volker however was craving a different sort of meat. One... Closer to home. He needed energy, protein, carbohydrates... He needed food. And he knew of only practical food source. Two yellow eyes peered into the opening of the sewer. He could smell... Well, nothing pleasant. But what he could scent was food. If he played his cards right, he'd have a meal in no time.
(( Ahhh, at last. Someone alive on this site. ^_^ ))
Shiko froze, hearing a faint jingle of metal rattling down the echoing sewers. A cool draft wafted through the tunnel, causing him to shudder and put his down. That was how he smelled it. He froze, his body screaming to backpedal away from the scent.
For it was death. Rancid and filled with the sickly sweet taste of blood, Shiko had no doubts that whatever was on the other side of those sewers was not a normal dog. Not even close. He stood still, slowing his heart down and his breathing. Dimly shocked at himself, he considered his options. It had been years since he had been faced with an infected dog. After he had killed a few and wandered off, he had managed to avoid them almost entirely.
And yet, almost right off the bat, as soon as he steps within the territory of Risk, and infected begins stalking him. Great. He silently snarled in the direction of the smell. He had no love lost for the infected, but he didn't intentionally want to get into a fight either. That could draw other dogs, seeing as the noise would echo. Might as well wait and see where the dog would head. Maybe it didn't even smell him. Shiko snorted at that foolish thought. Of course it smelled him.
((Not really alive actually... Just felt like RPing and you looked lonely XD That said, sorry for any late replies, I'm pretty busy these days ^^'))
Volker took a light step into the opening of the sewer, scarred left paw grazing the damp floor. He didn't like it. Not one bit; the only liquid he was used to was blood. Now the question was, was a meal worth getting wet over? ... Probably. The steel male lightly waded down the tunnel, black nose high and air scenting for the trail. The overwhelming odor of sewage nearly threw him off the trail but the scent of the other canine was still fresh enough that he could make it out. The tall dog paused for a moment as a rat scurried past. Hmph. Must be attracting rats. Don't want to risk an infection, I've got enough scars as it is... Cheh. What a hassle...
He stopped as he approached a corner, amber eyes watching the reflections in the murky water. Volker took a short minute to ponder to himself. Although he scented one dog, what of there were more? He was only one infected, a rather frail one at that. No, a meal could wait. Despite the fact that he craved the taste of canine meat he could probably use this other dog for something else. Just a bit of information gathering. He knew nothing of the streets. Surely this stray would?
Volker's yellow eyes watched the reflection in the water, seeing the massive black silhouette of a well built wolfhound like dog. He could probably outrun a wolfhound in this tight fitting space, no need to worry (He himself was part Irish Wolfhound too, even if it was only a tiny fraction of his diverse pedigree). Volker turned the corner, right side facing the much larger canine. He'd rather not scare off the other dog with his left side (or what was left of that side of his face). His long muzzle lowered, not in submission but in a stalking type stance as he watched the larger dog for any sign of aggression.
"So what might a street-hardened stray be doing amongst sewer rats?" he began slowly, metal collar now barely touching the ground. His large, furry ears remained upright and unmoving as he narrowed his eyes and tried to get a better look at the dog.
(( Lol thanks. I appreciate the effort. ))Shiko cocked his ears towards the dark shadow, the shape vaguely canine. Narrowing his eyes, he lowered his own head in a mirror image of the dog before him. "I might ask the same of you, human-hardened." Shiko replied, his voice low and eerily cool. Indifferent. Calm. Wary. A variety of emotions could be hinted from his voice, but none stood out. It was why Shiko had lived so long, save his fighting skills and size. He had managed to gain a certain degree of control over his emotions, allowing for a cool exterior. He cocked a slight eyebrow at the dog, noting the faint pale pink of scars wrapping around his left side. It was a gruesome sight, but Shiko had seen worse. Done worse.
He padded towards one of the tunnels, his stance never changing and his eyes never leaving those of the other. "Any particular reason why an infected like you is here? Other than to consume me, I imagine." Shiko said, his voice echoing through the tunnels faintly. Listening, he could hear the echo's fading away towards where the dog had come, but continuing in the tunnel behind him. There. That was the direction he was to take. All this, Shiko took in as he kept himself wary of the other dog. Judging by his appearance, he was a mutt. A variety of breeds. The likely hood that Shiko would be able to outrun him in the cramped tunnels was close to nil. All the same, it didn't worry him. He could hold his own when he needed to.
Volker raised his head slightly, tilting his muzzle slightly to one side. He couldn't help but give a slight smile. When was the last time he had come face to face with an animal who's IQ was greater than their age? Two? Three years now? Well actually, never was probably a better answer. Eating this dog would've been a waste. Besides, he wasn't stupid. He couldn't take on a massive beast that had brains.
"Although i admit that was my original intent... I'd be lying if I said it still was. So what is my reason for being here now? Well... nothing in particular, other than satisfying my curiosity and quenching my thirst for knowledge. No need to get defensive, I am not a fool. You're three feet of solid muscle, I'm struggling to get meat on my bones. Infected or not, I am no threat to you," he replied slowly. The male's instincts just about screamed at him. There it was, food. Standing, right there. And all he wanted to do was... Talk? No, the voices in his mind were far from quiet. Volker almost struggled to keep it under wraps, every so often his left ear would twitch but other than that he gave no other obvious indication.
"What would you say to a simple exchange of information? Nothing more, nothing less. And we'll be on our way," he added, a little more quickly this time. The blue dog waded through the shallow water to a dry patch of concrete floor and sat on his haunches, tail curled neatly around his paws. Neither one of them needed to worry about the other so they could both relax. Volker guessed that the larger make was more than likely immune to the virus, a large dog was a walking target practice to other Infected so he'd be surprised if he had somehow lived this long without being bitten.
Shiko considered the mutt, noting the slight occasional twitch of his ear. Either he was more far gone than the rest, or he had a greater grip on reality. Whatever the reason, Shiko knew he couldn't let his guard down. This dog was smarter than the rest. Wiser, if somewhat hungrier. Watching the dog wade towards a dry spot, Shiko shifted as well. Taking a slight step backwards and relaxing his hind legs, Shiko sat as well. His muscles remained tense though, should he had to bolt to the tunnel behind him.
He cocked an eyebrow at the dog's offer. Information? Now that was interesting. He considered his options, aware that he didn't have all that much, and decided to relent. " Why not? Beware though, I will refrain should I believe that it could prove harm to my own." He said, his eyes narrowing dangerously and a snarl barely lifting his cheek. A warning. Just a way to show that he meant what he said.
"There's no need to worry, I'm not one to break my word," he answered, taking note of the wolfhound's threat but other than that he barely reacted.
"A simple request really. I wish to know where all the popular hunting grounds are. If its not obvious, hunting isn't exactly my forte," the male asked, his tone rather annoyed with himself. A predator that couldn't hunt? It was rather pathetic really. Volker never learnt to hunt properly, other than the occasional rodent who wandered into his cage thinking he was dead.
And I wouldn't mind if you could tell me what exactly a large dog such as yourself would be doing down here. A hunting ground for rats? He kept the thought to himself. More than likely that question was too personal. However, it still didn't change the fact that the larger male had avoided the question with his own. Volker had answered, it was only polite to do the same. Then again... Volker wasn't exactly the type that most would assume to be 'polite'. Insane maybe but polite?
"In exchange, ask me what you wish. I will answer honestly. Of course, asking me where the other Infecteds roam is pointless. You're better off asking about being having the virus, humans... Fighting dogs..." Volker added casually, voice drifting into a drawn out sigh. He drew his lips back in an annoyed snarl when he found he could no longer control the twitching and shook his head.
Shiko considered the dog's question. There were plenty of hunting grounds, but the best ones were the ones that were often avoided. Nodding his head, Shiko thought through all of them for a moment longer. "There's a farm, just on the outskirts of the city. They have wild sheep, foxes, and pheasants there. Best place to hunt, but be wary of the farmer. He doesn't take kindly to dogs trying to eat his livestock." Shiko said, remembering the old farm. He had stayed there for a week or so before the farmer had finally begun to question why his livestock were vanishing.
The other dog's last comment left Shiko thinking. What to ask? There weren't many things he cared about. AS he stared at the dog, he finally realized what had been itching at him since the dog first stepped into the tunnel. "What's your name?" He asked, his voice quiet, and uncharacteristically sad. Back in the day, knowing a name meant nothing more than a short alliance. Whether good or bad. Now.... Now it meant that when they found your body rotting in a ditch, it was easier to identify you as a loss or gain. A depressing thought.
"... Sheep... Foxes... Pheasants... ?" Although his face betrayed nothing, the tone of his voice gave away his obvious confusion. A sheep... Was that one of those clawed creatures he ran into earlier? For some reason, he had this feeling he should've known what those were. Especially the sheep thing (The various shepherds in him were not pleased). Well at least he knew what a farm was... It was one of those places where humans 'mass produced' dogs right? Like a 'puppy farm'... Right?
Volker couldn't help raising an eyebrow at the wolfhound's question. All the information the blue male knew and this dog only wanted his name? He paused for a noticeable while before answering. He had to think long and hard about this, admittedly, no one had asked for his name before. So he'd never had to utter it himself before. The ling silence made it seem as though he had forgotten it. After awhile he finally spoke.
"Which? The name the humans call me? Or the ones the... Pups refer to me as?" He really didn't like that word. 'Pups'. It sounded... Way too innocent.
"Or the one my mother gave me?" he added a little more quietly.
Shiko watched as the dog baffled over his answer. He felt a slight spark of confusion in his stomach. Did he not know what sheep were? What a farm was? For a moment, he was confused. Then it dawned on him. He was probably born in the city. Raised there, lived there, and most likely to die there. He felt a moment of pity for the dog, which he quickly banished. There was no room for pity here.
He quietly listened to the dog as he asked which name he preferred. Shiko felt his heart stiffen at the sound of 'pups.' An old feeling wormed it's way into hi mind. A feeling he couldn't ever remember feeling. Grief. A black hole that threatened to swallow him up. Shocked by the piercing feeling, he pushed it away. Reluctantly, the feeling left him. But in it's place was confusion. What had that been?
Only a few seconds had passed in silence, but it felt as if a whole hour had gone by. "Your true name. The name that your mother first spoke when she laid eyes upon you..." Shiko said quietly. It used to be such a trivial thing to be asked what your name was. Now... Now it was simply a reminder of better times, and darker days ahead.
"Volker... Volker Hildebrand... Ironic really," he finally replied. Even though he was expecting, his name sounded strange out loud. At least when he said it. When his mother spoke it it came out smoothly and seemed to roll off of her tongue. When his father had added the surname it had sounded strong, powerful and firm. When he said it it just sounded strange. Just strange. And extremely ironic. 'People's Defender'... Mother was supposedly extremely attached to her old human 'partner' but that was something he could never do. Maybe once but that window of opportunity was not only gone, it was smashed to pieces.
"Well, I guess it's only polite to ask for yours. So you are a Mister...?" Volker asked. He was rather curious now of this male's name. Growing up in a dog fighting ring, he was sick of hearing about all the champion Fangs, Bruces, Chainsaws, Predators, Bullets and Gangztas and whatnot. Heck, even the dogs themselves were embarrassed by their own names, and these were dogs who took the abuse these humans gave to them and somehow interpret it as the humans praising them.
Shiko smiled at the name. Volker seemed disgruntled, but Shiko felt a slight smile on his face. "People Protector... An interesting name. I like it...." He said quietly. When the dog asked him of his own name, Shiko felt his heart slow a bit. His name? It was only fair. It had been years since he had last spoken his name. Years since he had last spoken at all. He stared at the dog for a moment, wondering if he could really trust Volker. It was when he heard the dog's name echoing through the tunnel behind him that he realized, it didn't matter. This dog had entrusted his name to him, what was holding him back from doing the same?
"Shiko. My name is Shiko." He said, giving a slight bow of the head.
"Shiko... Foreign? Interesting... A name one could actually appreciate," he commented, although whether he was talking to the wolfhound cross or to himself was a question open to debate. Was it Japanese? He met an Akita once with a similar name, straight from Japanese bloodlines. The humans managed to steal him from a house as a pup. Nice guy, bit of a show off but held his own in the ring. Was great with pups of all ages. Tasted great.
The malinois mix raised his head slowly as he pondered what to do next. Volker would've liked to get more information out of him, but what exactly could he get. The steel blue dog was not the ambitious type, no plans of joining that pack of Infecteds he'd been hearing about, no plans of taking over territory or forming his own pack. All he wanted was simple. For once, have the feeling of a full stomach when he slept then return to those humans to exact revenge. Afterwards, he could simply fulfill his duties as an Infected and infect as many vulnerable dogs as possible. Those that were immune were to be left alone, afterall they were the ones to continue to canine race and it was their responsibility to make sure the Familiaris became the new dominant species once the humans were wiped out.
Well... Why don't you eat him and be done with it?
I won't go back on my word.
But it was not me who made the promise.
Quiet. I am your host, you listen to me.
Volker grew increasingly agitated as the voices seemed to grow louder, his instinct conflicting with his conscience. He raises his head straight up with his muzzle pressed flat against his neck, a low annoyed growl rumbling in his throat. He needed a distraction to drown out the voices. Now.
"Welk surely that's not the only thing you wish to know? The name of a frail stray is not something that will save your life one day," he quickly added while trying to force the voices out of his head.
(( Sorry for the late response Jato. Been busy, and had writer's block. ))
Shiko watched him intently, his hackles raising slightly as he began to notice the slight twitches of the dog before him. Something was going on. The virus must be playing with his head... He thought, slightly doubting it. He had never experienced the virus himself, but he had met dogs who would talk to themselves, as if fighting with another dog inside them.
At the dog's distracted question, Shiko shrugged. "Maybe you can help me. It's always nice to know the best hide outs inside the city. Any idea as to where the major dogs like to bunker down?" He asked. Shiko didn't plan on making frequent detours into the city if Risk rejected him from his pack. If that happened, Shiko would return to the outskirts, where food was easy and infected dogs less common.