Tough Love

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Roxy's bright green eyes bore coldly into Muse's golden ones. She herself remembered what had happened in this very alley a while back. She could remember her tense muscles, the growling and snarling in her ears, and the coppery and sickening tang of her ex companion's blood. Roxy remembered turning her back on the seemingly unfamiliar and damaged figure that had limped away, her own body covered in a variety of wounds. She remembered the chill that had buffeted her bloodied fur as she limped back, heart heavy with loss and head foggy with anger. Roxy was still wounded by the conflict that led them to splitting their friendship, angry and conflicted about the whole fiasco. They had been so close at the time, laughing easily and speaking of the plans for their gangs. Things grew more troublesome when Roxy called for strict obedience and Muse yearned for a more relaxed take on things. Arguments stemmed from here and only got worse.

As for now, Roxy collected herself enough to have a relatively calm air about her that could easily be seen as coldness. When Muse further approached, she pushed her shoulder off of the wall to stand taller, arms crossed. She currently wore a nice dark vest over a crisp dark grey shirt, black jeans ironed, washed, and tucked neatly into combat boots. A gleaming metal chain hung loosely from her throat, her blonde hair styled up in a pony tail to better display the shaved portion of her head. Roxy was well put together as per usual, but seemed even more so as if she considered this confrontation as important business.

Tonya's display of aggression caused Riley and Biter to return the gestures. Riley growled, tensing up and lowering her head as her amber eyes targeted Tonya. Biter's lips were pulled back to reveal her metal capped canines, a little bit of saliva dripping threateningly onto the pavement. Roxy just seemed amused, one side of her mouth pulled up into a crooked smile of sorts to show off one of her pearly canine teeth. "Assuming she wasn't marked up by an initiation, Damara was still mine to hurt. "she replied, a low growling chuckle escaping her lips.

"Besides, I don't give a shit about your new territory. There was no patrol to chase me off and no sign that you had claimed it anyways. I only heard the news from the sniveling young woman you decided to claim as of late."Roxy added, taking a step forwards to further near Muse.

Roxy bared her teeth at Muse's comment about her being nervous. It was true that the growing gang had surprised her and made her a bit apprehensive, but she'd never admit to being wary. It was not her nature to admit weakness very easily since she thought she'd be seen as a poor leader if she did. "I'm far from nervous when it comes to facing your rag tag rang of turn cloaks and will not accept your cowardly truce."she began, moving so that she came face to face with Muse.

Continuing, Roxy chuckled once more and said, "All of the Kitty Kickers are traitors in one way or another. The former Dragons being traitors, same with those lousy Silent Scorpions you have taken under your wing. You have plenty of broken toys, Muse. I'd wonder where their loyalties really lie if I were you."

Roxy reached a hand out slowly and held it under Muse's chin as if observing her. Locking eyes, she quietly asked, "Where did your fire go, Musey? Are you suggesting peace so that you don't have to face the Onyx Dragons. That's cute."

She dropped her hand from Muse's face and offered a lopsided grin, hoping to play with Muse's mind. This confrontation was secretly hurting Roxy. She didn't want to speak to her former friend this way, never imagining she'd talk down to her. She knew it was the best for her gang to do so, but no one could erase of forget their history.
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As Roxy dropped her hand from Muse's chin, the werecat snapped at Roxy's fingers as another hiss escaped her lips. Her golden eyes flashed, hands curled into tight fists, feeling her body start to shape into her werecat form. With a loud exhale, Muse stopped the process with it reaching as far as her fangs growing longer.

"I'm suggesting peace so you won't have to face me," she answered, taking a step forward to Roxy. "Realize it Roxy, they all left because you're a controlling, snobby bitch that wants everything to go your way. Everything...everything just has to go your way doesn't it? Every little detail in every little plan has to go your way or it's no way at're a joke leader of a joke gang, but more of a joke of a friend!"

She stuck her face right into Roxy's, her lips barely brushing against her ex-friend's. Muse blinked quickly, keeping back a flood of tears swelling in them.

"A cowardly truce? Really, Roxy? REALLY? You're so're so stupid Roxy! You don't even get it!" Muse hollered, slamming a foot to the ground. "You never get anything! That's why I left!"

A deep, auburn flush washed over Muse's tired cheeks, her once perfect hair now partially sticking onto her sweaty face. Another deep exhale left her mouth, the hot breath landing against Roxy's face. No, this wasn't how the encounter was suppose to turn out. It wasn't suppose to be this emotional, this...confusing. Doubts were starting to cloud Muse's mind about her own gang and how the members were gained. But, worse of all, old feelings were starting to resurface from deep within her that were suppose to be locked away.

Seeing everything, Tonya grabbed Muse's arm and yanked her away from Roxy. Using the sleeve of her shirt, she quickly wiped the teary sweat mixture off Muse's face to help the leader of the Kitty Kicker's calm down.

"If it's fire you want, I'll bring you a whole fucking wildfire!" Muse suddenly screamed, directing all her emotions squarely on Roxy. "I'll burn everything you have down, including you Roxy! You question the loyalty of my members...and even if they don't put their whole trust in me, at least we all have one thing in common, to bring the Onyx Dragon's down! But you...oh girl...but you..."

A finger slowly raised to Roxy, the sharpened chipped nail pointing straight at Roxy's heart.

"You're mine," a deep voice gathered in Muse's throat.
To say the least, Muse's words certainly had an effect on Roxy. They managed to rile her up, to stir the rage that she had been trying to hold in. She knew how she was when angered and didn't wish for this confrontation to come to it, though it had been expected. Roxy didn't like being called a snobby bitch, but the fact that some of those details were true hurt her more than the obscenity. She had always been very controlling of her gang, but that's how she believed order to be. Muse calling attention to her leadership skills and having the audacity to call her a mere joke elicited a low, rumbling growl from Roxy.

Roxy didn't move when Muse got in her face, holding her ground. Their closeness was almost intimate, emotions clouding their vision. Suddenly Roxy had the urge to both punch and hug Muse. She wished to punch her for the rude words and hug her just because she hadn't done so in a year. Sure Roxy had experienced plenty of breakdowns over the year when thinking of Muse, but now she realized full force how important this woman had been in her life. The absence of Muse managed to hurt Roxy even more, her mind a blend of bitterness, bewilderment, and longing for simpler times.

The insult to Roxy's intelligence and the stomp caused Riley and Biter to growl as they flanked Roxy. Roxy was too focused on Muse, especially on how distraught Muse had become and how her appearance had changed. Roxy snarled, pulling her lips back to reveal sharpened canine teeth. Biter and Riley stepped forth, but in a rage, Roxy turned on them. "Go! Back to the hideout, now! I can manage this myself and have business with only Muse."she snapped. Though Biter and Riley shared a moment of hesitation, they cast Muse and Tonya bitter glares before running out of the alleyway.

This left Roxy facing Muse and Tonya alone, something she wasn't scared of. She saw that when she had talked to Biter and Riley in that moment, Tonya had helped to try to calm Muse down. The scream only caused Roxy to tense up even more, fists clenched at her sides and face contorted into a rage of sorts. Muse then offered a more startling message before Roxy could speak, lifting a finger towards Roxy's heart and uttering a low, possessive phrase.

Roxy nearly shook with anger, though her eyes gave way to how hurt she was by all of this. She clearly wasn't coping as well as her lack of screaming in the moment suggested. "Yours? No one owns me and no one ever will."she said lowly, tone growling and threatening.

She took a few steps forwards to close the gap between her and Muse. Snapping her teeth in the air near Tonya, she yelled, "You! Get out! I have business with Muse, not one of her fellow rejects."

It was clear that she was serious and wouldn't stand for Tonya to be present. Without waiting much longer for Tonya to potentially depart, Roxy had moved swiftly and pushed Muse up against the wall. She grabbed her by the front of her shirt, using her strength to pin the slightly smaller Muse. "Now you listen to me and you listen well, traitor. You have hurt me in ways no one else could and has had the sheer ignorance to do, but you will own me when hell freezes over. I have my gang, and you have yours. You best stay in line now."she said with a gruff and urgent tone, very close to Muse again.

The closeness threatened to push her off the edge, but she managed to keep herself together for now. "So. If you surrender the Silent Scorpion territory to me and run back to your band of misfits with your little kitty tail between your legs, maybe I'll consider not obliterating the Kitty Kickers."she tried to make a deal, never really intending to kill off her friend and her gang. She was ruthless enough to rough them all up and maybe torture those who had left her gang, but something in her prevented her from ever yearning to kill Muse. They had too much history for that.
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Before Muse or Tonya could react, Muse found herself pinned to the wall with Roxy gripping at her shirt. She wrapped her hands around Roxy's wrists, her nails digging into Roxy until a drop of blood began to form on her. Muse struggled, letting out a low roar as her ears stood high and her tail curling tightly behind her. She forgot how strong Roxy was...maybe even stronger than her. It's been years since the two every came to a real fight. They use to spar for fun and Roxy always had the strength advantage over Muse.

"Let her..." Tonya began, but abruptly stopped when Muse glanced up at her.

"Don't come closer Tonya," Muse gritted her fangs as she spoke. "She's...she's not gonna do shit..."

Tonya opened her mouth to protest, only to be immediately shut down by glare by Muse. With a hiss to Roxy, Tonya sat on the ground and looked away. Though she hated this situation, Muse always knew best, especially when it came to Roxy.

Her eyes looked back at Roxy, a crooked smile forming on her face. The anger she had before was slowing fading, being replaced by amusement at Roxy's sudden shift in emotions.

"Why not? Don't you think I'm owed something?" Muse tried to push Roxy's hand away, but only was award with resistance. "You owned everything since we've know each other. Our group of friends in high school, our tiny street block we fought for, and eventually the Onyx Dragons that I helped form. Be honest, without me that gang would have fell before it started. I was as much as the owner of that gang as you, but took full ownership while I was just some lackey on the side. So yeah, maybe I do think I should own you. It's only fair for all the stuff you stole."

Saying it aloud made her feel a bit awkward...Muse wasn't sure if she even meant what she just said. Muse was familiar with what it meant, but never saw it ever in practice. A partnership like that barely existed where they lived as most who lived in the city normally looked out for themselves. Those incredibly lost would join a gang. But, are there those who accept partnerships like that? The thought clouded Muse's mind, almost making her completely tune out what Roxy was saying.

"Like you haven't hurt me? Fuck you Roxy, I got the worse end of it. You won't ever understand the embarrassment of being ran out of a gang you helped form. You won't get how lowly you lost and unwanted. I may be a traitor for the gang, but you're the traitor of our friendship! You picked a stupid gang over your so called best friend!" her eyes shined as the beginnings of her transformation began. Her voice began to grow deeper as her black leopard form took shape. "I'll never surrender what YOU made me create!"

A chilling roar escaped Muse's mouth as her human form began to twist and bend, the human skeleton cracking into that of a black leopard. Her body grew thicker, ripping her clothes off her body, leaving her partially exposed with black leopard hair quickly growing over her. Sickening snaps of her bones and a strange sucking sound echoed throughout the alley until Muse released another roar, ending her transformation. With a giant swipe of her large paws, Muse knocked away Roxy's hand from her, the black leopard dropping on all fours, shoulders hunched high.

Her tail whipped behind her as she fell into a fighting pose, her upper body low to the ground as the back high. She chattered her jaw, inching her paws closer to Roxy.
With a firm grip on Muse's shirt, Roxy kept the werecat pinned against the brick wall of the alleyway. Tuning out whatever Tonya had to say of the matter, Roxy held intense eye contact with Muse. The droplet of blood on her wrist did nothing to effect her, the biting pain from Muse's long nails almost numbing. Roxy's lean muscled shoulders were tensed, the heels of her boots planted into the ground. Her lips were pulled back and her teeth were gritted, white wolf ears flattened against her blonde hair.

Roxy yearned to wipe that stupid smile off of Muse's pretty little face. Muse's resistance was met with forceful motions against it, keeping her in place. Although Roxy had lacked the heightened agility of Muse, she made up for this with great strength and took pride in this. Now it came in handy for restraining Muse, though the werewolf was well aware that this wouldn't last too long. Muse was pyscically a tad bit weaker, but still had enough strength to overthrow her eventually.

Now Roxy focused purely on Muse's responses. She spat on the ground in reaction to Muse's opinion on Roxy always controlling everything. "It's what a leader does. You could have stepped up tot he plate and challenged me then, but I heard little protest."she shot back, defending her past actions even though some of them rang true. While she wouldn't fully agree to leading their old friend group, she had taken control of the street block and gang. "Also, I owe you nothing. You didn't fight for it then and you missed your opportunity."she added, though Muse didn't seem to be paying much attention to her words.

Roxy knew well she had hurt Muse badly and had always felt bad for this, often leading to punching walls until her fists were bloodied. Now she had directed that anger at Muse, pissed at her for bringing that up. Also, she didn't agree that Muse had suffered way more, even though she had been chased out. Nearly talking over Muse, Roxy shot back with, "It was humiliating to have to chase you out! I was practically a joke for having to scold someone who used to be my best friend and second leader!"

As expected, Muse's body began to contort into her familiar black leopard form. Roxy's hands were easily knocked away as she took a step back from the large feline. Roxy soon followed suit, bones crackling and popping as white fur covered her body. In no time, a four foot tall wolf with neatly groomed creme fur and a metal chain around its neck squared off with the leopard. A low growl shook her whole chest, black lips pulled back to expose 42, pearly white teeth. "What now, Muse? Are you going to fight me? I think we both remember how that ended last time."Roxy challenged, voice lower and rougher in this form.

At heart, Roxy didn't wish to fight Muse and hadn't expected them too. She could only imagine the mental and psychical wounds such an ordeal would leave. Also, even though she had won the last fight to drive Muse away, it had been terribly close and she could have potentially lost her life. It had taken her weeks for her pride and body to heal.
The black leopard shook her head violently, dismissing everything Roxy was saying. No, that wasn't true...she did fight for control of the gang...right? Was her hatred of Roxy clouding her memories? Was everything she remembered what actually happened? Muse lowered her ears and slowly rose her posture, looking less threatening than before. The hissing stopped. Her mouth closed as her eyes bounced from Roxy to Tonya and to the sky as her mind began to try to think of the past.

She didn't even notice or mind with Roxy transformed into her wolf form and postured herself in attack. Muse was more focused on what was bigger to her, trying to remember things more clearly.

"No...I don't want to fight anymore...I'm tired," Muse answered Roxy quietly. She turned her head away and her body followed. "I'm sorry for saying all those things. Just leave me alone now."

Muse's over-sized feline paws softly made their way over to Tonya who transformed as well into a cheetah. The two girls bumped heads and rubbed cheeks, showing reassurance and comfort before Muse started her way back to the Kitty Kicker's hideout. Her head stayed high and tail swung slow, deep in thought.

Tonya remained, narrowing her eyes at Roxy.

"I don't know what it is with you two, but I'll make sure next time Muse won't fall for your guilt trip or whatever you're doing next time. I have no idea what's with you two, but it needs to be dealt with. Maybe you two need to talk over tea and crumpets?" Tonya mocked. "It might be better if you do you and Muse does herself and you both forget about each other."

The cheetah turned away and began to prance after Muse, looking back occasionally to see if Roxy was following. Tonya huffed and grumbled, annoyed with how things went down. Nothing was really accomplished besides petty threats and bringing up the past. More needed to be done to completely break the hold between Muse and Roxy. And, she was going to be the one to break that hold.
For some reason, Roxy was not surprised Muse ceased to be aggressive. Mood instantly shifting, it seemed Muse was more in thought than she was prepared to brawl. While not sitting down or looking away, Roxy cut off her snarl. Eventually when she realized Muse's thoughts were elsewhere, she slowly closed her mouth, though lips pulled back to show her teeth. Anxiously, Roxy paced back and forth with her green eyes trained on the black leopard sitting before her.

Although Muse backing down for the time being was expected, Roxy felt an odd sense of disappointment. Now she had all of this pent up aggression and nothing to do with it, which was bad news and most likely warrant some act of destruction whether it be self or to an object. If someone got in her way before she cooled down, they may become her target as well.

The fact that Muse actually apologized after all of the awful things she said was more surprising. Roxy wished to say more, to do more. Her actions seemed justified in her mind, but the thought of not having taken back some of the bullets that came from her mouth hurt her. Muse didn't deserve some of what Roxy had said, as did Roxy didn't deserve some of the things Muse said. Both were responsible for lashing out at each other and both would suffer the emotional consequences later. From a different perspective, them having placed all of their anger out on the table was the first step to possibly mending their companionship.

Roxy followed Muse for a few steps before halting when facing Tonya. The cheetah offered a harsh look and mocking words. The woman even had the audacity to tell Roxy to just "forget" about it. Their history couldn't and would not be forgotten. If Roxy somehow erased her memories with Muse from her mind, her teenage years would have been a blank slate.

While Roxy wouldn't want to hurt Muse, Tonya was a different thing. Tonya made Roxy feel jealously, though she didn't quite know it. She believed it was her that should have been comforting Muse, her that should have been protecting her. Angry, Roxy released a low snarl and snapped the air after Tonya. She followed for a few paces, growling and snapping her teeth. If one listened closely, they would hear a small whine thrown in there unintentionally. This night hadn't gone as planned and left her emotions to shambles.

Retreating to the alleyway and shifting to her human form quickly, Roxy sent a fist into the brick wall. Her knuckles cracked against the surface and began to bleed, causing pain to spark in her hand. She hardly seemed to notice and punched again with a grunt of effort, a small crack forming on one of the red bricks. Slamming her back against the wall, Roxy slid down into a sitting position with her bloodied hand buried in her blonde hair. All to soon, tears began to well up in Roxy's eyes.
A few days has passed since that confrontation with Roxy and things have been going full swing with the Kitty Kickers. The main hideout was relocated to a central location in their new territory, inside a partially used recreation center that held everything they needed. A gym, half a basketball court, the main socializing room complete with new couches and table, and even a garden in the back. Muse was often found in the garden planting various perennial flowers and different types of vegetables. The old hideout was now used as training ground for new recruits and those that needed more training taught by the more skilled gang members.

Patrols were out in the new territory, cleaning up old Silent Scorpions tags to be replaced with the Kitty Kickers. Muse made sure to create her tags to look more artful than basic scribbles the Silent Scorpion had. She created a simple black house cat sitting proudly with a rose vine wrapped loosely around it. It took a few of her gang members extra time each spot to paint out the new design, but everyone agreed that it was worth the extra aesthetics.

The finances from the destroyed Silent Scorpions were also transferred to the Kitty Kickers. The tiny strip mall that held all the businesses for the gang got a fresh new paint job and the parking lot cleared up. The Kitty Kickers were busy at work, but Muse was hardly ever seen throughout the time.

Muse spent her time at the garden mostly, thinking and tending to the plants. She herself even got a small makeover. Her black hair now held blonde highlight, but remained in a tight bun that sat on top of her head. Her nails were painted a light blue with cotton candy pink gems glued on, the points sharpened. Her makeup became much simpler and more natural with only a bright red lipstick as a burst of color.

She mostly thought about what to do next and how to deal with Roxy better. Muse was embarrassed by the encounter since she knew she let her emotions dictate everything. That isn't how a leader should act. Luckily, only Tonya was with her then and Tonya kept her mouth shut about the whole thing. Tonya was quickly becoming Muse's rock to hold down her emotions and outbursts about Roxy. Tonya was quickly becoming Muse's new best friend.

Sometimes, as she planted her vegetables, Muse dreamed about Roxy, Tonya and her all being one happy group of friends. They were in no gang and in no trouble. They all were happily enrolled in community college with dreams of transferring to an university. It still could be possible...if Muse could just offer that truce again.

"Everything is in order," Rickie approached Muse with a smile. "Those two Onyx Dragon members are tough! Geez! I don't know if anyone can pass their classes!"

"Maybe I should attend one of theirs'. It's always good to freshen up on some skills," Muse said and began to water the vegetable garden with the hose. She wore a pair of navy blue overall shorts with a black sports bra underneath and some school bus yellow rain boots.

"What are we going to do now? It's been a long time since we've seen any action! Don't we have some other small gang to pick on? Maybe we should try to extend to the east side since the Onyx Dragons have been pretty quiet? They aren't much of a threat..."

"They will always be a threat," Muse cut into Rickie's talk. "It's just down time right now. Who knows what will happen next."
The Onyx Dragons had also been rather active after the confrontation with Muse and the discovery of the Kitty Kickers having gained more territory and members. Things were in order as usual. The amount of training had increased, the hideout had been cleaned, and spirits were high despite the tension. More paintings were added to the walls, one having been created by Roxy. It had taken her about a week to complete, but now there was a complex illustration across from the great Chinese Dragon for all to see. It was a grinning grey furred timber wolf with its paw resting atop the skull of a feline, claws digging into the weathered bone.

While the wolf present and feline skull were fictional and didn't represent specific people, the art was to prove the dominance of the were-canines over the were-felines. Even simpler, it represented dominance over the Kitty Kickers since it was a relevant time to reinforce self pride through mocking the rival. Some of the chairs in the hideout were also rearranged, though still clumped in a group to represent their unity. Food supplies were restocked and the security system to the vault of weapons and other goods was finally reprogrammed. This ensured that if Muse managed to enter, the code she knew to have been true would now be irrelevant and useless.

The gang members that owned apartments secured their security there as well to ensure that the Kitty Kickers of other potential rivals couldn't easily target and attack them one by one. Although they had always been in place, patrols were a bit more frequent and thorough now that the Kitty Kickers had extended their territory and the Silent Scorpions were no longer present to provide any buffer zone.

The confrontation with Muse had wounded Roxy, though she never showed anyone in her gang that. After the confrontation she had walked to her apartment with bloodied knuckles and allowed herself to sob. Then came the usual bout of tearing apart a few more pictures of Muse and her only to repair them again in the morning. As time passed, her mental wounds began to heal and were replaced by her usual strength and business like manner. She acknowledged the Kitty Kickers as a looming threat now and had to take proper measures of preparation.

When she wasn't leading a patrol or training, Roxy spent a lot of time throwing knives to alleviate her anger and allow time to think. Of course Muse was on her mind often. That night would be as memorable to her as the time last year when she had to actually drive Muse away. Roxy had been realizing her flaws as well as Muse's, still not bringing herself to wishing to eliminate the other. She would not give Tonya the satisfaction of forgetting Muse, even if the attention she offered was negative. Lately there had been little reason to attack, but Roxy had been thinking about sending a message of sorts.

After much planning on her part with the help of Riley and Biter, Roxy knew the perfect threat. They had conned one of the local vets into giving them the corpse of a house cat that was going to be thrown out anyways after it had died of old age. The bony, female tabby cat received a nice coating of fake blood around its throat, though none were disrespectful enough to actually tear open the cat's throat. Today, the warning was to be placed.

When on a patrol, Roxy deposited the feline corpse on the other side of the Kitty Kicker's new border. This way, a patrol member was bound to see it. The scrawny animal corpse lay sprawled on the pavement, golden eyes wide open and lifeless. the fake blood had dribbled onto the asphalt. With that done, Roxy returned to the hideout to wait. Grinning, she sat on a sofa with her legs crossed and a book in her lap as her gang members spoke excitedly of the warning. For now, Roxy allowed them to celebrate openly.
"What does this mean?"

"What do you think it means? It has to be some sort of sign."

"I don't looks old. Maybe it just died of old age?"

"Look closer, that blood was put there."

"We should give it a proper funeral."

Muse pushed her way through the crowd, nibbling on a honeybun. Her eyes narrowed at the dead cat lying stiff on the ground that laid just across their new border. Clearly, it was a warning or threat from the Onyx Dragons. Muse was praying every night that the Onyx Dragons would lay low and stay quiet. While there was tension between them, no one seemed ready to jump into some gang war. Until now.

What was worse, her lower rank members found the cat and called over all the other lower ranks. If a higher rank founded it and reported quickly, Muse would have threw out the cat and dealt with the issue more passively. Now, with the whole gang staring up at her, Muse knew she had to use more action. The Kitty Kickers were itching for a fight to prove themselves further. To everyone, and even Muse, this would be the perfect opportunity to.

"What are we going to do Muse?"

Muse finishes off her honeybun and began to lick the sticky sugar off her fingers.

"Pick up the cat and bury it somewhere. I'm going to call a meeting. We can't let this go," Muse said. "The Onyx Dragons have been picking and messing with us from the start. It's time we show them up."

Tonya placed a hand on Muse's shoulder from behind and nodded.

"You see what I mean. She won't stop messing with you until you do something about it first," Tonya whispered in Muse's ear.

Muse stared down at the cat and thought about Roxy. With a long exhale, she turned her back to the group to head to the new hideout. There was planning that needed to be done before the meeting started.
The Onyx Dragon's hideout was buzzing with conversation. All of the girls had been seated at the various couches, all twenty five or so that remained after the recent acts of treason. Roxy was seated at the head of the circle of chairs in a single seat. Legs crossed neatly, shoulders up, back straightened, and arms resting upon the arm rests, Roxy radiated authority as she surveyed her women.

They spoke passionately, weighing possible outcomes and decisions. Roxy watched in silence, brow furrowed in thought and mind racing with her own speculations. It had been an hour or so after the planting of the cat corpse and the most recent patrol had traced the Kitty Kickers lingering scent and also noted they had removed the deceased feline. It was clear they had received the message and Muse and the others were certainly intelligent enough to assume the meaning. The catch here was that it was not known how the rival gang would react to the obvious threat.

Bits and pieces of conversation were heard.

"Maybe they'll buck up and challenge us to a fight."

"Perhaps they are planning their own threat in retaliation."

"Or maybe even an assault! They could sneak up and-"

"Oh man, is this gonna be a gang war?"

Finally Roxy decided to speak. "Girls," was all she uttered in a clear tone. Soon enough the clamor of the gang members died down and they focused upon their leader intently. All wished for answers that were not yet available.

After taking a deep breath, Roxy knew what to say. "As to just what the Kitty Kickers will do now, I haven't an exact response. However, they will not simply overlook the challenge we have proposed and will pay heed to our future actions. That eliminates the possibility of them backing down now since I know well they have gained enough people, territory, and recovering time to have confidence. Their recent silence has been noted, but border patrols know they have sealed the ownership of different shops and have increased their overall influence. They are not like to back away from us anymore."

This led to more murmuring that was promptly hushed again when Roxy continued. "This means we must be prepared for any assaults. Our patrols will be sent out often and will be more cautious. Unfortunately the Kitty Kicker's bark may become a bite if they have been spurred enough. Guards will pay closer mind to who is allowed into this hideout. Also, it would be wise to ready any weapons you would prefer to use."

The mention of weapons elicited a short burst of pleased hooting that died down once more. They were quiet long enough for Roxy to stand up and grin wildly. Then she uttered the much anticipated phrase. "Onyx Dragons....prepare for war." Rowdy cheers filled the air as Roxy walked away from her seat.
The soft patters of feline pads trotted deeply into the Onyx Dragon's territory at the deadest hour of the morning. The sky was pitch black, the only glows of lights coming from the barely lit streetlights. The pride consisted of ten werecats with two werewolves that were accepted. Coming up to a fork in the rode, the pride split cleanly, with five staying ahead and the other five veering down another street.

Leading pride one was Muse. Her black leopard form slowed as they approached dangerously into the center of the Onyx Dragon's territory. They weren't anywhere near their enemy's headquarters, but to one of the busiest sections of it. Well, this area use to be when Muse was still part of the Onyx Dragons. Even during their mission, Muse couldn't help but have a quick sniff around the intersection. Everything was so familiar. It felt like she never really left.

The pride surrounded her, their eyes glowing against the dark morning sky. They consisted of werecats of various sizes, from bobcats to pumas and the single werewolf the size of an average female. Muse rubbed her head against each member, reassuring them and showing leadership. Each knew their role from the sudden meeting Muse called for when discovering the dead cat on their border. Most were feeling extremely nervous with this being their first strike against the Onyx Dragons, but Muse was confident they would be able to hold out.

They walked to the center of the intersection with Muse in the middle of them. Muse arched her back and let out a might roar, the sound able to travel miles in every direction. The rest repeated the roar in their own voice to call out for the Onyx Dragon members.

Pride two heard the roars and continued jog in a single file line on the sidewalk. Leading this was Tonya with her two cousins and two of the strongest fighters of the Kitty Kickers. They rest of the gang was sitting along the borderline of the two territories, ready to respond if the emergency call was heard.

Everything was running smoothly so far. Each step was thought out, rehearsed, and revised several times with a few backup plans just in case. All that depended were the roars being answered by the Onyx Dragon's. It was a bit of a gamble, but Muse was confident that the Onyx Dragons would answer and investigate.
The Onyx Dragon members had been idly smoking, drinking, or sharpening blades when they heard the loud roaring break the air. They all froze and if they were in their canine forms their ears would have been pricked attentively. Roxy looked up from her laptop and a wicked grin spread across her face. "Glad to see your alive, Kitty Kickers,"she commented to herself, having confirmed that the rival gang hadn't ignored their blatant warning.

Roxy and the others quickly set down what they had been occupied with and one by one shifted, the sound of cracking bones and grunts filling the hideout. "As we planned, I want ten girls here. Five for defense and five for on call. You know who you are. Then we have ten in one group and the rest with me. You also know who you are,"Roxy explained clearly as they walked towards the exit and crept up into the alleyway above ground.

"Group Beta, the larger, will locate and detain the enemies. Only kill the traitors, aim to wound or capture the others. Group Alpha, the one I am leading, will stick with Group Beta unless mentioned otherwise. Understand? We start together," Roxy finished off, looking to each member. Riley and Biter were close at hand and the other canines were crowded in and ready to go.

Now they all knew they had to return the ferocious roar. Lifting her creme furred muzzle, Roxy released a low, smooth howl. The other canines joined her with mighty howls and some raucous barking as well to add to the noise. Then there was silence and they set off at a trot, clumped into an organized formation with Roxy at the head. Their muzzles were low, scenting for the enemies.

They soon stumbled across the group of Kitty Kickers that was led by Tonya, the other group not known of now. While there were many wolves in the Onyx dragons of various earthy or grey tones, a few large dogs or wolf hybrids were mixed in. The tallest was an Irish wolf hound with a missing ear. All of them now bristled and lowered their bodies, eyeing of the lithe cats as their lips pulled back into snarls. A chorus of growls sounded as the canines slowly and carefully shifted formation. About five canines had backed away a block or so and were leaner and more wiry than the others, positioned so that they were ready to chase any enemies that fled and serve mostly for defense. Then much closer to the conflict was a neat row of five canines with three more in front of them. Roxy was still at the head, flanked by Riley and Biter. The creme pelted wolf stood proudly and the chain around her throat gleamed in the light that poured from the dim street lights.

A low growl rumbled threateningly in the depths of Roxy's chest and her green eyes were trained upon Tonya in loathing. This was the one she despised the most. Tonya had snatched away Muse, taking her under her wing and that was unacceptable. Muse was not hers for the taking.
Tonya and her pride slowed to a stop when found by Roxy and the other Onyx Dragon members. They formed tightly together, bodies pressed against each other, as Tonya stared down Roxy. Tonya stood front, with Rickie and Caroline just behind her, and protecting the back were the former Onyx members, Dagger and Spike. Their group was a mix of power, quick and agile werecats with two husky canines to provide strength and power. It seemed to be an odd group to form, but their different styles of fighting were throughout and tested by Muse personally during the reconstruction of the Kitty Kickers.

The hairs stood on the werecats necks, most noticeably by the cheetah Tonya. Her head hung low, mouth open, and teeth shone as a high pitched hissed escaped. Her eyes were fixated on Roxy, full of dislike and disgust. If it wasn't for Roxy still having some sort of grip on Muse, the Kitty Kickers would prosper much quicker. Muse and her friendship may even go onto the next level to being much closer than before. Everything would be so much better if Roxy would simply go away and forget about Muse.

There seemed to be a standoff with both gangs keeping still. Rickie and Caroline, thinly built jaguars with larger than normal black spots, were the only ones to give off some movement. They continued to bite the air, showing off their powerful jaws as scare tactic to make the other gang nervous about them.

"Why are you looking at me like that?" Tonya finally spoke in a high voice that matched of a cheetah. "Is there something you want to say?"

Tonya hated the glare Roxy was giving her. It was different from the others who stared them down as enemies. But, Roxy's...there was something much more to it. With a delicate step, Tonya took paw forward, stretching her body as her head tilted to the side.

"Are you upset I'm not Muse? Did you want to see her, again? You can't help but wanting to see her, huh? You can't help but wanting her, huh? You think I couldn't tell from our last encounter on how you are with Muse...all that yelling and screaming was just a cover to hide the fact you want her back...but, that's too bad, isn't it? The past is the past and should stay there. Muse is moving on and you should to. You two are just toxic together," Tonya hissed and froze in place, her tail high in the air. "It will be the best of days when the Kitty Kickers take over and I'll the pleasure of running you out of here!"

With a slam of her paws on the ground and a high pitch roar, Rickie and Caroline lunged forward to start the attack. Rickie took the lead, aiming to land a bite on Roxy's side while Caroline circled around to attack anyone who would get in the way of protecting Roxy. Tonya, who wasn't a front line soldier, used her quick speed and agility to backtrack behind Spike and Dagger who also began the assault on the Onyx Dragon members. They knew a mark were on them for abandoning the Onyx Dragons and had to be even more fierce and careful to survive this encounter.

Tonya's pride continuously roared and hissed as loudly as they could, using their volumes to aid them in the fight. Muse led her pride forward, hearing the start of the battle, towards a very meaningful mini market that was full of good memories of the past.
Held rigid and tense Roxy was a fierce beast. Creme colored fur stood on end. Lips pulled back and up, sharp white fangs were exposed to the air. Such teeth were designed carefully by nature to be able to tear through flesh with ease. No longer did Roxy have close ties to human ways since in this moment, a wolf stood in her place. This wolf was filled with pride, with longing, and with a large abundance of flaming anger. These werecats had the audacity to challenge her pack and she'd be damned if she didn't give them a proper punishment for making such a bold move.

All around Roxy her fellow canines were also bristling with their lips pulled back, snouts wrinkled in fury. A chorus of low growls met the hissing and teeth snapping of the felines before them. Most obviously there were two growls coming from the back of the Kitty Kicker's group, marking the angered sounds of the traitors. these two knew their situation. Each member of the Onyx dragons had been specifically instructed to kill them without mercy. For this reason this battle posed great risk to Spike and Dagger. Although the stakes were high for all.

It didn't take long for Tonya to voice her discomfort with Roxy's intense gaze that radiated her pure hatred. Tonya did not meet the expectation of attacking yet, instead taking a good moment to taunt Roxy. A bold move. Each hurtful phrase only fueled Roxy's inner fire and gave her more of an incentive to attack viciously. The greatest insult was that Tonya claimed that the two had been toxic. What did she know? In their glory days Roxy and Muse had been the best of duos and some new girl could never understand that. The second worst insult was Tonya expressing excitement from driving Roxy away, implying defeat would fall upon the Onyx Dragons. If Tonya hadn't initiated attack than Roxy would have a second after.

The roar was met with a chorus of barking, snarling, and howling. Roxy offered a snap of her jaws and suddenly the canines at her sides lunged at the werecats. The wolves and dogs ran around where Roxy was and instead began to directly assault the Kitty Kicker's, snapping at them and trying to bowl them over with their muscled bodies. A few canines stayed back to try to free Roxy. Riley and Biter, Roxy's right hands, both assaulted Caroline.

Roxy was left to deal with Rickie. Since the first attack was anticipated the wolf was able to step just out of reach of Rickie's first bite at her flank. All of Roxy's anger was directed at Rickie with an almost feral beastly roar that could be heard all around. With wild green eyes Roxy snapped at Rickie in an onslaught of reckless abandon, aiming only to deter her opponent before a more accurate assault could be launched.
Muse transformed into her human form outside the mini market with her pride surrounding her. The mini market was at the bottom of a two floor duplex that the owners used to live in. This was the place she use to always come to after school and grab a few snacks, mostly chocolate milk and a donut since she had the biggest sweet tooth. It was here anyone could find her, especially Roxy.

There was a tap on Muse's shoulder and then a large brick was presented in front of her. Just as she figured, the small alleyway beside the market that led to the basement was always packed with dumped junk from the neighborhoods. The brick fell into Muse's open hands, weighing them down. Her eyes stared at the market's glass storefront, showing the reflection of her and the people surrounding her.

She couldn't tell if the market was still in business or if the duplexes were occupied. Years ago, the family business was drowning in debt and some of the children moved out because of it. The contents in the market suffered as well, with a lot of items never being restocked. Even with the bad business, it was still Muse's favorite place to go. It held many good memories of good times with Roxy and personal life.

With a forceful heave, Muse launched the brick towards the window of the market and closed her eyes as it shattered. In an instant, the pride jumped through the broken window and began to put their plan in action. Each had a lighter in hand and began to light anything that was either flammable or seemed easy to ignite.

"Hurry, we need to get this done," Muse said in a loud whisper, jumping over the counter to see if any money was left in the register. She grabbed it by its sides and slammed it onto the ground, seeing the tray pop open to reveal only a couple of scrap bills. "Light everything the flames can reach."

Quickly, smoke began to fill the somewhat abandoned market. The sounds of crackling and shriveling plastic was heard while the smell of food clogged everyone's nose. Flames climbed the shelves, licking the ceiling with minimal resistance. The market, unfortunately, had no working sprinkles or a set of smoke detectors. The only thing there around were some security cameras, but based by how the market was it was unsure if the cameras were working.

Rickie twisted her body away with only catching a few surface scraps from Roxy's snaps. She rolled onto the ground, beamed her fangs, and launched herself forward, using all the power in her back legs. Her front paws aimed for Roxy's back, wanting to dig deep within and pull. Rickie saw herself as a very close range fighter, preferring face-to-face than other position. Her thick, yet small framed body allowed her to contort in all angles while her quick front paws boxed their way for attack.

She planned to take a deep bite into Roxy if her attack went as planned, wanting to bite at the center of Roxy's back to immobilize her. The others held their own. Spike and Dagger viciously fought, almost seeming like they were protecting themselves than fighting for the Kitty Kickers. Caroline teamed herself up with Tonya, taunting the other wolves. Tonya would sprint around, disorienting the other wolves while Caroline would go in. The constant roars and shrieks from the werecats continued while off in the distant, a cloud of dark smoke appeared against the night sky.​
The canines retaliated with astounding ferocity. While they certainly lacked the lethal claws and almost fluid bodies, they made up for it with teamwork. Like a proper pack they stuck together instead of just flying solo. They would circle their target and take turns snapping, leaping, feinting, and shoving in order to disorient and take advantage of their opponents. They weren't fluid felines, but they were cooperative canines and they would work together. They seemed to be holding their ground just as well as the Kitty Kickers, not balking in the tumult of roars and instead adding bestial snarls and yelps.

Roxy on the other hand was isolated form the rest. However, she didn't seem to mind. Adrenaline coursed through her very being and made her a creature of combat. The large feline put up a decent fight, using hind leg strength to proper herself. The paws landed and Roxy staggered back, exaggerating the movement in order to avoid the paralyzing bite that brushed by her fur. That was too close for comfort.

The large alpha she wolf stepped away, but didn't plan on retreat. instead her paws dug into the ground, head low and lips pulled back. Foam dribbled from her maw and for a second those green eyes looked absolutely feral. A sort of intelligence crept into them as she stood and paused, sides heaving like great bellows as the fight raged on all around her and made her blood hot. She'd have laughed if she could. Tilting her head back, she released a short howl before barreling towards Rickie. All four paws left the asphalt and for a moment it seemed as if she were sailing through the cool night air. While Roxy fully intended to land upon Rickie, if she missed she planned on pivoting harshly and charging again, not accounting for potential failure.

As this occurred one of the lean scouts spotted smoke trailing in the air a few blocks away. Panic flashed in the eyes of the few wolves and dogs that had hung back. They exchanged short snarls and barks of warning and discussion, deciding on the two fastest to check it out. A greyhound and a saluki were chosen, slinking away from the sight of the others before beginning to sprint towards the smoke. Their feet thumped on the asphalt, tongues lolled out and feet flying over the ground. They wove through alleyways to deter any pursuers, setting false trails by tossing aside stray wrappers and sloshing through muddled puddles.

Finally they slowed to a stop in the mouth of an alleyway, mouths open while panting. Before them was the old market Roxy had spoken of on a few occasions, now burning. Inside were figures identified as the Kitty Kickers, the ones that hadn't showed up at the fight. Without hesitation they released loud howls into the air, the sound met by howls from the scouts left behind. the ten wolves or so that had stuck back during the the initial fight now followed the call in the hopes of catching the assailants before ti was too late.
Seeing Roxy sail through the air, Rickie whipped her body to attempt another roll, but wasn't quick enough. Roxy would land half on top of Rickie on the ground, any type of claw or bite digging into Rickie's shoulder and creating a long mark. A small whine of pain was heard from Rickie, who squirmed and kicked on the ground in hopes of pushing Roxy off.

Caroline went to try and help her other cousin, but was met with the teamed wolves circling her. With a cry, she frantically batted her paws forward, hoping to connect with anyone in front of her, while her tail swirled high. Tonya was able to weave her way from the wolves, sprinting down the street and turning sharply to gain speed for another pounce. Instead, she stopped in her tracks at the smell of smoke and then the howls echoing.

With quick chitters, Tonya communicated with her squad, giving the command to fall back and retreat when the opportunity arises. Everything was going according to plan, but Tonya didn't expect this much strength from the Onyx Dragons. Even, with Muse letting her know.

Caroline dodged a few wolves, gaining some bite marks in the process as she went over to help Rickie. Dagger and Spike continued to hold their own, proving that they were as skilled and strong like Muse said. They also worked in more of a team than the three cousins, whenever Spike was caught in a trap, Dagger was always there to help out. With that, they were able to fall back from the Onyx Dragon's, but was forced to leave Caroline and Rickie to escape themselves.

As Roxy and Rickie struggled, and Caroline being caught up in another gang of wolves, Tonya sprinted forward with all her speed. Like a blur, she was able to catch a single wolf off guard near Roxy, clamp her fangs into the side of the wolf's neck, and twist the poor canine hard onto the ground. A yelp was heard from the wolf, giving Caroline time to team up with Rickie to fight Roxy. With Roxy on top of Rickie, Caroline rose a paw to sideswipe the leader of the Onyx Dragon's off. If successful, the two spotted werecats would run off, with Tonya hopefully following behind.

The fire swept through the market quickly, climbing up the walls and into the apartments above the market. The sounds of crackling fires became deafening inside, along with the thick smoke that billowed out the shattered windows. Most of the Kitty Kickers were out, standing out in the street, but only Muse and one more were still inside.

Muse continued to ravage through the check out of the market, grabbing anything that was useful and stuffing it down her shirt while Giana, a simple black house cat werecat from the Silent Scorpions, was ripping apart the walls and pulling down any wires or piping she could grip. They both coughed. The smoke was becoming too much to handle, along with a very strange smell and a hissing sound able to break the crackling of the fire.

That was was the type of smell that forced you to only take the choppiest of breaths because the odor was so overpowering it could mess with your mind. It made your head hurt and lungs feeling like it was filled with a toxic gas that could turn to liquid and settle uneasily at the bottom. Muse climbed over the counter to see Giana wandering towards her. Just behind the girl, a wavering stream of what seemed like hot air quivered in the fire from the wall.

Without hesitation, Muse transformed into her black leopard form and grabbed Giana by the skin of her neck. Giana instantly went into her form and went limp in time for Muse to escape.

She ran passed her pride, knowing they would follow. The loud, high pitched hissing from the stream of gas turned into a helpless pitch right before the entire market exploded into a balloon of fire and gas. The gang members left lagging behind were blown a few yards to the sides, every window on the street shattered from the earthquake-like boom, and countless alarms blared. The Kitty Kickers that were ahead stumbled in their run, some tripping onto their faces and Muse falling onto her right shoulder.

The explosion could be seen throughout Roxy's and Muse's territory, and may even beyond that. The power shook the surrounded area, knocking over anything that wasn't secured. The Kitty Kicker's that were on their territory line on-call even stumbled around by the power. They roared and shouted as loudly as they could, with some rushing forward into Onyx Dragon's to see if everything was alright. An explosion wasn't part of the plan.​
As Roxy remained on top of Rickie she kept trying to ravage the feline with her teeth and claws, landing a gnarly looking wound on her shoulder. Underneath the wolf was the writhing cat, trapped and in much pain. Blood lust fueled Roxy and she surveyed her surroundings in order to ensure there was no one coming to rescue Rickie quite yet. Every time one of Rickie's escape efforts grew stronger Roxy offered a sharp nip, enough to worry and worsen the existing wounds as opposed to creating new ones. It was not Roxy's intent to cause fatal injuries in this battle, although the urge was too great.

The canines fought well and hard until they were distracted by a loud explosion sound. Turning their heads they all saw fire fire into the sky and the ground shook for a moment, almost off balancing some. A chorus of frenzied barking and yipping ensued and were replaced by savage growls when they realized this had all been a ploy by the Kitty Kickers to destroy some of their territory. Some followed the retreating felines, snapping at their disappearing tails and taunting them as they went.

"Hey! The fight is this way, cowards!" One call went.

"Here kitty, kitty, kitty!" Was a more popular jeering cry after the retreating figures.

One of the wolves still defending Roxy received a terrible bite from Tonya and was forced into the ground with a yelp, left laying on the ground and bleeding. they took their human form and was revealed to be a tall brunette female. A fellow canine shifted as well and ran to the scene, dodging snapping teeth in order to pull the girl out and onto her shoulder to be carried away to safety. Without immediate treatment such a wound could be fatal.

The explosion moments ago had caught Roxy off guard and she was suddenly swiped aside harshly, scrabbling for purchase on the asphalt and almost taking a nose dive. After she recovered it seemed the felines had slipped away. A few wounds adorned Roxy, but she was more preoccupied with the damage that had been done to her territory. Some gut feeling told her that she knew exactly what had been destroyed. The market. It was one of the most meaningful places she had shared with Muse and now it was destroyed, a symbol of their crumbling relationship.

Instead of pursuing the retreating felines, Roxy sent the wounded canines back to the hideout. Then, alone, she went racing towards the market. Along the way she scented the past smells of her scouts that had passed through as well as the few that had responded to the howl earlier. A sick feeling twisted inside of her and she hoped desperately that none of her gang members had been killed in the blast. Where had the Kitty Kickers acquired explosives?

Soon enough Roxy reached the scene and saw flames had engulfed the structure, eating away at it. It would only be a matter of time until the rest of the structure collapsed entirely. There were felines on the scene as well as canines, all in various states of disorientation. Upon seeing Roxy the canines staggered towards their leader, some sporting evidence of flying debris that had collided with them. All seemed shaken up and received concerned nuzzling, a surprising action from the usually stony leader. This action had warranted such concern. What were the Kitty Kicker's thinking? Direct violence and vandalism was expected, but not an explosion.

The felines were also recovering, among them being Muse. Many meters away from Muse, Roxy dared to take her human form and stand tall among her fellow members. Bloodied and drenched in sweat, Roxy's sides heaved with effort and a look of utter disbelief was plastered across her face. Then she lifted her arms with her palms faced upwards in a questioning gesture. "What the fuck were you thinking, Muse?!"she shouted over the roar of the flames.
The fallen Kitty Kickers struggled up with some wheezing to try and catch their breaths. Muse dropped the small house cat down before getting to her paws. With a tiny step forward, Muse winced at her sprained shoulder, her paw only delicately placed on the warming ground. The intense fire continued to heat everything up while alarms blared their pitched shrieks. Neighbors ran out and lined the sidewalks, their eyes more engaged with the growing fire than the two gangs trying to recover.

From the fire, alarms, and the screams of everyone around, Muse could barely hear the muffled shouts coming from Roxy. The black leopard werecat looked behind her to see Roxy in human form raising her arms in disbelief. Muse shook her head to try and snap herself out of shock, unable to answer Roxy's question. The leopard slowly reverted back to her human form as her pride surrounded her.

"Don't stay here. Just go. Get the fuck out of here," Muse breathed and used her other hand to shoo them away. "Our mission is...complete? Go to the headquarters and wait for my return. We'll talk about what happened..."

The werecats hesitated, but with a glare from Muse, they sped off as best they could after a gas explosion. Muse looked around in regret at how the fire engulfed the whole market and duplex on top. Luckily, the fire was still contained at the market for now. The sizzle of the natural gas from the pipe still fed the fire, creating small billows of explosions high into the night sky. The smell of it was sickening, nearly causing Muse to gag.

This destruction wasn't suppose to happen. Only the market was suppose to be burned up. Enough to send a message, but small enough for the fire department or even the neighbors to put out with their hoses. Even with the hate for the Onyx Dragon's, Muse didn't want to cause this much trouble for the innocent people around. Or, Roxy.

Muse looked back at Roxy and simply shrugged, giving Roxy her answer. It was hard for Muse to hold back her regret and near shame for their butchered plan. She was embarrassed by it, feeling like it only showed how inexperience she was at running her own mashed-up gang of thugs. Roxy most likely wouldn't know that Muse's plan tittered on the line between success and failure. Some may see it as a success with how beautiful the fire turned out and exceeded expectations. But, it was at the cost of innocents inconvenience. Muse could only pray that the fire wouldn't spread to the other buildings around too much.

Hearing the fire truck siren's, Muse slowly made her way away from the scene and to her territory.
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