Friday, July 9, 2010


He was somewhere between dreaming and waking, somewhere between feeling happy and loved and cared for, and desperately alone and scared. He could see the polished marble stones before him, the laden wreaths and flowers and the preacher droning on and on about a book neither of his parents ever put their faith into. He was dressed in his Sunday best, Orion by his side, stalwart and silent, head bowed in deep respect but not showing the wetness – ashamed to show the wetness that the others in the large gathering were wiping away with hands and handkerchiefs. He was idly fingering his collar with one hand, hearing the slow creak of the gurney as the boxes were lowered into their final resting places.

Orion showed him no comfort, no respite, no respect apart from that steely glare when he had felt his composure breaking under the strain, his loss running so deep and personal that surely he would be allowed to display his heartbrokeness. But no, that glare made him bow his head, pin back his ears and his concentration drifted away into a darkened plain, eerie with mist, safely ignoring the murmured Amens and notifications of his parents’ friends, of the hard sweaty palms that gripped his young hand like a vice, refusing to show him any sign of remorse or emotion – paying their respects but getting on with their lives. Orion had not shown tears and had demanded, with that one look, for him to not show any either, despite his crumbling facade and his desperate loneliness.

They would get by, he heard Orion say.

Connor had remembered the tiny apartment he and Orion had moved into – their parents’ home slaughtered by the auctioneers and what little money they recieved went into continuing his schooling and Orion’s naval academic stay. He had hated school, having been always learned by his mother outside the stuffy enclosure of four walls. He was continuously getting into trouble, and continuously Orion would turn up, exasperated and apologetic, and try to win some respite from the principal’s onslaught of accusations. He hated thinking back to that day – the day he had been expelled for putting himself between a younger classmate and a vicious group of bullies.

Orion’s reaction had been quiet, calm – but even Connor could feel the rage building from the moment the apartment door closed behind them. And Orion, his beloved elder sibling, the brother he adored and cherished, had let him have it – every single bit of frustration, anger, hate and remorse had come spilling out. He had accused him of things he had no part in, things that Orion wished were never true, and the worst part of his yelling was Orion’s truthful words that he wished Connor had never been born. Connor’s ears pinned back, and he sighed, his breath jerking out as a sob, remembering those hurtful words his brother had spat at him that evening. He had taken to staying well clear of his brother after that event. He busied himself in learning how to cook, in how to repair his own clothes and went out looking for work as an apprentice down by the docks – everything and anything to stay away from the sibling who wished their darling, beloved mother had never given birth to him.

And then...Orion met Lillie after his graduation from the academy, and Connor’s worst fears had been realised – he no longer knew his own flesh and blood.

Connor had started noticing a pattern between his late nights as a delivery boy and Orion’s disappearance in the dead of night. He would pretend to be asleep, hearing the soft shuffle of socked footpads crossing the floor, the creak of the front door as it opened and the quiet slam as it closed. He would lie awake and listen to the sounds of Orion putting on his shoes, the feminine voice of the elegant Angora feline that met him seconds later, the soft hush of breath as their lips met. He hated it. He hated Orion. He would lie awake for hours after his brother had left, staring at the ceiling, the tears pouring down his cheeks, trying to make sense of his abandonment; trying to make sense of why he hated having to share his brother with another person, a woman no less.

He clung to the only thing he had left of his mother, her pendant, tucked always so neatly under his shirt, wishing, praying for better days, praying for Orion to love him again as he had once done so. Their joining The Star Team was bittersweet for Connor – on the one hand, he was glad to be a part of a real team, no longer having to be first in, best dressed for job opportunities, but on the other, he was still very much alone, surrounded by older colleagues who had little time for a boy his age. He would quietly try to accept Lilliena La Rahnqe for who she was, this extraordinarily flirtatious and beautiful woman, but he would always have that sick swell of jealousy rise in his very being whenever Orion spent time with her. The day he proposed to her, Connor had felt a large part of his life tear free of him.

He had been happy for his brother of course, but secretly, he wished that Orion would remember that he had an actual family standing right beside him.

His ears alighted to the muffled sounds of an argument down the hall, and the determined, stalking footsteps of what could only be Charleston making his way to his room. He eased himself up, ear twitching, trying to make out more sounds. There were the mutterings of a slightly tipsy Jones as he stumbled his way up the stairs, Charleston hissing for him to go to bed before he woke everyone up, and then both the cat and the owl’s sounds faded, leaving the house in cold silence once again. But there was something else making his ears twitch, something faint but loud enough to stir him from his bed. It was a muffled sound that Connor recognised from having done it many times in his youth.

It was the sound of someone sobbing under a blanket.

Connor put on his bathrobe before stealing out into the darkened hallway, The sounds eminated from the guest bedroom, and the hedgehog boy realised with a start that it was Sunnie he was hearing cry. He carefully opened the unlocked door, and peeked in, seeing the curled up form of his Riverlander friend heaving quietly under the mass of the quilt and blankets. Instantly all Connor felt was deep concern for the tree panda, and was at his bedside moments after closing the door.

“Sunnie?” he asked in a quiet voice, hands reaching for the trembling, sobbing form. “Sunnie, what’s wrong?”

The boy started when Connor’s hands squeezed his shoulder, fearing the worst, fearing that it was Jones or Charleston that had heard him and were here to silence him. When all he saw was the worried face of Connor, the tree panda flung his arms around the hedgehog’s neck, tears beginning anew.

“Oh, Sunnie...” Connor whispered, drawing his friend into a gentle hug. “Homesick, huh?”

Sunnie didn’t respond. How could he tell Connor what his own teammates had said about him? How could he say they didn’t want him staying because he was too young and too small and too much trouble? An icy fear gripped his chest as he thought about telling Connor what the cat and the owl had said about him. What if Connor thought he was lying? What if he confronted them at breakfast the next morning? They would deny every word, surely?

Sunnie felt as if his heart was encased in a vice. He couldn’t tell Connor the real reason for his tears, but he didn’t want to lie to someone who already trusted him completely. So all he did was sob and sniffle, Connor soothing him, arms around him, rubbing his back, speaking those words of gentleness and comfort Sunnie was familiar with. He rubbed at his tearstained eyes, trying to stem the flow.

“Aw, Sunnie, it’s okay,” the hedgehog smiled. “It’s your first night, I know I’d miss my family too if I was so far away from them.”

The tree panda nodded, feeling so full of guilt at hiding his pain from Connor that he didn’t look up, instead lightly gripping his arm nervously. Connor ran his hand down Sunnie’s back, soothing him a bit more.

“D’ya want me to stay here t’night?” Connor went on. “I don’t mind.”

“W-would you?” Sunnie asked, quietly thinking about all those thundering nights when Banjo or Bernadette would come in and do the same thing when he was terrified out of his mind. “P-please?”

Connor drew the covers over Sunnie as he settled down again, slipping in beside his still-sniffling friend. Sunnie felt warm, comforted by the gesture of Connor putting his arm around him, reminding him of his foster parents; but deep inside, he felt terribly afraid and guilty. He had lied to his new friend’s face about the cause of his tearing up, so afraid that if he said something, it would turn around and slap him in the face like so many other situations had prior to his arrival here. Connor drifted off, arm around the tree panda, oblivious to the inner confliction that was tearing his friend apart at the seams. Sunnie wondered if he should wake Connor, tell him the truth, tell him his fears and his hopes and his dreams of being part of his home team...but upon seeing that the hedgehog was asleep, he decided against it, closing his eyes in the hope sleep would overtake him and silence his anguished thoughts.

Sleep did overtake him, but Sunnie thought wrong about his thoughts being silenced.

He was back in the estate, the home of his parent, nursing the bruises from another ill-tempered beating.

He had snuck out of his room, to the orchard, to the single gravestone that marked where she lay at eternal peace. He had found him there, curled up and hugging the white carving, tears marking stains down his muzzlefur. He had given him something to cry about, dragging him by a handful of his chestfur, through dirt road and gravel path. Then his fists had been on him, taking care to hit him where clothes could hide the bruising, ensuring he listened this time, listened as he ranted and raved, blaming him for everything and anything and nothing. He had lay there on the cold oaken floor, tears silently running down the curvature of his muzzle, not a sound eminating from his mouth, not even a whimper. And then he had been grabbed by the scruff of his neck, dragged down the stairs without so much as a moment’s respite and hurled into the backseat of the car, falling into a dreamless sleep, wishing, praying for this endless torment, this beating because he was Faralina’s son, to be over and done with.

The car had driven for a long time, Sunnie blocking out the roar of the engine and his father’s spittle-driven words of hate and malice from the driver’s seat. He could hear only his mother’s voice, softly singing to him, that lullaby she sang when he had woken from a nightmare, her soothing hands and gentleness the things he still feverently clung to even though she had been gone nearly half his lifetime. And then the loud slam of the driver’s side door had shattered the cradle of Faralina’s love, and had seized him like a vice by a handful of his tailfur. He felt the ripping, the tearing of his own pelt as his father dragged him from the backseat and hurled him into a deep snowbank. The softness of the snow cushioning his fall, cushioning the pain of his wounds, his bruises and cuts and clumps of fur from his tail. His father dusted his hands clear of his strands, spitting to the boy’s fetal, trembling form.

“Worthless sack of shit!” Lawrence Senior had snarled at his bloodied form. “Let’s see the animals make a meal of you!”

And then the car roared away into the deadness and still of the night, the icy chill and the quiet snow falling blanketing him.

He could feel the blood from the torn patch on his tail seeping into the whiteness of the bank, felt the bruises pull every tender muscle in his soon-to-be eight year old body. He has been dumped outside the forests where the wild wolves roamed, and they would smell the fresh blood spilling from him. His father had dumped him where he knew he would be killed. Sunnie’s hand trembled, reaching for the frozen grass ahead of him, his unbruised eye closing under the strain of even moving. Every muscle constricted violently and he cried out, the sound from his lips a strangled, muffled cry of anguish and pain. The chill was setting in and if he didn’t find shelter soon, he would never open his eyes again.

Sunnie felt his tears course down his cheeks, out from under his purplish eye, hurting him further, stinging the bruised flesh. He wanted to feel her arms again, soothing him, calming him, wiping away his tears and the blood that fell from his cuts and bruises.

He wanted his Momma...

Hurried footsteps were crunching the snow, he was bouncing up and down, carried by something.

He could feel the firm grip he was in and wondered in his haze if one of the alphas had found him and was now carrying him towards her den to feed her young? His unfocused eye fluttered and tried to blink, his mind so burdened with grief he didn’t realise that he was being carried by a elderly lapine fur, rushing him towards the shelter and warmth of his home, eldest son by his side, carrying his still-bleeding tail. He didn’t hear the worried voices, the gasp of deep shock from the lapine's elderly wife, and the curiousity of three baby lapines who crowded around him as he was set down onto the kitchen table. It barely registered that his tail was being doused in iodine and medicinal root powder, and his bruises and broken bones were being splinted and bandaged. His fingers twitched, as if grasping for something, so lost in his haze of pain and sickness.

It would be many days later that Sunnie would find the courage to open his eyes...and find himself in the lovingly built wooden and pebbled stone home of the Shoepack family.

His first instinct was blind panic – he had been found, he had been saved, but it meant his father was still out there. He would whimper loudly as he tried to ease himself up, crying with the pain that followed his broken shoulder, drawing the attention of Billy and his mother Bernadette from the next room. He would cry out, begging to be left alone, in his malnourished state he would draw his chipped claws, swiping out at the two lapines as they struggled to calm him down. He would exhaust himself so feverently, bringing up the tiny remnant of food left in his stomach before falling back into the sweat-drenched unconsciousness – terrified that his father would return for him, return to kill him. He would scare Bernadette to the point of tears and Billy would swear revenge on the animal that had beaten him to this condition.

He would awaken a further three days past to Billy serving him broth with a spoon, tilting his head back through his tears, through words he could barely speak, the lapines listening to every strangled word and cry. It would be nearly a fortnight later before Sunnie would recover enough to walk again, leaning heavily on Billy to get about their small domain, his story now gaining clarity amongst the family and later their council of elders. He would say that his name was Lawrence Junior, that his mother had named him ‘Sunshine’ as a middle name, leading to the family to refer to him as ‘Sunnie’.

Due to the very brutal nature of his injuries, the council of elders would revoke anyone who came to claim him, adopting him as Sunnie River’ynn – Of The Riverlands. Sunnie would be a closed door at first, choosing not to speak of the brutality he had suffered at his father’s hands, but as time wore on, bits and pieces would emerge, until Banjo, Bernadette, Billy and the rest of the family would become familiar with his night terrors and bed wetting, his quietness and the way he utterly hated winter completely. Bernadette especially would try and adopt his mother’s ways – singing him to sleep, cuddling with him when he had a nightmare – all things Sunnie associated with being loved, and eventually, he would be the boy he was now; the loving, kind-hearted but shy and somewhat nervous little tree panda.

Sunnie felt the tears course down his cheeks as he slept, and would then feel the soft embrace of Connor curled up behind him, soothing him but at the same time making him despise his every fiber of being with a passionate hatred.

Would you still be my friend, Connor, if you knew who I really was? Sunnie thought miserably. Would you still be my friend if you knew I was lying straight to your face?

Poor Sunnie could only pray things would be better tomorrow.

It was late in the evening at the club, and as the janitor was mopping the floor and the bartender was setting aside the last few clean glasses, the tomcat breezed in from the alleyway out back, adjusting his belt.

She was good. She was very good t’night.

There were no bad girls in Xavier Corlette’s mind. There were only very bad habits, and his habit were the chorus girls of Lilliena La Rahnqe’s Cabaret Troupe. The slim, slender felines, canines and murines of the Paradiso Caberet act. More often than not he could get a few minutes with Sarah, or Marie, and maybe Chantelle, Charlotte and Lori on the side. But the girl who always escaped him, who always teased and taunted and niggled at him, was Lilliena La Rahnqe herself.

Xavier was of the mind that Lilliena was a voluptuous prize, set between him and that d**ned idiot, Orion Hercules Hedgehog. He still rued the day Lil’ had ever clapped eyes on that fool. They had found themselves in a heated rivalry for her flirtatious affections, further fueled by her offhand remarks about their prowess in more ways than one. But Xavier had, inevitably, lost her hand when she and Orion grew closer than he’d expected. The day he proposed to her still hurt, an angry, festering wound that continued to grow under his facade of pride.

But it didn’t mean he couldn’t flirt with her every now and again.

Big Mickey, the bartender, a gentle giant of a Polar Bear inclined his head to the clock as Xavier sauntered towards the bar. Closing time, the cat acknowledged, tossing a furled bill onto the bar.

“Keep th’ change, Mickey,” the cat smirked. “You were right about Char being hard-up t’night.”

The bartender grunted, sweeping the note up in an oversized paw, before Xavier took his leave of the club, passing Jacksey, the janitor.

“I’d be wary if I was you,” Mickey’s voice rang out as Xavier’s paw reached the door. “He may be outta town, but she still ain’t yours, cat.”

“Let me be the judge of that, old man,” Xavier grinned. “With any luck, she’ll be flirtin’ up a storm t’night anyway!”

Xavier sauntered down the path, turning the corner where the light spilled out from the main dressing room’s window. The blinds were tied back and he was treated to an excellent live show of Lilliena taking off her dressing gown, revealing the skimpy, tight, black and white french lace corset she wore under that smoking hot red dress.

She’d been on a course of passionate fire earlier on in the show, that smouldering rawness and the sexiness of her soft brown eyes had set every man’s heart, taken or single, aflutter. Xavier had watched her drag a nearby young pup onto the stage by his tie, damned near choking him and making him flush with unbridled excitement, before pushing him backwards with a sharp shove, strutting her way back to her group of chorus girls, those sexy legs disappearing into that low-cut crushed velvet drape she called a dress.

She hadn’t noticed his presence, hadn’t noticed him take his place on the window sill, grinning as he watched her sexy hips sashay across the room for her regular clothes. It was only when her eyes alighted on the mirror to his grinning features that Lilliena La Rahnqe realised she had company.


Xavier cringed momentarily at the pitch of her shriek, chuckling as she scrambled for her robe to hide her beautiful white bare-all fur.

“May I just say, for someone smouldering with lust, you sure make pretty eye candy,” he smirked.


“Watching a creation of immeasurable beauty sashay across her dressing room.”

Lilliena’s lips set into a tight line. She may have looked angry with him, but in truth, she loved the attention she got from the boys, even Xavier at times. As much of a sweet-talker he was, he was still, always, genuine about his praise, and stuff like this was never light-hearted with Xavier.


“Aw c’moooon, Lil’,” Xavier went on. “Just one kiss and I’ll leave you alone.”

Lilliena sighed, putting her hands on her hips, regardless of giving Xavier the show he was so obviously after. He and Orion were like little boys in a sense – always looking to score that one extra hit to be above the other.

She had known about the feline’s anger at losing her, at Orion proposing to her at that party, and knew that he had taken many a blow to his pride from Connor who vehemently defended Orion’s engagement to her. But when Orion was out of town, Lilliena’s awful habit was that, regardless of the ring on her finger, she was an utterly shameless flirt. She doted on her one-liners; so much so, she had been the one to start this little war of the words with Xavier, and thusly, had always allowed him that small respite of friendship between them, despite her impending marriage to Orion. It seemed to alleviate the tension between them when Orion was out of town, but still, she had never let Xavier take advantage of those small respites. Despite him giving her his word, she still held the cat at arm’s length away from her.

Problem was, Lilliena adored her bad boys too.

“Xavier?” she asked sweetly.

“Yesssss?” the tomcat grinned up at her, eyes shining with lust.

Xavier didn’t know what happened. One second he was sitting on Lilliena’s dressing room window sill and the next he was amongst the spilled trashcans, sitting amongst the old packets and rotten cabbage leaves and carrot tops. Lilliena’s laughter reached his ears as he struggled to clear his head of the clanging sound of trash can lids.

“Aww, did Momma’s little baby fall down?”

Xavier’s ears played back at Lilliena’s taunt. “Very funny, Lil’.”

She sat on the windowsill, ignoring the chilliness of the dark night, and Xavier’s grunts to pick himself up off the ground.

“I wouldn’t kiss you with your mother’s mouth, I hope you know that?”

Xavier couldn’t help but smirk at that comment. Lilliena smiled, leaning forward, her robe slipping down from her shoulder.

“Xav, what are you here for? Really?”

“This gentlecreature was wondering if the lady had an escort for her dark traipse home?”

Lilliena rolled her eyes, “I’m not a child, Xavier.”

“Yeah, but you could get mugged, and with a pretty face like yours, it’d be a darn shame to let someone take advantage of it.”

Lilliena’s ears played back.

“Oh, touche, maestro.”

She frowned down at him.

“Seriously, Xavier.”

“I was being serious!” the Zero Boys’ Leader retorted, dusting off his suit. “It’s dark, it’s cold and it’s not safe to be wandering out when a fog’s due in.”

Lilliena let out a sharp sigh. Xavier was verily like Orion sometimes, but she would never tell him that.

“You are being serious?”

“I am.”

“No tricks?”

“No tricks.”

Lilliena nodded, “Alright, I’ll be out in a minute.”

“Don’t draw the blinds then.”


“Pleeeeeease?” he comically begged her, but it was of little use, Lilliena’s hand reached for the ribbon tying the blinds back. He looked up forlornly at her, her frown softening into an exasperated smile.

“Oh alright...” Lilliena unbuttoned her corset and slid it down just far enough to give Xavier a peek, before her other hand pulled the ribbon free, dropping the blinds down just before her corset fell from her sleek, streamlined body.

“NO FAIR!!!!” Xavier yelled.

Lilliena’s laughter echoed in her dressing room as she busied herself with changing. Xavier stomped up the alley towards the front doors of the club, annoyed but clearly aroused by the sight of the forbidden fruit he hadn’t a hope of seeing ever again.

Lilliena sure knew how to hit a man hard.

He paced for a while, trying to calm his raging hormones with a cigarette from his front pocket. She appeared dressed in a thick winter coat, handbag over a wrist, looking as beautiful as she’d been when he’d first laid eyes on her. He couldn’t help but whistle softly.

“Nice, Romeo,” she smiled as they set off towards her apartment, “Very nice.”

“Hey, I don’t foxy-roxy just anyone, Lil’.”

“I’ll bet,” she replied. “At least Char looked a lot more relaxed during the girls’ performance.”

Xavier reddened, averting his eyes to her knowing look.

“She’s still no match to you, Lil’.”

The angora regarded him with a softened expression.

“What?” he queried.

“You being honest like that. It’s...refreshing.”

“Ha, I’ll try not to make it a habit then.”



“Ha! Is that the best you can do?” she laughed.

“No, but Orion would kill me if I were ever to.”

Lilliena went quiet for a moment, just letting the silence permeate between them as they walked. It looked to Xavier that something was on the lovely lady’s mind.

“What’s wrong?” he asked.

“Xavier,” Lilliena’s vice was unusually soft. “If I wasn’t Orion’s fiancee, would you have taken advantage of me like you do with my other girlfriends?”

The tomcat took the query at face value, “I would have. But I’d have felt guilty as all hell afterwards.”


“Well...” he chose his words carefully. “Look at you for starters! You’re pretty and lovely. I’d hate to be the guy that every other guy wants to beat the crap out of for hurting a precious gem like you.”

“So I’m a precious gem to you now?”

“You know what I mean!” Xavier threw his hands up in frustration. “I, I don’t know.”

Silence floated between them for the rest of their walk and as they arrived outside of Lilliena’s new apartment, Xavier wondered if he should at least try to explain himself better than he had done previously. As he turned to face the female feline, and opened his mouth to say what he wanted to say, Lilliena’s lips met his own, silencing him in a deep, long, passionate kiss. His hands trembled, wanting to reach for her slender hips, to pull her closer towards him, but he refused, letting her break the kiss first, both of them breathless from its rawness.

“I love Orion,” she said simply. “And that was to remind you that you and I will never be together...”

“...Lilliena...” Xavier whispered, his cheeks flushed.

“...but that was also for me to say that sometimes...just sometimes...I wish I was yours too.”

Xavier closed his eyes, her hands leaving his cheeks and the sound of her heels clicking up her front path towards her front door. As she opened it, he opened his mouth to say something, but she got in first again.

“I’m going to be Lilliena Hedgehog, Xavier. There’s nothing I can do to change that.”

“I know,” Xavier replied, his voice hoarse. “But if things had been would have gone with me?”

The female’s eyes reflected his in the light of her front doorway,

“Yes. I would have.”

“...why?” he asked seriously.

“You may be a spiteful, hating bully. You may be an arrogant, prideful jackass. But somewhere underneath all of that, you’re someone I wanted to love.”

“You mean that?”


Xavier stared at Lilliena for a short while, before his pride kicked in and smothered whatever good feelings he was feeling.

“I keep wondering...”

“Yes?” she asked him.

“What’s he like? Orion, I mean.”

“Xavier J. Corlette, are you asking me about his bedroom prowess?!” her fiendish, playful grin was back.

“...maybe,” the alleycat felt his cheeks burn once more.

“He’s a complete gentlecreature,” she was hugging her arms, leaning against the light-filled doorway, eyes off into the sky, blushing. “Makes me feel like a Queen. Always slow, always gentle, a perfect romantic.”

Xavier felt like gagging and Lilliena knew it.

“Plus all those quills go extra soft when I run my claws up the length of his---“

“OKAY I GET IT!!!” the tomcat almost shrieked.

Lilliena laughed, a long soothing laugh, before she smiled again at him.

“Thank you for escorting me home, Xavier. You’re a gentlecreature.”

“Uh yeah...yeah, thanks.”

“Threatened, are you?” she was grinning with her eyes too.

“I don’t see how a cat know...with a hedgehog...”

“Try not to ease your suffering with that thought. I’m going to bed alone tonight, too.”

Xavier flushed and instantly pictured a fantasy playing out in the back of his mind. He turned away, embarrassed.

“Try to sleep tonight, won’t you, Xavier?”

The cat sighed, “With that picture, I don’t think I will.”

“Goodnight, Mister Corlette.”

Her front door closed and her footsteps faded away into the depths of the apartment. Xavier stood for a while, watching the doorway, feeling the anger and the hate and the pride and the unrequited love he felt for Lilliena burning up inside him. She could have been his, she could have been his girlfriend. His fiancee.

His wife.

That damnable Hedgehog.

That damnable bastard and his kid brother.

If it hadn’t been for them, Lilliena would be his.

He gritted his fangs, feeling the hate and the anger bubble up within his very being. He had thought, over the course of the day after Mac’s accident, that he was being too careless, too heartless, too cruel and sadistic. That he was playing with fire in all the wrong places, that he would bring wrath and ruin down upon his team. He enjoyed putting the lads and himself up over the Star Team, but Mac’s accident had resulted in a very badly broken leg and that faint twinge of guilt had coursed through him as he’d sauntered into the club early on in the night – what if he was taking all of this far too far?

That feeling dissipated as quickly as it had come, vanishing into the haze of red that filled the alleycat’s heart, soul and mind. He was going to make that hedgehog pay the price for crossing him this far. He was going to ruin those Star Team boys down to the very depths of the nine hells.

Starting with that damnable riverlander trainee...

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