His large ears twitched, shaking fine sand out from the knots in his grey fur. For extra measure, he shook his head rapidly, seeing a screen of red cover his vision. Laughter erupted from his two friends as he exclaimed in pain, the sand hitting his eyes.

“You idiot,” the smaller, darker-haired one with a crooked ear laughed. The redder of the three came up to pat his back, using his tail as a duster for the grey one’s face.

“That was one heck of a wipe out,” the red one hummed, studying the wreck of the basic hoverbike that lay mangled among a pile of raw crystal salts.

“The torque engine needs more stabilizing. Hack to that merchant who sold me it! He claimed it could hold two salt boosters!” the grey one spat. He dusted himself and got up, his long grey tail whipping about in frustration. No bleeding injuries, but his hip did hurt a bit. Nothing a good cup of cactus flower resin couldn’t clear.

He picked up his beloved bike and whined in despair as the turn of the ignition produced nothing but croaked spluttering and the glittering ash of the vaporized salt crystal fuel. A few more turns and the bike coughed up sparks, signalling its absolute demise. He dared not risk any more kick-starting, for fear there soon wouldn’t even be a two-bit engine to salvage. Collapsing disappointingly into the dust of the obliterated fuel crystals, he looked despondently at his two friends.

“Come on, hook up,” the red one motioned, uncoiling a winch from his own still-functioning hoverbike. The grey one lumbered slowly, wrapping the cable around the wrecked body.

“Oi, hook up!” the red one repeated to the darker one. But the darker one was fixated with the end of the canyon trench they were in, his ears twitching while he stood shock still. Confused, the red one straightened to scour the end of the trail; but didn’t see or smell anything except the fumes of the salt crystals.

“What?” the red one asked, his tone low in alert. The darker one sniffed one more time, and relaxed. “Probably nothing,” he shrugged, igniting his own stumpy-looking hovercraft. But no sooner did his engine drone to life than a screaming metallic roar thundered down the canyon walls.

The three wolf-boys looked up to see a horrific sight of a GraniteTooth tumbling down the side of the trench, and getting back up to stare at them, its red LED eyes shooting marking lasers.

“GET OUT GET OUT GET OUT!!!” the darker one screamed, speeding away.

The red one and the grey one scrambled onto red’s bike, ripping the engine to life. The grey one’s mess of a bike creaked and groaned, but dragged along just in time to avoid the GraniteTooth’s pounce.

“UP UP UP!” they heard the darker one screaming as they witnessed him race up the narrow slope they came down into the canyon, leaving them in his dust.

Red punched the accelerator down, tearing up the slope as well, the GraniteTooth in close pursuit. But the ravenous machine was too broad and heavy, with a screech it slipped off the ledge.

Before red and grey could breathe, a sudden yank from the tow jerked the bike; and down they crashed back into the canyon.

Out of the corner of his eye, red glimpsed a flash of gold fire running along the canyon walls, too bright to be the monster. He landed painfully on a ledge that jutted out slightly from the walls, but grey was unluckier.

He bounced off, landing down into the sediment sand. The GraniteTooth stilled, picking which one of them it was going to tear into first. Panicking, the grey one tried to get up and away, but his hip screamed with a sharp pain, and he collapsed onto his side again.

The GraniteTooth’s laser eyes settled on him, and moved menacingly to crush him. The grey one whimpered and shielded his face, praying to the stars.

He heard and felt something small land in front of him, and a warm radiance surround him. The snarl that followed however was so familiar yet in a voice he didn’t recognise, and he opened his eyes to see.

The outcast crouched aggressively, her back to him, her tail whipping out the cursed fire at the GraniteTooth.

The machine stilled, detecting the anomaly. A whimper from red drew grey’s attention upwards. He too watched the outcast wolf-girl snap and growl at the GraniteTooth in awe.

The GraniteTooth shuddered and swiped a metal limb at the outcast girl, who leapt out of the way with amazing speed. Dust and sand billowed over the grey one, and he tried to bury himself deeper in the ground, hoping the sand would mask him from the machine.

The outcast girl pounced off the walls of the canyon, throwing sparks into the metal beast’s eyescopes with her cursed firepower. The machine shrieked and flailed blindly, landing a lucky strike on the outcast girl’s leg while she was in mid-jump.

She tumbled soundlessly behind the creature, out of red’s sight. He gasped, both at the girl and his sudden worry for her. The little new sound made the GraniteTooth turn its focus to him, upon which the gleaming red rays of death made him yelp.

But before the machine could pounce again, a burst of fire from its hind limbs made its back panels explode.

The outcast girl jumped up again, running along its back. With a guttural scream she drove her flaming fist into the back of the GraniteTooth’s neck and ripped out its connecting wires.

The machine buzzed and hummed anti-climatically and collapsed to the floor, its electric life flashing dimly in its red eyes.

The outcast girl staggered exhausted around the monster’s head, and with one more swift punch to the middle of the beast’s jaw, she ripped out the remaining sockets that kept its systems running.

When she drew back, her arm was bleeding with the shrapnel from the GraniteTooth’s exterior plating. Red gasped, but she ignored him and shook it off. She slid down the wall on which she was resting on into a sitting position, catching her breath after the fight.

She cast one more look to grey, who still lay whimpering under a mound of sand. Red picked himself up and lowered himself down to check on grey. Apart from a few scratches and that hip injury, grey didn’t look like he had any other serious injuries.

“He alive?” her voice called out behind him. It was surprisingly high, not scratchy and growl-ly like how a monster’s voice should be.

“Ye-yes!” he spun around, beholding her properly for the first time. She averted her eyes the moment they met his, but the green emerald glint was something he would remember for the rest of his life.

Dressed in a tattered old fabric of some sort that resembled construction sails the older workers sometimes put up to keep sand out of mud; bare feet and ebony dark skin, hair and tail that was almost gold in colour and seemed to sparkle with every jerk of her head; she didn’t appear to be much different from the rest of the villagers.

The only physical thing he saw different was how vibrant she was compared to everything around her. No other girl he knew had such bright hair like hers, or had skin as dark, or even eyes as green. But he found himself not fearing any of these striking traits. Quite the opposite in fact, to his surprise.

Noticing his stare, she got up uncomfortably. “Leave,” she cocked her head towards his fallen bike at the edge of the canyon walls.  Miraculously, it remained on its side on the ledge despite grey’s bike dangling down.

A clattering drew his attention back to her; she was stripping the GraniteTooth for scrap and parts. A dark trail from where she was sitting made him gasp again.

“You’re hurt!” he point blankly stated.

She glanced down at her foot, revealing a long gash where the monster had swiped her. Unfazed, she continued scrapping the machine. “It’ll heal,” she muttered. Her tail lowered to cover the wound from him, as if she knew him staring at it any longer would increase his worry.

“Umm, thank you,” red bowed. She paused, a gasket in hand and stared at him.Seemingly not knowing how to respond, she bowed back.

An arrow pierced the hull of the GraniteTooth a little too close to her, making her jump away. “AWAY DEMON! AWAY!” cried the guard, drawing another arrow. The outcast girl hissed and ran off, leaving her scrap behind.

The red one  watched as she disappeared into the deeper canyon trenches, her image flickering as that of a candle. “Are you alright?” the darker one called out from the hightop. Tearing away his eyes from her, the red one looked up, a bewildered look still plastered on his face.


Writer’s note: didn’t proof read this, am in a rush. Working’s hard :p

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