Team Tiger Trouble
Warning: This one’s extra long because I’m introducing a character for the future. Whether or not he shows up in this run entirely depends on whether I make it to the end. That said, please enjoy this extended length post.
This time, when the three stopped for gas, Kayden headed inside to pay for their gas, and to pick up some snacks and drinks for the road. With the Traville gassed up, and Jaden driving, it left Kayden and Kaylie more than enough time to try the various items that Kayden had grabbed.
“Okay, so far, these cheese curl things are a bit… I don’t really like them.” Kaylie said, passing the bag up to Kayden and Jaden. Kayden responded by passing back a bag of gummy worms, then opening the bottle of cola and drinking about half of it.
Nova, despite her previous warning that she wouldn’t be paying attention to his nanites, piped up with, “Don’t pass that to either of your siblings. That drink contains the same two primary compounds that were in the coffee earlier, though in much lower quantities, but there are additional additives that may alter the known effects. Despite the reduction in quantities, this drink is affecting you at a greater intensity than I would have predicted.”
Kayden looked at Kaylie, who looked disappointed at the realization that the delicious smelling cola was completely off-limits. “Fine, but I will find something interesting in this bag of snacks, and I’m thirsty.” Kaylie grumbled, before grabbing the bottled water and the turkey jerky.
Jaden decided to take a chance, letting go of the steering wheel with one hand in order to try the cheese curls. “I don’t know, they’re not all that bad. A bit unusual, but not bad.”
Kayden finished the bottle of cola, then had a look of pure misery on his face after Jaden hit a pothole. “Twin Suns, Jade, try not to drive through road craters.” Kayden growled, trying to ease the rather intense discomfort he was feeling. Suddenly, and without warning, as Kayden took a deeper breath, Jaden hit another small pothole, and the trapped air caught Kayden as he was about to growl at his brother. Instead of a loud, but contained growl, the belch rattled in his throat, producing a tremendous Tiger’s roar, louder than any Kayden had ever done before.
“By the Seven Sisters, Kayden, my ears are ringing!” Jaden yelled, barely able to hear himself after Kayden’s unexpected roaring belch.
“I feel much better now.” Kayden said, as the trapped air was certainly quite gone. “And believe me, that could have been a lot worse.”
“How could it get worse than that?” Kaylie asked.
“I know people who could have done actual damage to the car because of that.” Kayden mentioned, as Jaden shook his head.
“I have a hard time believing that Mal could do worse, Kayden.” Jaden said. “Two heads isn’t necessarily going to make him any louder.”
Kayden laughed, then said, “No, Mal isn’t the one I was referring to. The Hybrid who travels with him, if he drank that stuff, might have shattered the windows.”
“How in the name of the Seven Sisters can he break glass?” Kaylie asked.
“Some idiot mixed up four races worth of genetic material. He can vocalize in any of the various long-range ways of those in his blood. So, he can roar because he’s a quarter Leoni, and he howls because he’s a quarter Khalan. But he’s also a quarter Drakian, so he’s got the ability to use powerful resonant notes that, on occasion, give him the ability to shatter glass, break crystal, things like that. Technically, he could learn to weaponize that, but he has no need to.”
Jaden asked, “Why not?” At the same time, Kaylie asked, “What’s that last quarter, then?”
Kayden smiled, then answered with, “That last fourth is Malurian.”
Jaden gave a look of horror, and Kaylie’s ears went pale. After a few moments, it was Kaylie who spoke first, with a half-breathless oath, “Twin Suns. How did they get one of those involved?”
“It’s from his actual birth mother. The Humans and the Malurians look the same, and apparently, the only difference is that the Malurians have some kind of mind powers. He didn’t pick up much of their abilities, but, he has a very strong command of fire.” Kayden replied.
“Seven Sisters and Twin Suns.” Jaden said, giving a fearful look at Kayden. “Whoever did that created a monster.”
Kayden laughed before responding, “If you ever meet him, don’t say that to him. His name, it translates from Leoni to mean ‘Chimera’ and he went out of his way to shorten it to get away from being called a monster, even indirectly.”
Kaylie puzzled over it, then smiled. “I know a little bit of Leoni. Kivenaal. ‘Beast-of-Many-Parts’ specifically, but the humans have mythology for a Chimera, a beast formed of many other beasts.”
Kayden nodded, then said, “He shortened it to ‘Kiva’ in order to hide the meaning. Still doesn’t help him with his looks. The humans have a lot of great mythology, and if you combine enough, you can describe him quickly. He’s effectively a demon werewolf, with a lion’s tail that ends in venomous spines. Horns and all, so he used to get called a ‘Hellhound’ quite often.”
“Please tell me he’s not all red?” Jaden asked.
Kayden chuckled, then used Nova’s handheld to show his siblings a holographic image of Kiva. The Hybrid stood in the image in cowboy boots, a duster, and the iconic cowboy hat, his black fur occasionally streaked through with dark red stripes, and his hat showing his horns poking through, his lion’s mane a tangled black mess, and his tail curled loosely behind him, the tail tuft looking almost like a lion’s, except that the ‘fur’ looked more like porcupine quills. In his right hand, however, was a ball of reddish orange fire, and he stood staring at the camera with a grin, as if he was amused about something.
“I assume his style of clothing is normal somewhere?” Jaden asked, seeming a little thrown off by the strange Hybrid.
“He told me he’s a fan of a type of movie, called a ‘Western.’ This is him when he’s feeling ‘normal’ out in public.” Kayden replied.
“Strange, but oddly appealing.” Kaylie commented, only for Kayden to shake his head.
“No, Kaylie. He’s not your type, not unless you like practical jokes and pranks. He’s a known trickster, and I’m honestly quite surprised he hasn’t done anything while we’re here.” Kayden replied.