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JCS-08 Declaring the Pack Again

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    JCS-08 Declaring the Pack Again

    [Cardinal Sins]

    JCS-08 Declaring the Pack Again.
    By Darrel "Lord Pouchlaw" Vanwinkle
    November 27th, 2020

    Chapter One
    :Freeborn farm, Ridgeview, Arizona; Planet Earth FE-11:
    Sitting in front of the pack den television, Coingazer and the other hounds listened to how the sports teams had done badly due to the hot weather and then there was the evening and early morning weather forecast for the Cameron zone. It was as Impy had said, but something got added at the last moment. "Bill, the national weather bureau told us to watch this depression that is coming up out of Southern California and Mexico's Baja region. They aren't expecting it to do much in our region, but we should watch it just in case since it has the potential to dump heavy rains that could cause flooding in dry river beds and drainage canals. I know the ranchers could use the water; so we are watching this small system just in case. And after these messages, the winning Arizona Lottery numbers for tonight. Good luck to everyone whom entered." Then the commercials began. A car dealership, a clothing sale at a woman's department store and a few fast food franchise commercials. "Coming up next on local channels will be Wheel of Fortune and speaking of fortunes, tonight's winning lotto numbers are: 6, 10, 38, 41, and 64. If you chose these numbers, congratulations. You will have until Friday morning to turn in your winning ticket. Thank you for watching."

    "WHEEL OF FORTUNE! Have a look at the prizes our contestants could win tonight!" Coingazer turned off the TV. "Nailed it! A shame I am am not eligible for the state lottery."

    Southpaw said, "Possible flooding. How does that change our travel plans tomorrow?"

    Isaac said, "I know Hellhounds hate getting wet so the rain gear we ordered for the pack will get used in case it is still raining when we head out. But I'd rather be in the rain over that shitty frozen ice cream we endured in South Dakota earlier this year."

    Firepaw grinned. "And how!"

    Dragontail smiled. "We are so lucky that you care about us, Isaac. I am not sorry that I gave you a chance to prove yourself in our pack."

    Recordspaw hopped in with a large mail bag and said, "Fan mail, guys. Impy said to give this to you after dinner. Mind you that some of the junk in here covers activities done in South Dakota and may have questions directed at the fakes, so answer these as carefully as possible."

    Firepaw then stepped out of camera shot as he deepened his voice and said, "With a fine meal in their tummies, the pack has retired to the pack den where they are surprised with fan mail from viewers at home. How will our heroes react to this unexpected surprise?" And then he stepped back into the scene and opened the mail sack and starting sorting out mail to those present. "Ooh, lots of stuff... almost reminds me of the Hell Furnaces where we often got to read other people's mail that they threw away."

    Isaac ripped open one of his envelopes and pulled out the letter. "Dear Jackpaw, It must be amazing to get to hang out with a bunch of dogs and do all manner of fun dog things. Will we ever get to see you mount Spiritfang, she seems to like you and I think she might lift her tail for you. Signed Aaron Dennings of Nome Alaska, Navy Base #29635; PS: Mainland US snow is nothing like it is up here. It was funny to see you guys complain about a little snowfall." This prompted some growling from the others. Isaac then turned his gaze toward his own camera imp as he replied, "Dear Naval Cadet Aaron Dennings, Until you have been in South Dakota yourself, never call it a little snowfall. The proving rites would have been completed in one week had it not been for all the ice and snow and other sabotage that we encountered. Due to the restart of the rites, we are in a new location in Arizona and hopefully the snow doesn't follow us or else we may migrate to the South Pacific to get these rites done. Also, I am no longer called Jackpaw since that name was labeled on me by a non-Hellhound demon DOG whom I hope is suffering greatly in the frozen underworld. As for Spiritfang, she lied about her identity and her standing; it was discovered that she was an assassin that was sent along with these nice hounds to make them fail in their rites. Signed, Repairpaw of the Angel Hound Repair Squadron. Mechanical and Reparation specialists." He then settled down and set the letter aside to let someone else go next.

    Dragontail opened his letter next. "Dear Dragontail, For a Hellhound whom originated from a military pack, you sure are lazy. Sleeping on the couch all day long watching TV while your pack mates are busting their chops in training in the hot sun doesn't seem right. With your claim of being in a war and then you act that way just seems way off. I would like to see you do something very militaristic. I'll bet you would be awesome if you could ever get off that couch; Maybe your pack name should have been Couchpaw. Signed, William Rupert Silvercrown the third. PS: I hate writing the number on the end of my name. My mother makes me do it. Can't we kill her?"

    At that moment, Isaac as well as all of the others in the room all muttered, "Lazynose." Isaac then added, "Couchpaw is a good extension to her nickname though."

    Dragontail rose up and looked to his own camera imp as he said, "Dear William, The fake version of me whom lounged on the couch whom we all call Lazynose had been betrothed to another Alpha in another pack and she chose to run away and escape to Earth through the very portal that was being prepared for me. I am the real Dragontail and you will never catch me being that lazy during the proving rites. As for killing a dragon... AS IF! No one in my pack can do that! They would like to think that they could; but we don't need the Kisumes breathing down our necks. As for mothers humiliating us into doing things we hate; they all do that, but they get theirs in the end. Evil Laugh. Keep watching and you will see how awesome I can really be, Signed, High Royal Prince Dragontail Warsurge."

    Isaac then said, "What does your look like Firepaw?"

    Firepaw grinned. "Pretty naughty in truth. The first is from someone I know. I don't want to embarrass them."
    End of Chapter One

    Chapter Two
    The following morning, the Hellhounds and Isaac were in their rain coats made for canines as they headed out through the morning rain. Thank the Infernal that the rain wasn't cold like it had been in South Dakota. The camera Imps were equipped with miniature rain coats and umbrellas. Heading along the highway East of Ridgeview, the Hellhounds proceeded to Cameron where upon, they crossed the four-lane highway cautiously before heading north along Hwy 89 for 15 miles before turning on 160 East where they had to travel 35 miles to Tonalea, Arizona before their cross country trek to Wildcat Peak 5 miles to the Northwest could begin. Following the highway made it easier for avoiding the drainage ditches which were overflowing with run-off waters from the flooding. If they had simply headed off across country, they would have been in dire straights.

    As they arrived at the base of Wildcat Peak, the Camera Imp whom had been following Isaac whispered something to him and showed him something on the map of Arizona. This made Issac groan as he turned to face the other Hellhounds. "Guys. You might want to kick my butt when I tell you this, but according to my Camera Imp, there was a higher mountain just South of Cameron which is closer to home that we could have done. Wildcat Peak is half the size and since I've never been up here before, it only looked bigger on the map. Humphreys Peak is 12,000 feet high and would have been the better choice. In order to get there, we are going to have to backtrack to Cameron and then Head South on 89. I am so sorry."

    Firepaw said, "No problem, I memorized a spot back down there under an overpass and I can open a fire portal back to that location so we can rest before heading South. At least it stopped raining." After a vote was taken, Firepaw opened the fire portal and they all went through it to the space under the overpass just outside of Cameron to set up a temporary camp and rest in preparation South to Humphreys Peak 40 some miles away. Using the Fire Portal cut 3 hours of traveling off of their travel time. It was now noon and they needed to head South about 40 miles to the Mountain just north of Flagstaff. Later when they were to get there, they would find another benefit.

    At three PM, the Hellhounds arrived at the North side of Humphrey's Peak where they saw a single pickup parked which had a sleepover shell covering the pickup bed in the back. Directly out in front of the pickup was a chain gate leading to what the Park Service sign said was the official hiking trail to the summit. Closed during rainy weather. But the gate was obviously open at the moment. Isaac said, "What a benefit, guys. The state park commission put in a hiking trail up the mountain. This sure beats trying to climb slippery slopes like we did in South Dakota."

    Firepaw was sniffing over the pickup. "We need to be careful, guys. The driver of this pickup along with a male friend and a teenage girl are somewhere up that trail."

    Dragontail then said, "The license plates have a sticker which reads Desert View Tours and White Water Rafting. Whomever owns this rig lives right next door to Ridgeview, Firepaw. It could mean a free ride home tonight."

    Coingazer remarked. "Perhaps a mention that such hospitality may not be available for later packs as it seems to be turning out for us."

    Southpaw sniffed the air. "One of the nicer males is carrying a supply of beef jerky. I may wag my tail if he gives me one."

    Isaac said, "There is no crime to be had for appreciating a food offering. I just hope the girl with the males doesn't scream when she sees a pack of hounds wearing rain coats."

    The pack headed up the trail and thanks to the railed trail, they soon easily caught up with the three humans, although they soon saw that the girl was all tied up with her hands behind her back while a male held her from behind with a gun. The other guy was carrying the backpack containing the beef jerky although the backpack had the same sticker on it that the license plate had on it. And there was a patch on the girl's coat jacket which matched the stickers. The males were not advertising the service. They didn't look like nice folk at all. Isaac's eyes lit up without reason, or so one would think. "Guys... I am detecting evil intent coming from these two males. The girl is their victim. She owns the pickup and the beef jerky backpack. One the males has the keys to the vehicle. If we save this girl, then she might give us the lift we need later. Mr. Gun has the keys."

    Firepaw removed his rain coat and laid it aside before he fire teleported up the trail to appear right in front of the human hikers. And then in obvious Hellish English, he spoke, "Going somewhere, Children of God!" Firepaw was laying it on thick and he was still coated in flames which were all over his body.

    Coingazer used his stealth abilities to sneak right up behind the guy with the gun where as he frisked the man and found the keys to the pickup before moving back to permit the others to have their fun.

    As the man with the gun moved the gun to aim at the flaming hound, the young lady lifted her hiking boot and brought it down hard and fast into the man's foot. "You stupid bitch!"

    Isaac rose up on his hind paws and pointed his fore paws directly toward Mr. Gun's back where upon a crack of thunder went off as a lightning bolt hit the man in the back and threw him into his partner just ahead of their group.

    Dragontail rose up and came up behind the young lady... and while using his claws as daggers, he began to slice the ropes off of the lady's wrists. "We're with one of Lord Impy's TV shows, young lady. We're from Ridgeview," said a camera imp. The young lady didn't reply since she was gagged, but she held still for her rescuer. Southpaw darted through the scene and snagged the fallen backpack away from the other man and quickly returned to Isaac's side. "This pack is full of the good stuff along with whatever this green paper is."
    End of Chapter Two


      Chapter Three
      Isaac glanced into the backpack before commenting, "These guys are bank robbers and they captured this young lady to use as a hostage to cover their get-away. They likely brought her up here on the mountain to dispose of her body after which they would have made their get-away." He then looked to his Camera Imp. "Call Impy and have him get the law over to Humphrey's Peak. Although we didn't plan it this way, we are heroes." The Camera Imp made the call immediately and soon there were law enforcement vehicles all over the parking lot the hiking trail. Lord Impy in his business suit was riding the shoulder of the head investigating officer as they made their way up the trail and they soon found all five hounds in rain coats in a semi-circle facing the two robbers laying on the ground with looks that suggested that the devil himself appeared before them. And sitting off to one side feeding beef jerky to the hounds was the untied young lady.

      The head officer soon said, "I know these two men. Aaron Walker and his brother Wilbur Walker; notorious bank robbers wanted in five states. Their last heist occurred in Las Vegas where after robbing a bank they vanished into the Grand Canyon. Are you okay, Miss?"

      The young lady said, "I am Leila Hedley, owner and operator of Desert View Tours and White Water Rafting. I put all of the stolen money back into the bank bags they had been in before these stupid crooks tried to overfill my beef jerky backpack with the loot. One of Impy's camera imps told me that these hounds were from nearby Ridgeview where they were doing a TV show for Lord Impy. I know of Devi-TV networks since my uncle has a subscription. Since these nice hounds saved me from getting murdered by these two, I want to give them a ride home later in my pickup. I don't know why the hounds are on the mountain, but mine is not to question since they saved my life."

      With the police having gathered up the stolen loot and putting the two men into custody under the promise to protect them from the scary Hell Monsters, the police were soon gone from the parking lot. Lord Impy kept Leila company while the hounds resumed their planned outing to the summit. Impy tried to explain the concept of the TV show to the tour guide and how all of the hounds whom saved her were Hellhounds save for the Angel Hound special agent whom they all accepted into their brotherhood. He would not give away that the Angel Hound was once a human whom was now part of their quest. "So you see, this is actually part three of their proving rites. They were originally going to do to Wildcat Peak but when they realized that the peak wasn't high enough, they backtracked to come to Humphrey's Peak instead. Had they not made that decision, there is no telling when anyone would have found your body."

      Leila smiled. "Don't get me wrong, I am grateful for their decision to come here today. I won't bother them while they are doing their proving rites, but I would like to see them again some day. My business sees a fair profit and that one hound really seems to like the beef jerky I buy for my customers. It is a gourmet variety basted in honey-steak sauce and spices."

      Impy looked at the wrapper of one of the jerky sticks. "Oh yes, this variety; a little more pricey, but worth every chew especially to a dog. Devi-TV Networks will reimburse you for any stock my hounds ate from your supplies. The Cardinal Sins show is quite popular. A lot more popular than I thought it would be. The hounds hang out at Freeborn Farm in Ridgeview."

      At the summit, the hounds were blown away by the view. They could see all over the entire area. Not like how it was in South Dakota. And the temperatures and warm breezes made it worth it to come to this peak after all. Soon, Firepaw said, "As much fun as this is, we need to go back down and start the trip back to Ridgeview. It is starting to get hot and sticky wearing these rain coats. A decent bath and a grooming await us back home before one of Recordspaw's masterful dinners."

      It took nearly an hour for the hounds to descend the hiking trail and soon, they were hopping one by one into the back of the pickup truck. Now came benefit number three; Leila had a TV set with satellite antenna in the back. Isaac tuned it in to the local Flagstaff News and Weather Station. The top story was the capture of the Walker Brothers whom had robbed a bank in Nevada and then took a hostage in Desert View before encountering and being caught by a bunch of trained hounds from one of Lord Impy Kisume's TV shows. After the top stories, the weather report was given which thankfully for the hounds called for warm temperatures over the next few days. "Enjoy it while you can, everyone. There is snow in the forecast for next week; at least ours won't be as horrible as the third one that South Dakota is still digging themselves out of."

      Isaac grinned at Firepaw. "The home state got hit by another one. I sure am glad we listened to Gerard and got moved out of there."

      Firepaw grinned back at Isaac as he lick-slurped his muzzle. "I think even the camera imps were getting tired of that shit."

      Several imps murmured from their invisible positions. "And how!"

      Dragontail rose up and he tapped on the back glass of the cab to indicate that the hounds were ready to head home. Impy then had Leila drive the pickup truck up highway 89 and then turn on the familiar 64 West toward Desert View until Impy directed her to turn North along Business 64 through Ridgeview. Getting further directions from Impy, the pickup soon pulled up in front of the Freeborn farm entrance. The hounds and imps all hopped out of the back of the pickup as Lord Impy got out of the vehicle himself. "This farm is owned by Isaac Freeborn, a jack of all trades. The hounds all love him. I permit several of my network animals to live on Isaac's farm. But just so we are on the same level, Ms. Hedley, my animals are not of the normal variety. They can talk when they want to. Anyway, thank you for the lift. My hounds need to get cleaned up before dinner. See you around."

      Leila smiled as she pulled away from the Freeborn farm.

      Impy ushered the hounds into the showering and grooming building as he mentally sent word to Recordspaw that the hounds were back.
      End of Chapter Three