TEAM FORCE – ORIGINS
WEST TWILIGO, YEAR 3230
Six years have passed, and Twiligo still as peaceful as they are known to be – so peaceful, it was as if the tragic events around that duration have never happened. The afternoon skies gave off an amethyst hue instead of the usual light blue that is seen outside Twiligo. Besides the absence of sunlight, the sky still gives a brilliant color above the nocturnal town. It was a great day for one to go out and proceed with their daily activities. One certain group of criminals would believe so, as well.
The underground path near west Twiligo has remained unfound the whole time. The secret base inside was the same as it was – but with minor retouches. One of those said retouches is an extra room, where there lived a small plum porcupine – Viperine, now six years old. She wore a red cap, a black t-shirt with a skull emblem and purple shorts. She wore white fingerless gloves with black spiked cuffs and midnight blue shoes. There is no doubt that this was the same infant who was saved by a group of rogues, who later turned out to be called the Spawns of Nightfall.
As time went on, the young porcupine has spent the entirety of her childhood training her Shadow Dust Arts along with her thieving skills. While it involved a great amount of focus and work – along with episodes of exhaustion, she enjoyed every second of it – as if it was a sort of game for her. She even felt like she had an actual family with her – based on her point of view – and that things couldn’t possibly change that. Today felt like another day for Viperine to go out and do her thing. She can feel it deep in her little core. She jumped out of her bed, grabbed her bag, and exited her bedroom. With a smirk on her face, she was getting to the wooden door until she heard footsteps from behind.
“Where do you think you’re going, Viper?” a masculine voice called from behind, labeling the porcupine by her nickname. Viperine turned to face her leader Shriek the Bat, now eighteen years old. He wore a gray vest, red spiked cuffs, and red boots with gray streaks. He had a maroon symbolic tattoo of sort across the left side of his face. Viperine’s bond with the bat wasn’t as sibling-esque as those with Sabre and Cerin, if at all.
“I was just going to get some goodies, boss. Don’t worry about me!” she responded carelessly.
“I’m not worried,” he uttered, “You’re still not allowed to leave the base without any supervision.”
Viperine responded with some eye rolling, and stated warily, “Why not?? You and Sabre and Cerin got to steal a long time ago, and I can learn as much as you guys can!”
At that moment, Sabre the Hornet and Cerin the Wolf arrived in the main room. Sabre – eighteen years old – wore a pair of mahogany goggles; along with an attire of a medium blue closed vest, black gloves with light gray cuffs, and medium blue shoes with white trim. His black hair was tied in a ponytail. Cerin – sixteen years old – wore a gold yellow neckerchief, light blue cuffs, and golden yellow boots with light blue trim. He has two golden piercings on his right ear.
“That may be true, Viper. You have been learning the basics of the Shadow Dust Arts like it’s nothing, but…” Sabre started until a certain dark red wolf interrupted him.
“…But you just need to work more on your stealing,” Cerin finished. He suddenly received a bump on the left arm from the hornet for his interference. “Ow!! What?! I was just sayin’…” he responded while rubbing his arm.
Viperine just stood there, mouth agape. “But… but I was able to pass every test on my Shadow Dust Arts and my thieving! I can do anything you guys can! You said so yourselves!” she whined, defending herself.
Sabre and Cerin looked away in awkward guilt. Shriek, however, simply rolled his eyes and snorted. He took a seat on a nearby couch and said, “Like Cerin said, you need to work more on your thieving skills. You’re still a kid, and unless you stop treating your training sessions like child’s play, you’ll just show us that you don’t have what it takes to be a true thief.”
Viperine crossed her arms and pouted. “Well, since you’re the boss, why don’t you start deciding on my ‘training’ except just standing and frowning all day??” she spat. This caused Shriek to get up from the couch and come towards her, an irked look on his face.
“If you think talking to me in that tone will get you anywhere, you thought wrong…” Shriek gritted his teeth, leering at her threateningly. Before anything happened, Cerin stepped up to face his leader.
“Hey, boss! Why don’t we bring her to southeast Twiligo? That side isn’t as crowded as the rest, so we can at least do Viper a favor by training her Shadow Dust Arts in wherever there’s more space and privacy. Then maybe when she’s done with all of that, she’ll be able to use her skills like they’re nothing, and become a great thief in the end,” he said.
Sabre got to Cerin’s side, showing that he actually supported his friend’s idea. Viperine started giving Shriek a pouty face. Shriek looked away from the group crossing his arms and sneering moments before giving in. “Fine…” he sighed.
A big smile formed on Viperine’s face and she began to jump in place, raising her fists and cheering. During that, however, Shriek suddenly grabbed Cerin by his neckerchief and muttered to him bitterly, “This better do me some good…” He roughly let go of the wolf and walked out to the underground path.
The Spawns of Nightfall have teleported from their underground path in west Twiligo onto one of the buildings in southeast Twiligo. It is more uninhabited than the other directions in this obscure town: in this location were very flat grasslands, albeit a few large boulders and mountains surrounding the lush grounds. The sky gave off a dull hue of wisteria. Shriek stood in front of the scenery and observed it, while Viperine, Sabre, Cerin stood behind the bat.
“Alright, we’re here,” he said, “Viper, come forward.”
Viperine paced her way towards where her leader was standing. If it wasn’t obvious for the others, the young porcupine was very excited for this day. While eager, she waited for a command as much as she could.
Shriek started explaining what has yet to come to the porcupine, “Listen closely, ‘cause I’m not going to repeat myself afterwards…” Shriek collectedly started. “We will mainly use these grasslands to test on your Shadow Dust Arts. You’ll begin your training session by testing your flight speed and maneuver; along with that will come target practice, shadow-melding, and combat. After all of that, we will test your current thieving skills in our next destination – which you’ll have yet to see for yourself. Everything that gets thrown at you is so you fully master the Shadow Dust Arts and become a real thief.” He finished.
Viperine responded by raising her hand.
“What is it?” Shriek asked, a great amount of impatience in his tone of voice.
“What if I get tired during my training??” Viperine asked. It was clear that she felt overwhelmed by her given tasks.
“You’re young, you’ll live,” the bat answered pitilessly before continuing. “You ready for this?” he asked.
“Ready!” the porcupine exclaimed, spreading a pair of maroon wings.
“Then you may begin…” Shriek announced.
At that moment, Viperine rose off the straight to the air. She began by performing several air flips and turns. Unbeknownst to her, Shriek came up with a strategy. “You two,” the bat addressed to Sabre and Cerin, “Follow my lead.” He flew up to the air, with both acquaintances beside him. Eventually, they caught up with Viperine, much to the porcupine’s surprise.
“What are you guys doing?! I thought you want me to do this myself!” she whined.
“This is so we’ll be able to keep a close eye on you, in case you get carried away like usual!” Shriek coldly replied.
Viperine looked back to Sabre and Cerin – both of them giving a look of unease. I can never do what I want, she thought to herself, defeated. However, she increased her speed a little more, but not to the point of exhaustion.
Shriek began to instruct the porcupine. “Surprising, your flight speed has boosted more than I thought. First step of training is already complete, on to step two,” he said, referring to the upcoming group of boulders.
Viperine did as she was told: a dark purple aura began to form around both of her hands. As she was getting closer to one of the boulders in front of her, she shot beams of dark energy at that boulder – this demolished it into pieces. She repeated the same action on the other boulders, each shot being taken in seconds. After that, she continued to fly further until she reached a shadowed corner between two mountain walls. After that, she made a smooth landing on the grassland, with the others following suit.
Moving on to step three…” he said, as a bronze aura suddenly appeared in his hands. Sabre and Cerin glanced at each other with worried expressions.
“Aw, c’mon! I’m getting tired!” Viperine shouted.
“You’ll have time to rest later. We begin combat training… NOW!” he called out. Out of nowhere, he shot a burst of dark energy towards Viperine. She dodged the blast by quickly gliding aside.
“Sabre, Cerin,” Shriek called out. “You will join me.” Sabre and Cerin soon alongside their leader, though not without some reluctance. All three teenagers formed their individual dark energy. Viperine, still flabbergasted by the previous shot, regained her composure and mirrored the same action. The Spawns of Nightfall shot their dark energy at the porcupine, and she dodged the triple attack by flying towards the sky at great speed. Once she reached a suitable height, she held up both hands and created orbs of dark energy with dark purple aura. She then shot numerous blasts of dark energy at the teenagers. While they caught by surprise, Viperine flew around to create a distraction. This has continued for what may be awhile.
Hours have passed since Viperine’s training session. It was late afternoon, and all four members of the Spawns of Nightfall were resting on the grassland. Shriek flew from a nearby boulder and walked to Viperine, who had just woke up from a nap. “We’re done with Shadow Dust Arts training.” Shriek said.
Finally, Viperine thought happily, but groggily, to herself.
“Don’t think you’re completely off the hook yet. There’s still more training to do. Regardless of all that, you surprisingly did better than previous times.” he said casually. “Now that Shadow Dust is out of the way, let’s focus on the more challenging part.” And just like that, the Spawns of Nightfall teleported to their next location of interest.
The Spawns of Nightfall have made it to their destination, though onto a distant sidewalk. It was more urban than the other divisions of Twiligo: tall, abstract-shaped buildings stood around the streets. A number of citizens were roaming around the city, whether it is through flying, walking, or driving. There are also thicker shadows behind the buildings, serving as a possible advantage for the young rogues.
“So this is north Twiligo??” Viperine asked while gawking at the city. “This looks awesome!”
“Sure is,” Sabre casually replied, patting Viperine’s head. “Unlike the rest of Twiligo, this region is more filled with life. Plus, it has more goods than even west Twiligo.”
“It’s very different from the last time we got here…” Cerin stated, observing the scene bafflingly.
“Focus, guys!” Shriek yelled. “We are here to train Viperine on thieving, not to go sightseeing.” He looked at the city for a moment, until he saw what appeared to be a huge bank. “Ahhh, perfect…” he mumbled to himself, grinning. Shriek regained his somber expression and turned back to the group. “Follow my lead,” he said, and flew towards the bank. The Spawns of Nightfall, baffled, decided to obey their leader. They reached the building that was just across the bank.
“The bank, boss? Don’t you think we should train Viper somewhere less… dangerous??” Sabre asked in a concerned tone.
Before Shriek could respond, Viperine came up excitedly. “Are you kidding?? This will be epic!” she shouted loud enough to be heard. Shriek quickly covered the porcupine’s mouth.
“It will be, now shut it!” he scolded, gritting his teeth in frustration. He released her and turned to the bank. “In that bank, you’ll have to use your Shadow Dust Arts to your advantage. Not only be clever with it, but also quick. So the last thing we need is anymore-!” Before Shriek could finish, Viperine dashed her way towards the bank, much to the bat’s irritation. “That pea-brained runt!” Shriek muttered. The Spawns of Nightfall soon pursued the porcupine via their shadow-melding.
Viperine entered the bank through shadow-melding as well, and found herself in one of the bank’s halls. Though enthusiastic, she regained her concentration and snuck her way. The hall’s lights were actually dimmed; this served as a great advantage for the young porcupine. She used her shadow-melding once more throughout the hallway until she found what she was looking for: the bank’s main vault. Filled with excitement, she crept through the gate (which was carelessly left open), pulled out a sack from her cap and started grabbing as much cash as her small arms could. Unbeknownst to her, however, there was a security camera inside the vault, recording her every move. After getting what she wanted, she picked up the full sack and dragged her way towards the gate. As she got out of the vault, however, she felt a handgrip at her arm and faced a seething bat. This didn’t faze her, surprisingly.
“Hey boss, I snuck in like you wanted me to! And look!” Viperine pulled up her sack of cash, a smile on her face. “I got some us some goods!”
Before Shriek could say anything, a trio of security guards approached them. “What are you kids doing in front of the vault??” One of them asked; that was where he noticed a full sack next to Viperine.
Just before anyone could respond, Shriek grabbed Viperine’s sack and threw it towards the security guards, much to the porcupine’s dismay. While the guards were down, the Spawns of Nightfall flew past them through the hallway. Once they left, the leading guard pulled out his handheld transceiver and called for support. As the Spawns of Nightfall reached the end of the hallway, another group of security guards surrounded the thieves.
A battle has started with Shriek throwing off some of the guards with his sonic screech. As Sabre and Cerin followed suit, Viperine, was just scared stiff. This was to the point where she was actually trying to fly from the scene; however, due to her severe training and constant shadow-melding, she found herself slowing down. Shriek noticed this, much to his annoyance, and flew towards Viperine. He let out another screech at the approaching security guards.
“Sabre, Cerin!” Shriek called out while holding Viperine, “We’re ditching this place!”
Shortly, they rushed to the exit, only to find it was locked. With no other option left, the Spawns of Nightfall decided to teleport from the bank, thus leaving the guards to start searching around the city. In the meantime, the group managed to ascend onto the rocky hills that were a good distance from North Twiligo. There was an awkward moment of silence between the thieves.
“Uhh, boss?” Viperine asked, actually growing nervous. “H-how I did?”
“How you did??” Shriek repeated, seething in anger. “I’ll tell you how you did! You. Were. TERRIBLE!!” he began shouting as the scared porcupine. “The ONE time I told you to stay back, you went and got us busted!! You will NEVER be one of us if you keep treating this like a frickin’ game!!”
“Boss, it was an accident! She didn’t mean to-!” Cerin yelled until he found himself face-to-face with Shriek, who had both wings spread as a sign of intimidation.
“This is the last time I will listen to you and your stupid ideas!” He yelled at the frightened wolf. He then turned to Viperine and threatened her, “Don’t ruin everything for us again, or I will take you out as well…” He flew off to the deep purple sky.
After seconds of awkward silence, Sabre and Cerin begrudgingly flew as well, with Viperine following from behind. She flipped her cap over her eyes, trying to hide shedding tears.