"Sniff sniff, sniff sniff," Ranka went as she stopped yet again to catch the scent in the air.
They had been running for the past few minutes trying to follow the culprits. So far, they had managed to run only halfway across the massive campus in search of the mystery fur.
"Need another taste?" Jin asked her, holding up the small bundle of fur in his hand. She shook her head, then went off again, apparently rediscovering the path.
This went on for quite a while, occasionally stopping to find the faint scent again and returning to the chase. At long last, they stopped in front of a rather small building, no larger than a shed.
"It's strong, food must be here!" Ranka said happily, wagging her tail and smiling up at Jin.
"Good job Ranka." He praised her, hoping to finish this search as soon as possible.
His mind was still drifting towards his feelings that he had long since thought had been suppressed. She jumped up and began to hug him tightly, nuzzling right up his sides.
"What are you doing, get off me!" he yelled out as he tried to push Ranka off himself. She immediately let go and looked up and him smiling. "You said my name!" she squealed, positively delighted. "Not a dog or stupid wolf, but you said my real name!"
"Wait, I did? Damn it, what was I thinking?" Jin cursed himself. "Only because you did a good job." He tried to brush it off.
"And I never did a good job until today?" Ranka asked innocently with a sweet tone.
"Correct," he replied harshly, causing her to pout. "Now let's wait for the teachers to came and then we-"
Ranka opened the door and went inside before he could finish. He swore and made a dash after her. You see, under normal circumstances, he would have let Ranka go on her own to deal with any other creature.
But in this case, with the fall weather, the large brown fur they found and the massive quantity of food that was stolen, Jin had suspected that they were dealing with a very powerful animal, one that they had encountered before. The mighty –
"Bears!" Ranka whispered and Jin caught up to her. The small shack had led to an underground bunker with spacious rooms and hallways that were too dark for normal humans to see in, but just fine for the wolf.
In those rooms, they saw groups of grizzly bears huddled around. Looking closely, Jin saw that each group had a couple bears with a food box in each group. They were gorging on the food that they had stolen, anything that they had found.
"It's because they hibernate," he whispered to Ranka, pulling her closer by pulling her arm.
"The grizzlies need the calories for the winter when they sleep and eat nothing until March."
"Oooohh!" Ranka whispered back, fascinated by this tidbit.
Still grasping her arm, Jin slowly began to walk to the door. "Now will go back and let the teachers handle it." He said.
Ranka nodded, responding bitterly, "Only because we can't take all of them. For now." She then noticed that Jin was holding her by the forearm and suddenly all her feelings of bitterness vanished. Maybe they shouldn't leave so quickly, they should slowly take their time creeping out the doo -
"I don't think so."
The door in front of them slammed shut and three bears appeared in front of them. Standing menacingly, they folded their arms and began to walk towards the pair. Ranka immediately stood in front of Jin, baring her fangs while on all fours.
"You stole all this food when we were going to have a racing day, what did you expect no one to try and find it?" Jin said. He tried to maintain a calm demeanor, but the sight of the three bears made him slightly nervous.
Taking off his backpack, he came prepared. As they came closer, he pulled out his can of bear spray and pointed at them. "Now if you let us go, I won't – huh?!" he exclaimed at the bears placed on gas masks.
"We remember you from back at the academy, you didn't think that we would come unprepared for this school." The lead bear sounded muffled through his gas mask.
"Damn it, now what?" Jin thought as the other bears started to come up behind them. Luckily, they had not encountered Jin and had no convenient gasmasks with them. "There's still so many of them and the ones in the front I can't handle!"
"Get away from Jin!" Ranka yelled as leaped towards the three. "Get back!" Jin yelled out, remembering how she couldn't handle even three bears when they met on their first school day at Seton Academy, much less a whole den of them.
As he watched, Ranka managed to tackle the main bear head-on, landing her head squarely in his massive belly and knocking him over. Turning, she went for the one on the left and dodged his attacks, landing a few hits and avoiding as many of his wild swings as she could.
"Huh. She really grew stronger as well as taller." Jin admired. He turned and sprayed the rear bears with his spray, catching them by surprise. Falling back a few feet, he stopped and sprayed, repeating this step and getting closer to the door.
After the fourth round, he ran out of the spray. Throwing the can down, he made a dash to the door and was about to open it when a large paw grabbed his pack back and threw him back, smashing his head and back against the concrete wall.
He swore that he saw stars as his vision blurred a little bit. It was just enough that he could see that the bear was about to take another swipe at him.
The bear was suddenly shoved to the side as Ranka barreled in and caused him to take a tumble down.
"Get away from him!" She yelled, and Jin swore that there was a bright golden aura around her as she growled and prepared to launch again at the bear.
The main bear came up from behind and swatted her aside, landing her right at Jin's chest and knocking the wind out of him. The three bears gathered around; their fists balled up. "We were only going to play around, but now, playtime's over."
The lead bear growled, raising his paw as he prepared to strike down upon the pair. Seeing no way that they could get out, Jin hugged Ranka as he braced himself for the pain.
Flipping over, he made his back face the bears and covered Ranka with his body, trying to protect her. Ranka whined as she returned the hug, afraid of what was going to happen.