Tantalus was already buzzed and with another half bottle of liquor in his hand as he combed through the crowded nightclub looking for someone to hit on. There were so many sexy men and women around, but none of them had that spark, that special something that elevated a person from simply attractive to drop dead sexy.
He knew he’d find it in someone here tonight though, he could feel it. He kept looking for someone who would catch his attention, and his patience and diligence were eventually rewarded when he spied a beautiful young androgynous wolf leaning against one of the bars of the club.
The wolf, coated in golden brown fur with long straight blonde hair like a field of marigolds, was dressed like a classic gentleman but the features of their face were just feminine enough that they could pass for either gender. Tantalus’ interest was piqued; the gender of this fine specimen was irrelevant to him, they were stunning either way.
“Hello, gorgeous.” Tantalus walked up to the wolf and said. Despite how much alcohol was in Tantalus’ system, turning on his allure was simply instinct by this point and he could still come across as a charmer even when falling down drunk if he was properly motivated. “How come a fine young thing like yourself isn’t out there dancing and having a good time?”
“Who says I’m not having a good time?” The wolf winked at Tantalus coyly. “Just watching all these people, so innocent and at peace in this moment…” something in the wolf’s eyes gleamed, it was as if they went to another place for a moment. “It really is magical, don’t you think?”
“It’s enchanting, much like your beauty.” Tantalus returned the wolf’s wink. “May I ask for your name? Mine is Tantalus.” Tantalus held his free hand out for the dapper canine to shake.
“Zelos is mine.” Zelos heartily reciprocated Tantalus’ offer to shake hands. “You got a lot of guts to just walk up to a stranger and start making passes on ‘em. I like it.” The wolf’s smile was as radiant as their amber colored eyes and Tantalus was already thinking of many creative ways to keep them smiling.
“Like you’re one to talk, Zelos.” A soft feminine voice spoke from behind Zelos. Tantalus looked past them to see another wolf girl, with chocolate brown fur and silver blonde hair, about two or three heads shorter than Zelos but with a large chest that was unmistakably feminine.
“This doesn’t seem like a good place for kids, does it?” Tantalus jokingly said to Zelos. He could tell that this girl was several years younger than the golden furred wolf, and if he were a betting man Tantalus would have wagered she was no older than thirteen or fourteen, despite what her body shape would suggest.
“She may be young, but Bia could kick any person in here’s ass.” Zelos said with a bright, cocky grin, patting their companion on the shoulder.
“Stop, Zelos.” She said quietly, tightly gripping a glass of milk in front of her. “You’re embarrassing me.”
“Sorry, sis.” Zelos ruffled their own hair nervously, taking off their fedora to do so. Zelos returned their attention to Tantalus, who was taken off-guard and continued to be rather perturbed by the child’s presence. “Anyhoo, we were working a case around here, but now we’re off duty so we’re tryin’ to relax ‘til our boss gets here.”
“You were ‘working a case’?” Tantalus said dismally, fully aware of what this increasingly less attractive wolf’s occupation was before they told him.
Zelos pulled out a silver pocket watch with a gold emblem of a lion and a wolf on it. The watch was unmistakably a symbol of the Crusaders, the Silver City’s super police, and it indicated that whoever held it was a member. The Crusaders dealt with crimes that were above normal law enforcement’s capabilities to handle, and Tantalus had never met one that he could even stomach.
“Little far from home, aren’t you?” Tantalus said with a mock smile, doing an admirable job to hide his sudden disgust at the person standing before him. The Crusaders operated in Silver City, the largest city on the continent of Acheron, which was quite a ways north of this small town.
“We’re working on an outreach program.” Zelos said casually, sipping on a glass of wine.
“Still… isn’t the Silver City two States north of here?” Tantalus asked as if Zelos could have given him an answer that would satisfy him.
“Like I said…” Zelos’ narrowed eyes shined with a dark cunning. “Outreach program.” They closed their eyes and smiled cheerily. “If we stayed within our border States, it wouldn’t be much of an outreach, it’d practically just be an inreach… or something.”
“Brother, are you sure you haven’t had too much to drink?” Bia said bemusedly, tugging childishly on Zelos’ arm.
Zelos drank the rest of their wine glass in a single gulping sip before replying to their sister. “Relax, Bi. Your brother knowzzzzzz how to drink.” Zelos said in a mock drunken slur before giving their sister two pats on the head, which she did not appreciate if her disgruntled look was any indication. The Crusader then turned their attention back to Tantalus, who chimed in before they could resume the conversation.
“Well I gotta go get refilled.” Tantalus said while weakly shaking his liquor bottle back and forth.
“Alright, just be sure to drink responsibly.” Zelos raised their empty wine glass as Tantalus departed.
“Or else you’ll have to arrest me, right?” Tantalus said with a dry smile on his face.
“Ooh yeah, I’ll have to break out the handcuffs.” Zelos winked at Tantalus, the pink haired canine almost wanting to let go of his hate and disgust at the wolf’s occupation in order to return the display of friendly flirtatiousness, but the Crusaders had dug their swords too deep into his skin for him to forgive any of them.
Tantalus gave the best humoring laugh he could muster to Zelos before walking away from them and their sister, waiting until he was sure he was safely out of their eyeshot before clenching his fists in anger.
“Crusaders? Here?” Tantalus thought as he slammed the bottle of liquor onto a bartender’s counter and silently demanded a refill with his harsh glare. “Why? Haven’t they caused enough problems in their own goddamn city?!“
Tantalus snatched the forty ounce bottle out of the timid bartender’s hands and drank nearly a third of it in one gulp, slamming it on the counter in rage.
“And that girl…” Tantalus growled as he felt the toxins of anger building in his body. “She’s barely more than a child, how the hell can they justify making her fight like that?” Tantalus had seen the types of crimes the Crusaders responded to firsthand; few would argue that those horrid scenes were no place for children.
Tantalus took another furious sip from his liquor bottle, covering his mouth and chest with spilled brown liquid as his vision was starting to blur. He didn’t care; he was going to drink until the memories those two wolves brought up in him went away.
He would drink until he was up to his ears in liquor, because maybe then he could drown out the screams.