Some hours later, they landed in the dry grasslands of Brazil, the Cerrado. As soon as they touched the ground, the door opened and Martin ran outside.
"Come on, Aviva! We have to start your training and we don't have much time. And don't forget your CPS and your Power Discs. But you'll only need the animals that are living here."
"Yeah, yeah I'm coming! I only have to put on my gloves…finished." She said, following him to a big rock.
"OK, first, we have to find an animal of the grasslands here. But because we didn't come here very often, I think we don't have the Discs that are exactly right, so we'll have to try to activate with only a relative of the animals."
"Is that even possible? I mean, the Discs have to be activated with the DNA that is already programmed on it, and I don't know what will happen if you activate with another kind of DNA." She replied, crossing her arms in front of her chest.
"Yeah, but I know." Martin answered, looking smug. "It works, but not for a long time. Well, when we tried to activate Gharial Powers by touching a crocodile, it worked, but the suit deactivated itself after some time. So, we'll have to get through your training fast!"
"Comprendo! Let's go, then!" she screamed, already running away to look for an animal.
"Hey! Wait for me!" He screamed back, running after her.
He quickly caught up, and after two minutes running beside her, he noticed a mud puddle that was coming up.
When they were only a couple of metres away, he looked at her with a mischievous smile.
"Why are you looking at me like that?" she asked, before she also noticed the puddle. "Oh, no, you don't…" but it was too late. He already pushed here inside.
"Not funny!" she yelled at him angrily, covered in mud. "You're lucky I made the suits mud-proof, or you'd have to help me cleaning them right now!"
He didn't listen to her, he was too busy cracking up at her sight.
"Hahaha! You should have seen yourself! It looked like you were about to fall in a thorn bush. I'll never forget that look on your face!"
He gasped for air, but before he could continue laughing, she had grabbed his hand and pulled him inside, too. Now she was the one laughing.
For some time, they just sat in there, splashing mud at each other and laughing. But then, she stood up again.
"Oh, no! We'll have to look for animals now, or it'll be too late!"
"I think we don't have to. Look, who has been watching us all the time!" He moved aside, revealing something that looked like a young wild boar, covered in mud.
"Awww, how cute! Is that a collared peccary?"
"Yes, yes it is. Great, now we don't have to look for one, we can go with young Javelina at once." He answered.
"Already naming her? And where did you get that one from?"
"It's another name for the collared peccary. I think it's because of these long tusks. Did you notice how sharp they are?" he asked, almost touching the top of them. "They get sharper every time the animal opens its mouth, so that it can defend itself from predators, like the maned wolf, the cougar, or the jaguar. Just hold still a little longer, so I can activate…"
But before he could touch her, she ran away.
"Hey, wait! Please, don't run away, I didn't want to scare you. I just…" But before he could finish his sentence, Aviva tapped his arm.
"Err…MK, I don't believe she was scared of you…I think she ran away from HIM!" she screamed.
Martin turned around. Behind them stood a big skinny cougar that was ready to pounce.
"Oh no. AVIVA! RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!" he screamed, quickly getting up and running away.
"Right by your side, Martin! But I thought cougars didn't attack humans." She gasped, trying to run away from the predator. "But still, this one follows us!"
"Yeah, usually, they stick with other animals, like sheep, deer, or even horses, but I think that one didn't eat for days, and a starving carnivore would attack absolutely anything! Even humans, so keep running!"
They tried to run faster, but the cat, being a fast runner with a top speed of 40 mph, quickly caught up, even if they had a big head start.
"OK, Aviva, what would you do now?" Martin asked, still trying to outrun the hunter.
"Do you really think we have time for that?" she shouted angrily. "We are about to be EATEN by a hungry puma, if you didn't realize!"
"Yes, but that is what creature adventuring is about. Go Aviva, find the right Creature Power!" he cheered.
"You're right." But she couldn't think clearly, because of the threat behind them.
When it was only a few yards away, she suddenly saw an eagle flying over them. Instantly, she pulled out the Eagle Power Disc, put it into the reader, and whistled. The raptor dived down, only to see that there was no food nearby, but before he could fly up again, Aviva touched his feathers.
"Activate Eagle Powers" she screamed, and pressed the button.
After the purple glow was gone, she had already taken off with her new eagle wings, escaping the predator.
But she didn't see Martin with her. He didn't activate his Creature Power Suit with Eagle Powers, so he had to be still on the ground.
Frenetically, she searched for him, afraid that he had already been caught by the chasing puma.
But just before she could dive down to look, she was blinded by a powerful blue glow.
After it faded, she saw the cougar backing up before a giant, blue hog, which attacked the cat with his sharp tusks.
"Ha! That suit is working just fine. Take that, puma!" Martin yelled, jumping forward. He tried to make the puma run away, but it was too hungry to let him leave. So it attacked him again and raised its paw, ready to strike.
Aviva knew that only one blow with these claws could injure him seriously, and decided to interfere.
She dived down, pulled up again just above the attacker, and dug her talons into its arm. Instantly, it backed up, growling, and tried to slash her wing, but she quickly flew out of reach.
Then, when she saw that it tried to attack Martin again, she flew over to him, and lifted him up into the air.
"Sorry puma, but I can't let you eat either one of us. You'll have to find something else!" she said, starting to fly back to the Tortuga.
The cat hissed, and tried to reach for them, but they were too high up. So it gave up, and kept looking for different prey.
When it was out of sight, she landed again, Martin being too heavy for her to fly with for a longer time. She let go of him, and they both deactivated.
"Phew, that was a close one." Martin wiped his brow. "Thanks for saving me. Good idea, the eagle. I thought of it myself, but I wanted to try this amazing defence! Even though I wasn’t able to defeat the cougar."
"Yeah, even with that Power, the cougar was too strong." Then, her Creature pod started to beep.
When she answered the call, she could see Koki's worried face on the monitor.
"Oh my god, guys, is everything OK? We saw that you were chased by a cougar, but then, the communication was suddenly cut off!"
"Yeah, I'm fine, thanks to Aviva. She just saved me from being transformed into minced Krattmeat. But anyway, Koki, your Disc works great!" he said, dusting himself off.
"Really? Cool! "Jimmy shouted in admiration, pushing Koki aside. "How did you do it? "
"Well, I activated Eagle Powers, and pulled Martin out of there." She answered, her cheeks reddening.
"You mustn't forget that you attacked the cougar when he was ready to strike!" Martin added, really proud of her.
"Well, I didn't actually attack it…" she started, blushing even more.
"Come on, Aviva, don't be shy! That was the best dodge I've ever seen, and I've seen plenty. You totally deserve it to be a Creature adventurer!"
"Really? Do you mean it?" She asked and looked at him in disbelief.
"Yes, I do. I really don't know why it didn't work that time with the flying fish, but here, you were incredible!" he took her hands, and looked her into the eyes. "Aviva, I officially choose you as my new partner. But first, you'll have to swear. "
"Swear?" she wanted to ask, but he made her stop.
"Aviva Corcovado. Do you swear that you will help every creature that needs you? "
"Do you swear that you will protect them from harm, and will never harm them yourself?"
"And do you swear that you will protect your teammates and friends? That you will stand beside them when they need you? That you'll give them your advice when they need it? And that you will save them, even if it…costs your life? "He said, his voice almost breaking at the end.
"I swear!" she answered, tears started to dwell in her eyes as she thought of Chris' sacrifice to save his brother.
"Then, from this day hence, you will be an official Creature adventurer. I honour your courage, wisdom and loyalty, and hope you will be a real creature friend, as Chris has been one. " He hugged her, and gave her Chris' old Disc holder.
"Thank you." She wiped her eyes. "I…I hope I'll be able to follow in his footsteps."
"You'll do great. I'm sure about it. Even if you can't replace my brother, I'm happy to have a great person like you by my side, to help me to save the creatures." He let go of her.
All the time, Jimmy and Koki just stood there and watched.
"You don't happen to have a tissue, do you?" He asked her, with tears in his eyes.
"No. If I had one, I would have used it by now." She answered, her tears already flowing down her cheeks.
On the way back, Aviva tugged at Martin's sweater.
"Can I ask you one question?" She said, looking at him.
"Of course, go ahead."
"Well, I wondered, who did you swear to?"
"Well, we didn't swear to someone specifically. We swore that to each other when we were kids, and started to take care of animals. It was just for fun that time, but we made that swear again when we came together as a team, and it was then that we added the last part. I thought it would be a good thing for you, because you didn't enter the team as a Creature Adventurer, but I think it was mainly for myself, so that I would really be able to think of you as my partner." He told her, but he was sad when he talked about Chris.
"I can understand that you wanted to have a symbolic relationship with me, by making me swear the same things you did. Thank you for being so honest." She comforted him, and took his hand, intertwining her fingers with his'.
At the same time, somewhere in a dark forest.
He walked down the narrow path between the trees, checking the air every two seconds. Yes, he was still going the right way, still following that lone fawn which lost its mother in the big fire, how everybody in his pack called that catastrophe that took the life of a member of his pack and chased most of the prey away. Every single bit was now important.
The careless fawn stopped at a well, and bent down to drink. That was the moment he was waiting for.
He slowly stepped closer, his paws not making a single sound on the ground covered with leaves. But he must have made some sound, because the fawn looked up and around.
Instantly, he froze. Luckily, he wasn't easy to spot, with his brown fur and the broad, dark grey stripe from between his ears to the end of his tail, so the fawn got down to drink again.
This time, he was more careful, slowly crawling up to his prey. He was about to pounce, when suddenly, he saw a picture of a man in blue in his head.
He didn't know who that man was, and for one second he was so panicked he backed up, revealing his position to the drinking fawn. It noticed him, and ran away.
Instantly, he shook his head to get rid of that picture, and with an angry howl he sprinted after it.
He couldn't run fast enough to catch up again, but when he tried to run faster, he didn't notice the trap on the ground. He stepped on it, and at once, the strong iron jaws closed, breaking his shin bone and trapping his foot.
He let go a howl of pain and tried to free himself, but it was too strong.
Then, exhausted from his fight against the trap, he tried to ignore the incredible pain and laid his head on his healthy leg, sadly thinking about his pack. If he wasn't there to lead them, who else would?
But when he thought that, he suddenly had another picture in his head: a picture of the mechanism that would open the trap! It was complicated, but somehow, he managed to open it, finally freeing his leg.
He inspected his wound, noticing that it was very deep, but that no very important veins had been damaged. He tried to walk, but it was so painful he broke down again, growling.
With only his will power still forcing him to go on, he carefully stood up and made one step after the other, slowly making his way back.
Some days later, back with the team in the Brazilian Jungle:
Martin and Aviva finally came back to the Tortuga, after they had been watching the giant ant-eater for the whole day.
"Incredible! Did you see his tongue? It was at least 24 inches long, that's double the length of his skull! And he was able to move it in and out his mouth three times in one second? Compared with that length, it's incredibly fast!" Martin was so excited, he spoke so fast that almost no one could understand him.
"Yeah! And did you see these claws? Even the jaguar thought twice about it before it attacked him. I'm so happy we were able to try these Powers too! Koki did a great job with programming the Ant-eater Power Discs." Aviva's eyes sparkled with excitement, as she entered the control room.
"Thanks guys. This time, I really thought I would screw up, especially with that strange jaw I had to program onto the Disc. But your training was really good, Aviva! Without it, I'm sure I would have screwed up a long time ago. So, tell me everything that happened. We missed the most interesting parts." Koki walked over, and they started telling her about their adventure.
Meanwhile, Jimmy looked for other creatures that would need their help. Suddenly, he saw the alarm button glowing red.
"Hey guys, a creature needs us right now!" he cried.
Instantly, the others rushed over.
"What is it?" Martin asked.
"I don't know, the signal is not good enough. But we have to go and help it, whatever it is!" He ran into the cockpit, started the engines and took off.
Sometime later, they landed in a clearing inside a thick forest. Martin and Aviva jumped out and started running towards the coordinates Jimmy gave them.
"We're getting closer! I think it is just behind these bushes." The girl in purple cried.
But when they both got through, Martin froze.
On a cliff that started to crumble laid the creature which needed their help. But he didn't stop because of the situation that animal was in, he did it because of the creature itself.
He stared at it, and suddenly, a feeling he did never feel before started to dwell inside of him: hatred!
The creature that was lying on the cliff was…a wolf with brown fur and a dark grey stripe on its back!