In the chill of the evening, two unlikely creatures roamed side by side through fog and mist, stepping and sloshing through heavy water deposits and low areas as they went along. Each retained a stoic distance between them, and remained on their own territorial boundaries as they paced toward the east, where the herds were known to gather during the warmer months. The night was silent, as it had been since the sun waned and left the world in the charge of the moon, which now bathed the lands in a ghostly light, pale blue and eerily bright.
The Wolf, Eight strode along side an old female пантера - a Cougar from the southern territories. They exchanged words, but they did so in the fashion that she picked, quick and curt. An answer for a Вопрос followed quickly by another question. There was little time to think или falter или leave a comfortable silence but this style of communication was part of her personality, and it matched the situation as well.
Only ten минуты prior, Both she and Eight were keyed in to information that the lands the львица inhabited were subject to being claimed by this pack. He didn't know how much truth was in what Stern had said, it could have been an act of desperation, but this didn't seem like a Переместить that Stern would make. Regardless, this was disappointing for Eight to hear, not to mention the uncomfort that cropped up during his current conversational efforts. He imagined that his female compatriot didn't enjoy the idea at all, either, but she had to see some form of reason или they wouldn't be speaking still.
"I can't tell Ты if any of what Stern сказал(-а) was true." Eight reiterated a point he was now currently trying to make clear to the lioness, "But in that, I can't really tell Ты if it ain't."
The Cougar nodded, keeping her eyes on the soft ground in front of her, in thought.
"Whether it is или isn't, Its not a chance I'm willing to take." She assured him, "I've fought my whole life to obtain what little I have. I don't intend on dying for it. And if I must, I'll take as many of Ты wild mutts with me as I can." She grinned at the prospect. Eight noticed, his ears perked up, though he wasn't sure if she were joking.
"Well, just don't start with me, here, tonight." Eight smiled to her, trying to test her humor.
She smiled back, ensuring him that she was at least in good spirits, if not a little concerned.
"No, young pup, I like Ты well enough." She stopped and Eight followed suit, the two stood there for a moment and she continued, "Now, your companion, on the other hand..."
"Yeah... he's my hero." Eight сказал(-а) dryly and gritted his teeth, pretending to be еще angry than he was before smiling again and rubbing the back of his head.
The Cougar chuckled lightly, "I imagine so..."
The two stood for a moment, letting the world keep moving, the moon now on its way to the final length of its nightly watch over the earth.
Her eyes glowed in the feint light that filtered through the airborne water particles, an eerie, yellow glow, her pupils were invisible through the reflected light as she looked on Eight.
"So, young one," She asked, "Have Ты a plan?"
"My plan involved not getting thrashed by either a волк или a Cougar tonight." He smiled and chuckled for himself, "Mission accomplished!"
She wasn't as light hearted as he, it was clearly time for business. еще proof that he had a little trouble going back and forth between work and play sometimes.
"What I mean to ask Ты child, is, How do Ты intend to go about the task of getting the game back into your territory?" She paced a few steps and turned around, swishing her tail this way and that,
"I don't like the thought of a half-pack of unattended Собаки in my paradise, even if Ты were heading up the expedition. Not to mention that it would take weeks for the stench to go away." Her words and feelings were made clear and caustic, but Eight couldn't blame her opinions, it was just her way.
"And I cannot very well be chasing an entire herd by myself. As much as I hate to admit it, I'm getting on in years, this is not a game for me anymore."
All of her points were very well made, none of which Eight could argue.
This wasn't Eight's area, he was no tactician, planning was not his expertise - he did better at following the plans laid by others.
"Well," He began, uncertain as to exactly what would come from his mouth, "Though I can't account for the smell of things, I may be able to gain favor enough for a small hunt pack, four или five of us - tops," He held his paw up, trying to motion it to reassure her that this was his maximum intention, "If Ты were to accompany us as well, we wouldn't be unattended. We could be in and out at your discretion..."
He trailed off a little bit, leaving the end open to rebuttal. She pondered for a moment and sneered a few times, furrowed her brow, shook her head before finally picking back up, and beginning a slow walk in the direction that they came, Eight followed her along.
There was a moment of silence between them, only the sound of wet paw steps hitting the soft ground filled the air.
"I don't like it."
Eight's сердце sank. He simply didn't know any other way to get the herd to the pack. He began to droop his head in disappointment but was stopped when she continued to speak,
"However, I just don't see another way. I don't care whether или not your gaggle of flea bags starves and freezes through the winter, so make no mistake, pup, I'm not doing this for your sake."
"Understood, ma'am and I thank Ты none the less."
"I'm not finished." She quickly but softly snapped out, "I have stipulations."
"Shoot." Eight сказал(-а) as they paced back to their original meeting place.
"The first being complete autonomy. My land is not your land, and I don't want it to be. If I had my way about things, It wouldn't be even after I'm long gone from this world. I would need your pack leaders to offer me a guarantee and a promise that none of your kin would set foot here."
"I'm sure that can be arranged. They're a great bunch, They'd be real-" She cut him off
"If anyone were to set foot here again, I will kill them. Young, old или able bodied, no questions." She was in no mood for Eight's long-windedness. He'd have to try further to keep a кепка, колпачок on it.
"Understood." He сказал(-а) to her. "And the next?"
"For every 3 of the herd we were to lead back to these lands, I would lay claim to one of them, no exceptions." Her voice came stern on this point, it seemed that she had accomplished a great deal еще thought in the short time they had spoken than Eight knew.
"I'll see what I can do." Eight stated and waited for the next.
The pair stopped again, and she took her time on the last point, as though it was still under consideration.
"I cannot guarantee any amount of game will be on their way back, nor that they will not have moved on again by tomorrow. Also, it is a large herd, so do not expect the whole group to just fall in a line. Your Друзья will have one shot at this, pass или fail, the deal stands."
"This sounds like something we can do." A voice came from behind Eight, he turned to see Stern appearing through the clouds of wisping white.
"I hope Ты don't mind me listening in for some of that." He approached the lioness, еще humble now than Eight had ever seen him, "I had to be sure our boy here wasn't in over his head."
"Of course." She agreed, "But so little faith in 'your boy, here' is unwise. This young волк is quite capable in every way I could think." She leaned in toward Stern, "And I've never seen someone stand in the face of certain death so bravely before I met him."
Stern looked to Eight, with a very mild look of question, but very little surprise, Eight only smiled and shrugged.
"Wonders never cease to amaze." Stern replied, turning his attention back to the old Cougar, "I hear he wrestles медведь in his spare time."
Eight blinked and plastered a confused look on his face, was that a compliment? In his time even NEAR Stern, the squatty bastard only had ill things to say about him, the lack of this was confounding to say the least.
"So, do we have a deal?" Asked the Cougar.
"We just may." Stern replied, "I will have to clear it first, but we can have a scout back here in a matter of hours."
"Then I'll wait for your волк near by. Til then." With that, she turned and took her leave.
The two waited to see her disappear fully into the night before they turned to one another.
"Eight do good?" Eight asked jokingly, though it seemed Stern's good mood was only intended for the audience.
"Don't start. When this is all done, Ты and I are going to have a serious chat." Stern snapped as he walked on without Eight.
"Well then..." Eight mouthed off to himself as he picked up Sterns trail, "won't that be fun."