The soon to be mother wolf groaned. It was almost time but not yet. She hadn't told anyone but she knew something was wrong. It was motherly instinct.
Arctica trotted through the forest, searching for her pack. She stopped briefly to either scent the wind, listen for the sound of the packs paws hitting the ground, or she had to catch her breath.
"I must hurry..." she thought. They were almost here, but she needed the help of her pack.
The wolf stopped suddenly when she heard a twig snap. Arctica bared her teeth, swinging her head around looking for danger. A shadow flickered from the corner of her eye. She whirled around and growled, only to stop when she realized it was her mate.
"What are you doing out here, they're almost here..." he asked quietly.
"I got distracted" Arctica responded.
He looked doubtful, but half of it was true. She had gotten distracted, but she also needed time to think. Her pups were so close to coming, but something was wrong.
"Let's head back." She suggested, hoping he wouldn't ask her anymore questions.
He briskly nodded and turned to head back. Arctica followed behind him, wincing at each step. They didn't have much time left.
When they returned to the pack, Arctica couldn't walk any longer. The pups were coming.
"Get to our den." Her mate encouraged her. She nodded, and wearily walked to there den. As soon as she was inside she collapsed. She moaned as she felt her pups try to free themselves of their mothers belly.
"Your doing good, I know you can do this!" Her mate quietly cheered.
Although she loved his determination, she wasn't sure she could. The pain was horrible. And the pressure was almost to much to bear. Arctica panted, already exhausted.
"The first one is out!" Her mate said excitedly.
"Only one?" Arctica asked, half joking half serious. Her mate gave her a quick lick.
"Only one, but the next one is coming!"
Arctica breathed again, trying to keep how much it hurt to herself. She heard her mate cheer again when the next pup came out.
"One more! You've got this Arctica!"
He happily said.
The she-wolf winced. She couldn't do it again. The pain was too much. But she had to try! Arctica took one last deep breath.
"Yes! You've got this! Come on Arctica, come..... on...." he cheered but broke off. "Arctica, your bleeding really bad. It's not normal!"
"Is the last pup out?" She asked weakly.
"I knew something was wrong... are all three of the pups alive?..."
"Let me check..." The wolf bent down and sniffed the three pups. "Two are dead... the only living one is weak. I'm sorry Arctica"
Arctica didn't answer, she couldn't answer. She was in too much pain. She still felt like something was in her. She tried pushing it out.
"Arctica stop! Your bleeding more and more!" He franticly said.
"But.. but.." the she- wolf whimpered. She leaned up to see her living pup. She gave her a few brisk licks, comforting and warming her. A bright pain came from her stomach again and she laid back down on her side.
"Arctica! No no no! Stay with me!" Her mate cried.
"Oh Dakota... I can't do this...." her mate whimpered and she continued. "Promise me one thing. If our daughter survives, name her Shakira. She will one day lead our pack, and please please... don't blame her for my death..."
"I promise I will name her that... and I won't and can't blame her.. it's not her fault... Arctica... just know I love you..."
"I love you too..."
And the she- wolf slipped away, never to feel pain again.
Chapter one: Alpha Female
"Please Ash! You need to take Arcticas pup! She can't survive much longer!" The frantic wolf begged the mother to take his last remaining pup. He had tried to get the pup to drink from her dead mother but he couldn't get her to. His last hope was the she-wolf named Ash, who had giving birth to her pups a few days ago.
"Dakota, I never said I wouldn't. But you have to tell me what happened to Arctica!" Ash growled.
"Fine! She bled out and died while having our pups three days ago! Now please take her!" He frantically pleaded.
"Thank you! And yes I'd be happy to take her. Meanwhile, you have to find a new she-wolf leader. I know you have another ten days to decide. But it's a tough choice." She warned.
The male wolf bowed his head, grieving for his fallen mate. "I know.. I just don't want to accept the fact that she's gone.."
"Who would? She was the best she-wolf we've had as a leader in so long. Quite frankly, I don't know why she chose you as her mate." Ash joked, trying to make him feel better.
Dakota just shrugged. He dipped his head and padded out of Ash's den. It was true he had to pick an Alpha female. But he didn't want to. Ash had been right, he had no clue why Arctica had chosen him as Alpha male. But he was thankful, it gave him a chance to be with her.
"Oh Arctica.. why did you have to leave me..." She had always had leadership skills. He however, did not.
Dakota slowly walked to his den, which had been cleaned of his lost mate and pups bodies and all the blood. He looked inside and smelled the air. He hoped it would have Arcticas warm scent, but instead it smelled of blood and death. He sighed deeply and curled up in his nest, which was made of moss, fur, and feathers. Dakota closed his eyes and thought about who would make the best Alpha.
There was Faith, who was good at numbers and was a quick thinker, but she couldn't talk to a big group of wolves. So she wouldn't be able to talk to the pack. She wouldn't work. There was Fern who was very sweet. But she couldn't say no to anything. She wouldn't work either. Cloud was a big no. She was stubborn, bossy, rude, and annoying. But.. there was Pine, Dakotas sister. The idea rushed out of his head. The Alpha male and female were meant to be mates. They didn't have to be, but it was better for the pack if they were. Besides, Pine was already a guard. There was also Echo. She was a strong, smart, brave, and a loyal pack member. He remembered that either Echo or Arctica was going to be chosen as Alpha. Arctica was chosen because Echo had gotten sick. She was better now. Dakota gave a nod of satisfaction. Echo was the obvious choice. She would be the new Alpha female.
Chapter two: The Ceremony.
"Please mamma! I want to watch the ceremony!" The young wolf cried.
"No Shakira! You cannot leave this den until you are a month old! Now sit still and be quiet!" Ash snapped.
Shakira growled and sat down. It wasn't fair! Her brothers and sisters were invited to the ceremony and they weren't a month old!
Ash sighed. "You can climb on my back and look at the ceremony, but you cannot go any farther!"
Shakira's ears went straight forward. "Thank you!" The little pup scampered up her mothers back and peered out of the den at the ceremony.
"Since the death of Arctica, it is my duty to choose the next Alpha female at the full moon. I have thought and watched carefully for the last ten days. And I think I have made a very appropriate decision. " Dakota said.
"How awful would it be for your mate to die! I feel bad for Arctica, I wonder if any of her pups survived!" Exclaimed Shakira.
"I don't know..." whispered Ash, clearly upset.
"You okay mamma?"
"I'm fine. Let's keep watching!"
Shakira forgot all about Ash being upset and continued to watch.
"You new Alpha female shall be...... Echo! I have chosen you for your bravery, strength, brain, and loyalty. I welcome you as our new Alpha female!"
Echo stepped forward. She was a beautiful black and grey wolf with blue eyes. "Thank you Dakota. I will try to serve the pack as well as Arctica did." Her voice was regal. It was full of authority and kindness.
The wolves each bowed there head and howled. Shakira excitedly joined in. As did Ash.
"That is all!" Said Dakota, his voice louder as he yelled over the howls.
As the wolves dispersed, going back to their dens for the night, Shakira excitedly jumped off her mothers back and ran over to Echo.
"Shakira!" Yelled Ash. But Shakira didn't hear her. She wanted to congratulate Echo!
"Congratulations Echo! You'll make the best Alpha female ever!" She yelled.
"Thank you little one, but shouldn't you be in your den?" Echo asked sniffing her.
"Yes but.. I wanted to say good job..."
"It's okay, I never obeyed as a pup either. But you should get back before your mother finds you and gets mad."
"Too late!" Snarled Ash.
Echo jumped as Ash walked up beside her. Shakira ducked under Ash's fierce gaze.
"I- I'm sorry mamma... I just wanted to congratulate her!" The pup whimpered.
Ash opened her mouth to say something but Echo jumped in:
"Please don't be mad at her! She was just excited, it's not fair to punish her." Ash looked from Echo to Shakira.
"What's going on here?" Dakota asked walking up behide them.
"I said Shakira couldn't leave the den to watch the ceremony, so instead I let her watch it on my back. But, as soon as the ceremony was done, she burst out of the den without my permission!" Ash growled.
"She just wanted to say congratulations to me! It's not her fault she was excited!" Echo wailed when Ash finished. Ash shot her a glare.
"That's enough! Shakira! Back to your den! Echo, please leave this to the m- mother.., and Ash, go take care of your pup...." Dakota said.
Shakira slowly padded away to her den, upset and embarrassed by the quarrel she caused. She sat down at the end of the cave, facing the wall. She winced when she heard Ash enter the den.
"I'm sorry...." whispered Shakira.
"I know you meant well... but your still too young."
"But Stone, Birch, and Moon got to go to the ceremony! And they're not a month old! It's not fair!"
"They got to go because Echo is there aunt!" Ash snapped.
"But there my brothers and sisters! If there related to Echo, then so am I!"
Ash froze, and went wide eyed. "It's time to go to bed! Now!" Stammered Ash. "I'll figure out your punishment in the morning." With that, she whipped around and stomped out of the den.
Shakira cocked her head confused. Why had Ash freaked out? Shakira yawned, she was too tired to figure it out. Shakira half walked half tripped to her small nest. In moments she was asleep.
Chapter Three: The Confession
Shakira had her belly to the ground. She needed absolute silence. Not far a head was a moose and it's calf. The pack was hungry and they needed to eat before the other packs found out about there weakness. It's had been three years since Echo became Alpha female. All was good, she solved problems with ease and kept everyone is order. But the wolves started facing things they never thought they needed too. Starvation. A huge battle had occurred with another pack a couple months ago, Moon had died in that battle. It's was carefully planned and executed, causing them to lose a lot of their good hunting grounds. All the pack needed now was food. And then they would get there territory back. Shakira snapped back into focus. She crept forward, being as quiet and as stealthy as possible. When she was in reach she leaned back and launched herself at the moose. She took it down quickly then swiftly killed its baby.
"Thank the ancestors for food!" She cried. Shakira howled, summoning her hunting party back. While she waited for them to return she looked around to see if she could find any other prey. She saw movement and slowly crept over to it. Shakira looked over the tall grass to see what the prey was. It instead she saw Ash and Dakota talking. She tensed at this. Ever since she turned two, Dakota had always been awkward around her. Shakira pricked her ears to pick up what they were saying.
"Well we have to tell her at some point! She can't think I'm her mother all her life. It's not fair to her." Whispered Ash.
"Just a little longer! Please Ash. She'll hate me for lying to her." Pleaded Dakota.
Ash scowled at Dakota. "Fine, you have until the next half moon, that's three days to tell her. Or I'm telling her myself!" Ash loped away, not willing to compromise any longer.
"Three days? That's all?.." Dakota whispered to himself. He closed his eyes for a moment then opened them again. He glared up at the sky. "You told me everything would be alright! You said that she would figure out that Ash isn't her mother! What do you want me to do now Arctica? Just tell me!" He yelled at the falling sun.
Suddenly, a bright ball of light appeared in front of Dakota. Shakira's natural instinct was to save her Alpha, but she stayed where she was.
An almost transparent figure appeared before Dakota. It was the most beautiful wolf Shakira had ever seen. The ghostly wolf walked up to Dakota until they were almost touching noses.
"I'm sorry your mad... but all will be clear soon." The ghost said gently.
"Everything is messed up Arctica. I want to tell Shakira but I can't find the words."
Shakira pricked her ears, surprised to hear her name.
"Well, do you want me to help you tell her?"
"Of course! Please help me!" He cried.
"Then now is the perfect time." The ghost whirled around and faced Shakira.
"What are you doing here Shakira?" Dakota asked.
"I - I was hunting when I saw you and Ash talking. I got curious and listened... " she mumbled.
The ghost flicked her tail to Dakota. "Go a head, this is the perfect time."
"Okay... Shakira... your mother isn't really Ash... and your father didn't really die. Well.. Ash's mate did die.. but he isn't your father.. your real mother is..." he sighed and glanced at the ghost. Who nodded happily. "Your mother is... A- Arctica... and I'm your father....."
Chapter Four: The Meeting
It had been a day since Dakota admitted to her that he was her father. She could remember the conversation with ease after that.
"Please don't hate me!" Dakota had begged.
But Shakira just stared at him. Noticing the similarities between them. They both had blue eyes and big muscles.
Then she had glanced at her ghostly mother. She had the same white coat and long legs for running.
"I'm not sure what to say..., I mean..., I thought my father was dead all these years... but he's the Alpha male? And my mother is dead but was one of the best Alpha females in history? It's a lot to take in..."
"I understand Shakira. Just remember what he said is true. And no matter what, we will both love you and be proud of you. Forever and always." Arctica whispered. She had walked over to her and put her nose next to Shakira's. After that she disappeared.
"I hope you don't hate me..." Dakota said, his voice full of sadness.
Shakira opened her mouth to respond, but nothing came out. She didn't know what to say. Then she had remembered about her moose and calf she had killed.
"I- I got to go... see you back at the pack...." she mumbled instead. She returned to her kill and her hunting party. They had caught a rabbit and a couple of deer. This was good. Then they headed back, ate and went to sleep.
Now Shakira sat by her cave she had gotten when she turned three. She wanted to talk to someone but she was too confused. Ash wasn't her mother? Dakota was her father? None of it made sense. And she didn't know why they had kept it from her.
"Shakira?..." a voice asked. Shakira recognized it. Ash.
"Yes Ash?" She growled.
"I'm guessing your father told you..."
"He did... why didn't you tell me earlier?"
"I don't know. We should have, but we didn't... and I'm sorry..."
"It's fine... its just hard to accept..."
"I know darli-" she cut off when Shakira winced. "I know Shakira. But if you ever need to talk.. I'm here. And so is your father."
Shakira nodded. "I'm going to hunt." She got up and ignored the devastated look on Ash's face.
"One more thing! A wolf from RockPack came. The other Alphas have decided to create a meeting. Once a month at a full moon, the Alphas will choose wolves from there pack to meet behind the waterfall, and because the full moon is tonight, Dakota chose you. Meet him in the middle of our territory at sunset." With that, Ash dipped her head and loped away.
Shakira pricked her ears. That sounded interesting. She shook her head, she still wanted to hunt. And she had plenty of sun light left. She stood there a moment longer looking in the direction Ash had gone. Then she ran off in the other direction. She ran for a couple of minutes until she smelled a rabbit. Shakira peered around until she spotted the ears just above the grass. She crept forward, and just when she was about to pounce another scent caught her nose. A wolf. But not from her own pack, MoonPack. She scented the wind again. This strange wolf was from ValleyPack.
"Stupid, dumb, no good, awful fathers!" The foreign wolf yelled.
"Hey!" Shakira growled, jumping out of the bushes.
The wolf went wide eyed. "I crossed the border... great..." he mumbled. He glanced at Shakira again, then turned and fled.
Shakira didn't bother chasing him. He clearly didn't mean to cross the border.
"Idiot." She muttered. Although she would never admit that she thought he was a little cute. Shakira shook her head. He was in a different pack, and besides, she was to confused to think about that.
After a couple more hours of hunting, she managed to get two deer, a bird, and a rabbit.
"It's not enough..." she mumbled. This was not enough to feed her pack. The moose and its calf were enough to feed them for a day. The pups had gotten the calf, which they had consumed in only hours. The adults finished there's in minutes. It was almost sunset, so she headed back to the pack with her kill.
By the time Shakira was back with all her kill, it was sunset.
"S- Shakira! It's time to go to the meeting!" Dakota quickly called.
"Okay" she responded
Shakira didn't look at him. But she could tell he was watching her. And she wondered if she reminded him of her mother. After a couple of seconds he looked away. Clearly heart broken.
"Shouldn't I be happy? My father isn't dead..." she thought. "But he lied to me... and so did Ash..." Shakira shook her head. She couldn't think about this right now. They were leaving any second now.
After a few more minutes of waiting, Dakota signaled the pack to move out.
"Here we go!" She thought. This new meeting for all the packs would either turn out really great or horrible...
Chapter Five: Him Again?
By the time MoonPack got to the waterfall, all of the other packs were there.
RockPack, ValleyPack, EasternPack, WesternPack, and NorthernPack. The wolf legends say that there was once a SouthernPack. But they mysteriously disappeared. Shakira rolled her eyes, it was just a myth.
"Before we go join the others, just remember that there is no fighting on these nights. They are a way to show peace toward the other packs." Dakota growled. "And if I see any signs of aggression from anyone. They will leave immediately, and will be punished!"
"He really wants this to work... doesn't he...." Shakira whispered to Echo, who was standing beside her.
"I'm afraid so..." she responded.
"Move out!" He howled.
Shakira and the others trekked forward, excited to meet the other wolves. When it was her turn to go behind the waterfall, she closed her eyes and lowered her head. When the water hit her she almost yelped. It was so cold! Shakira rushed forward, trying to avoid all the wolves. When she finally got past all the wolves and the waterfall, a beautiful moonlit cave surrounded her. There were two huge stones the cave wall to her left. Shakira guessed that the two stones were what's the Alpha females and Males went. In the center was a small pond for the wolves to drink from. And in a corner there was a little hole for the wolves to see out of. Shakira excitedly ran forward, she wanted to see the entire cave!
"Watch it!" She yelled when she ran into another wolf.
"You watch it! Your were the one who was runni-" the wolf cut off.
Shakira glared at him, then she realized he was the ValleyPack wolf they had crossed the border.
"Sorry that I ran into you..." she mumbled, embarrassed.
"It's okay.. sorry that I yelled..." he muttered back.
Again, Shakira couldn't help but admire him. He was lean, muscular, and smart.
"This is so cool." He said, trying to make it less awkward.
"I know, my father was so excited for this. He wants it to work so badly."
"Fathers..." he said, rolling his eyes.
"What did your father do?"
"He wants me to pick a mate! And after I refused he picked one for me! And now! The stupid wolf won't leave me alone!" He growled
"I'm sorry... can you tell me more details though... I'm confused..."
"Well, I was walking back from a hunt because the day before was when I had refused to take a mate, and I didn't want to talk to my father. I gave the pack my kill, then headed to my den. And what do I find? A she- wolf laying in my nest! I ask her what she was doing and she told me that my father said that she was my new mate. She had happily agreed! I was so angry I ran and ran until I stopped. That's when you found me on your territory..."
"That's horrible! It's worse than what my father did!"
"What did he do?"
Shakira took a deep breath. It was only fair that she told him. "A couple of days ago, I was hunting and I saw my "mother" talking with our Alpha male. She was saying that he needed to tell someone something sooner or later. And then she left." Shakira decided to leave out the part of her ghostly mother." And then Dakota spotted me and asked what I was doing. I told him I was hunting and I saw him and Ash talking so I was curious. He was tense so I ask him what he was talking about with Ash and he just told me..." Shakira stopped, she hadn't told anyone. And she was suddenly suspicious...
"I promise I wont tell anyone! Please.. umm..."
He gasped. "That's a beautiful name!"
Shakira bent her head self consciously.
"Why are you so embarrassed? I complimented you..."
"No one has ever said my name is beautiful..."
"Well a beautiful name should come with a beautiful wolf. And it does..." he whispered so quietly Shakira hardly heard.
"Will you finish your story now?.."
Shakira nodded. "So he just told me.. with no fight. He told me that my mother wasn't Ash and my father wasn't dead... so I asked who was. Arctica, our past Alpha Female was my mother... and Dakota is my father..."
"I know..., and I was wondering... why was your father so concerned about you getting a mate?"
"Oh gosh... okay... well I know your pack has the Alpha male pick the female and the female pick the male. But we believe in keeping our linage... so my father said I had to have a mate so... I could lead the pack..."
"Your father is Ashen?"
"Yep, and my mother is Harmony."
"Wow... is your mother nice to you?"
"She's decent. She agrees that I need a mate. But I should take my time."
Shakira and Caspian continued to talk, they talked about about life, family. They told jokes. They dared each other too do stuff, and they raced. Shakira always won.
"Shakira, I- I know we're from different packs but-" The wolf stopped when a howl came from the rocks. Up there was Dakota and Echo from MoonPack. Ashen and Harmony from ValleyPack. Comet and Leila from RockPack. River and Naja from EasternPack. Bracken and Jewel from WesternPack. And finally, Night and Misty from NorthernPack.
"We welcome you to the first meeting in wolf history!" Harmony's voice rang out. "The other leaders and myself have agreed there is a truce! No fighting will be done on these nights!" She cried. To see that everyone agreed, Echo began a howl.
When Shakira joined in, she felt the wolf's eyes on her. Then he began to. Shakira's heart melted, his voice was so strong.
After everyone had finished their howl, they settled. Each Alpha female gave there reports on pups and health. Then the Alpha males made their reports on there borders and activity.
"This is so great..." Shakira sighed.
"I know!" The wolf excitedly said.
"You know... I never asked what your name was.."
"Oh... it's Caspian."
"Caspian.." Shakira repeated.
"That is the end of this meeting! We will see you at the next full moon!" River shouted.
Each wolf said there goodbyes, and joined there pack-mates. Shakira turned to Caspian.
"Well, I'll see you at the next meeting." Shakira said.
"Yeah... bye Shakira."
Caspian stared at her, and she held his gaze. They stared at each other for a minute, which felt like a second. Shakira looked away and ran after her pack-mates.
"He's in a different pack.. we can't be mates..." she thought. But she couldn't forget the look he gave her. It was full of admiration and interest. She wanted to stay by his side and never leave. She shook her head. No. This wasn't right, she couldn't be with him.
Chapter Six: Tears
It had been five days since the meeting, and all Shakira could think about was Caspian. She couldn't get him out of her head. She often couldn't hunt. She was too easily distracted, with movement she saw, she rushed over to it, hoping it was Caspian. And when it wasn't, and it was just prey. She glared at it and let it run away.
"Shakira! A pup could have caught that rabbit!" One of her hunting members had called.
"Go back to your den!" He yelled, dismissing her.
She wasn't invited to go hunting anymore. But she didn't care. She had to keep telling herself that she and Caspian wouldn't work out!
"Help me Arctica.. I- I mean mother... please..." she whispered desperately.
When nothing happened Shakira curled up in her nest and fell asleep.
"You called?..." Arctica's ghostly figure asked in Shakira's dream.
"Help me! Caspian and I are in different packs, but I like him a lot! Maybe not love yet..., but still..."
"Sweet Shakira. I can give you advice, but in the end it comes down to your decision."
"Then give me advice! Please!"
"My biggest suggestion is you let your father into your heart. He loves you, and he desperately wants you to talk to him, to love him."
"He lied to me... and so did Ash"
"They both did so to protect you. You would have died if your father blamed you for my death. And you also would have died if Ash hadn't taken you in..."
"I know but... they could have told me earlier..." she muttered angrily.
"I must go now. Goodbye..."
Arctica disappeared, leaving Shakira alone.
"Shakira! Shakira!" A voice screamed.
"What?" She snapped, quickly getting up.
"It's Ash! She was hunting and she fell into the river! She couldn't get out. She- she fell down the waterfall."
Shakira stared at the wolf in horror.
"Show me!" She howled.
Her pack-mate turned around and ran down to the river. When they reached it, they followed it downstream.
"There's the waterfall!" Shakira yelled.
The wolf didn't say anything. Only nodding.
The two wolves climbed down the rocks on the side of the waterfall, making there way to the bottom. When they reached it, her pack-mate ran over to a small group of wolves which included Dakota, Echo, Birch, and Stone.
"Where's Ash?" Shakira yelled.
"She's right here..." Birch whimpered. She was sobbing. The other wolves looked sad but Birch was once.
"Shakira? Is that you?" A weak voice asked.
"Yes Ash... it's me."
"Good, come closer. Everyone else, please. I want to talk to her alone."
The wolves nodded and dispersed. When they were gone Shakira went closer. She winced. Ash was broken. She was bleeding all over, her legs were twisted at weird angles. Her jaw was broken and hanging open. And her back and neck were crooked.
"I'm sorry we never told you sooner." She slowly whispered.
"Don't be sorry..."
"I should be sorry. I cant understand what your going through. It never happened to me. But just understand that Dakota and I love you so much. We've all seen how he is around Echo. He's grown to love her. I know he swore to himself that he wouldn't love any other wolf besides you and Arctica. But Echo was patient, and he loves her now... I- I hope you can be like Dakota. Willing to love again. Well... willing to love Dakota again..."
"I'll try mother..." She whimpered.
Ash's eyes, which had been hard of pain, softened. She lifted her head, and for the very last time, she howled. Shakira joined in, along with Dakota, Echo, Birch, Stone, and the wolf who came and got her, Berry.
After a couple more minutes of howling, Ash had to lay her head back down.
"I- I see Arctica. And Moon, and renegade! My mate!" Ash excitedly said. Shakira bowed her head, Ash was leaving now.
Ash calmed down. "Goodbye.. Shakira. Remember what I told you..." and she slipped away, joining her dead family members.
"I'm sorry Shakira..." Dakota whispered.
Shakira looked at him, and realized, it was true. What everyone had said about him loving her so much, was true. She walked over to him and touched noses. A sign of forgiveness. She had never seen him look so happy.
"Your so strong." She heard Arctica whisper.
"So beautiful." Ash agreed.
"I'm sorry." Shakira whispered to Dakota.
"It's okay... I have no right for this forgiveness."
Shakira looked at him, and for the first time in five days, she didn't feel confused. She knew she could trust Dakota. Shakira glanced at Echo, who was also technically her mother.
"I'm so happy for you two." She whispered.
Shakira didn't speak, she was too happy! Shakira forgot about Caspian, and relaxed for a moment.
"It's going to be okay." She thought.
Chapter Seven: The Fall
Shakira was sick. Very sick. There healer wolf, Rowan, was clueless on what it was. It had been seven days since Ash died, and ever since Shakira has been feeling ill.
"Feeling any better today?" Rowan asked.
"Kind of. Not really..." she whimpered.
"Eat this. It's yarrow. It will make you throw up. Hopefully something will come out "
Shakira sniffed and glared at the plant. But she was desperate to get better. The next meeting was soon and she needed to talk to Caspian again. She ate it and swallowed. After a few seconds she threw up.
"Nothing...." Rowan sighed. She had been trying for so long to figure out what it was.
"Am I going to die?..."
"No. It's not serious enough. Trust me, if you were going to die from this, you would feel a lot worse."
Rowan nudged her. "Let me see your stomach."
Shakira rolled over, and Rowan sniffed, poked, and rubbed it.
That's all for today... let me know if it gets worse."
Shakira nodded. When Rowan left her den, she got up. Shakira wanted to go walk somewhere, she was tired of laying in her den. She got up padded out, she hoped to go hunting. It was bright out. A good day to hunt. Shakira headed out to the part of there hunting grounds they still had. She quickly killed a rabbit, a couple of birds, and a deer.
"Soon we'll be strong enough to get our hunting territory's back." Shakira said, satisfied with her work. She was feeling a bit better. Shakira didn't feel like hunting anymore. But she didn't want to go back yet, so she decided to go on a walk. She walked around the territory, exploring parts she hasn't seen before. She walked into a small forest. New scents filled her nose. Shakira excitedly ran all over the place, forgetting about her sickness. She came to an edge on a cliff. On the other side was ValleyPacks territory. She looked for Caspian, hoping he was hunting or going on a walk. Shakira leaned to the very edge of the cliff, putting all her weight in her front paws. When she didn't see anything she felt silly.
"Whatever..." she mumbled. When she turned to go back the rocks under her paws cracked. Shakira didn't notice, but when she tried to move away the rocks gave way and she fell. She fell down and down, and wondered if she was about to join her mother and Ash.
When Shakira woke up she didn't know where she was. All she could remember was falling and hitting the ground.
"Am I dead?" She wondered out loud.
"Not yet, you have too big of a destiny ahead of you." A voice sounded behind her.
"Mother?" Shakira asked. She turned around and her mother stood in front of her.
"Your at peace right now.. aren't you." Arctica questioned.
"You are where all dead wolves come. The great valley. It's a peaceful place. Your brother and sister are here..."
"So I am dead."
"No, we summoned you."
"Will I live?"
"Depends. You fell down a seventy foot drop. A normal wolf wouldn't survive this. But your not normal."
"Is that a bad thing?"
"No. But for now I cannot give you any other hints to your destiny."
"Can I meet my brother and sister?"
"Mm hm." Arctica took a step back and howled. Her voice ringing for miles. It was beautiful. Shakira was drawn to it, like a newborn was drawn to their mother.
"You called, mother?" A wolf appeared, with another one at her flank.
"Cinder, Thorn, this is Shakira. Your sister."
The two wolves stared at her. Shakira was scared that they were mad because she got to live and they didn't.
"Our sister?" The male wolf asked. Shakira guessed he was Thorn.
Shakira stood there awkwardly. She didn't know what they thought of her. Then the female, Cinder, took a step forward. She flicked her tail, asking Shakira to come closer. Shakira obeyed and went closer.
Cinder and Thorn looked at each other, nodded, and pounced on her playfully.
"Ack!" Shakira yelped when they landed on her.
"We were so excited when we got to meet you!" Cinder yelled.
"Our sister!" Thorn cheered.
"Down." Arctica sternly said.
Cinder and Thorn looked at Arctica and got off of Shakira. They walked over to Arctica, Cinder sat on her right flank and Thorn on her left. They stared at Shakira, not saying anything. Shakira noticed how alike they all looked.
"You must go now." Arctica commented.
"Good luck." Thorn said.
"We'll watch over you." Cinder promised.
"Thank you." Shakira said, trying not to throw herself at them. She didn't want to leave them yet! But everything turned white and they disappeared.
Shakira opened her eyes, only to be greeted by a bright light. She blinked rapidly. When everything was normal again, she realized she was laying on her side in ValleyPack territory. She moaned, her head ached. When she tried to get up, she fell back down.
"ValleyPack is going to find me here soon." She whispered.
Shakira gingerly moved her head to glance at her body. She was covered in big rocks, and blood.
"Hurry! I saw a wolf fall from the cliff!" A distant wolf yelled.
"MoonPack?" Another faint voice asked.
"Then let's go!"
Shakira laid there, unable to move. She heard the distant voices of her ancestors whispering.
"There!" A voice said.
"Hello? Are you still alive?" Another voice questioned.
"Yes..." Shakira weakly whispered.
"We'll save you, don't worry!"
Shakira shuttered as the foreign wolves worked to get the rocks off of her. She heard more wolves approaching, and was embarrassed by all the drama she was causing.
"Shakira?" A familiar voice asked. It was Caspian.
"How do you know her?" A deep voice growled.
"At the last meeting we met."
"Hmm. We should kill her now. End her of her misery."
"No!" Caspian and Shakira yelped at the same time.
"Caspian!" A female voice sounded near by.
"What do you want?" Caspian growled.
"Rude! I was just telling you that you were staring at her. You know what I told you. Your not supposed to stare at any she-wolf besides me! Your mate!"
"For the last time! Your not my mate!"
"That's not what the Alpha said." She mocked.
Shakira put her ears back. How dare this wolf control Caspian's life! She growled and used the anger to force herself to get up.
When Shakira was up she glared at all the wolves but Caspian. Who looked like he was about to cry out with happiness.
"That's a strong wolf..." a young she-wolf gasped.
"Hmm..." the wolf with the deep voice said.
"You can rest here tonight. Then go back to your own territory tomorrow." Caspian suggested, trying not to seem too desperate.
"It's fine by me." The deep voiced wolf said. Shakira realized it was Caspian's father, Ashen.
Shakira dipped her head. She was in too much pain to talk.
The wolves set off, and when Caspian realized she was limping really bad, he let her rest on him. The she-wolf he quarreled with glaring at her.
When they reached the center, the healer of there pack came out.
"Get me a leaf packet!" She called to a wolf, who dipped his head and ran off.
Shakira tensed as the wolf got closer, Caspian calmed her.
"It's okay, she's our healer." He whispered. She relaxed, and noticed the she-wolf was still glaring at her.
"I'll be right back." He promised. Caspian helped her lay down, then walked up to the she-wolf. Shakira pricked her ears, hoping to pick up their conversation.
"You have no right to touch her!" The wolf yelled.
"You have no right to tell me what to do Autumn." Caspian growled.
"Your father gave me the right. We both know it's haunting you. You'll be the father to my pups in a just weeks."
Shakira gasped. Pups? "She must have forced him" she thought.
"You forced me. You said you would kill my sister otherwise."
"Yeah, and I still will. Stay away from that wolf. Or your sister is dead." Autumn glared at Shakira one last time and stalked away.
"Pups?" Shakira asked when Caspian came over to her.
"I'll never love her."
"I'm so sorry..."
"It's fine... where is that healer?"
Shakira shrugged. "Y- you should go. I don't want her to kill your sister..."
"Thank you for understanding. My sister is very weak after having her pups. She'll live, but it will take awhile for her to get strong again..."
"Good luck with her."
"Thank you. I'm going to stay with you until the-" he broke off when the healer came and shooed him away. He glanced at her again with humor in his eyes, then walked away.
"Okay! I have everything you need. Leaves to stop the bleeding, marigold, poppy seeds."
"Thank you." Shakira whispered. As the healer set to work, Shakira dozed off.
After a few minutes, she woke up and became aware of her surroundings. Wolves were busy all over. Pups were playing, wolves were setting out to hunt, some were sleeping, and others were curiously watching her.
"Alright, I need you too stand. I'm going to wrap leaves around you so you don't continue to bleed, and because one of your ribs are fractured."
Shakira nodded. She hauled herself up and stood still as the healer wrapped intelligently made leaf wraps around her.
"Would you like poppy seeds?" She asked when she finished,
"No thanks, I'll be fine."
"Okay! You can sleep in-" she broke off as a new she-wolf came charging toward them.
"You poor darling!" The wolf exclaimed, stopping in front of Shakira. The healer bowed her head, and she realized it was Harmony, ValleyPacks Alpha female.
"I'm okay..." Shakira said, also bowing.
"Don't bow to me darling, your Dakota's and Arctica's daughter yes?"
"That's great! I've always wanted to meet their daughter. Although it's such a pity she died. We were great friends once." Her voice was calm, smooth, and sweet.
"It is a pity. And I'm glad to meet you as well."
"You can sleep in my den with me tonight, I'll kick Ashen out for the night if you wish. And if you know any of the wolves here from the meeting, feel free to sleep with them if they let you." Harmony dipped her head and walked away.
Shakira glanced in the direction Caspian had gone. "No." She thought. Autumn will guard his den. She would stay with Harmony tonight.
As the sun fell and the moon rose, Shakira walked around the camp curiously. She wanted to see how it operated. The first thing she she noticed was how some dens had red lines on them. She went up to it and sniffed it. Shakira didn't know what it was.
"I'm guessing you don't know what that is?" A wolf asked, sliding up next to her.
"No I don't. I understand if you don't want to tell me, but I'm curious."
"It's not that big of a secret. We put these marks on the dens to tell the wolves who going on patrol."
"That's cool! What's it's made out of."
"Well, for morning patrol, its red, and it's made out of crushed berries. Afternoon is yellow, and made out of crushed dandelions. And night patrol is brown, and we just use mud."
"Wow. And they just wash it off?"
"Yep, they wake up in the morning and check there den walls. If it doesn't have any lines that means they don't have patrol, or if they have one or two lines that means they do two."
"That's amazing! Thank you for teaching me. I won't bother you anymore." Shakira thanked her.
"No problem! My name is Hazel by the way. If you have anymore question, just find me and ask!" Hazel exclaimed.
"Thank you... umm.. one more question. How do you get to Harmony's den?"
"Follow me." Hazel and Shakira made there way around the camp, until finally, Shakira saw a den up on a hill. It was a lot like Dakota's and Echo's. Hazel led Shakira up to it, and told Shakira to wait outside their den. After awhile, Harmony emerged.
"Come on in. Ashen is just leaving to go sleep with our daughter, Demora."
"Have fun Harmony." Ashen joked as he headed out of their den, he turned to Shakira. "Beware, she kicks in her sleep."
"I do not!" Harmony glared at him.
Ashen gave her a lick on her shoulder, dipped his head to Hazel and Shakira, then walked away.
"Thank you Hazel. You may leave now." Harmony said, dismissing her.
Hazel dipped her head and walked away.
"Okay, now you can come in!"
"Thank you." Shakira walked inside the den and found the nest Ashen slept in. She laid down, hoping Harmony wouldn't talk to her any more. She was tired, and wanted to go home. Shakira was thankful when she heard Harmony's soft breathing, telling her she was asleep. And finally, Shakira gave in to the sleep that she desperately needed.
Chapter Eight: I Love You.
Shakira woke up when she was kicked in the ribs. "Ashen wasn't lying..." Shakira mumbled. Harmony was twitching and kicking everywhere. Shakira got up and padded out of the den. It was the middle of the night. Shakira glanced at the cliff she had fallen from. She longed to go home, but it would look too suspicious if she disappeared in the middle of the night.
"Shakira?" And voice called.
"I'm here Caspian."
"I'm glad your awake." Caspian said, running up to her. He sat down beside her and sighed.
"Is Autumn asleep?" Shakira asked.
"Yep, finally. She stayed awake late tonight to make sure I didn't leave. But once she was sure I wouldn't leave, she fell asleep."
"Sneaky, aren't you."
"Yep!" He said with pride in his eyes. When Shakira didn't respond, he frowned. "What's wrong?"
"I want to go home. I normally would be fine, but Autumn is ruining your life and I hate being here when it's happening, because I can't do anything!" She growled.
"Don't let Autumn bother you. She doesn't know that she sucks."
Shakira looked at Caspian and noticed he looked desperate to ask her something.
"What is it?" She asked.
"I'm just going to be open and ask you... Do you have a m- mate..?"
"No.... I don't.." Caspian's eyes sparkled with happiness.
"What? Are you happy by my loneliness?" Shakira asked, joking.
"What? No! Don't you have Ash, or whatever your fake mothers name is?"
"It's was Ash. She fell down a waterfall and died recently...." Shakira whispered.
Caspian hung his head. "I'm sorry..."
"It's life... it's okay..." then Shakira remembered. She hasn't been feeling ill all day. She wondered if it had to do with the fall, or it was a sign that she was meant to be with Caspian.
"What is it?" Caspian asked.
"I was very sick these past couple of days. I was on a walk because I've been stuck in my den for so long. That's when I fell. But I haven't been feeling sick ever since then! I wonder if it has something to do with the fall..." Shakira decided not to mention her thought about it being a sign.
"I'm not sure, but I'm glad your feeling better!"
Again, Shakira and Caspian talked like they did at the meeting. Joking around, and daring each other to do stuff. Shakira forgot all about being homesick.
"Wanna go on a walk?" Caspian suggested when Harmony stirred inside her den.
"Sure, where do you wanna go or do?" She asked.
"Can you swim?"
"Well, lets go swimming!"
Caspian smiled, then he turned and ran down the hill toward a distant lake.
When they got there, Shakira glanced around. The water was shallow at the beginning, but got deeper and deeper.
"I'm not sure about-" Shakira started, but stopped when Caspian hulled her on his back and threw her in the lake.
The water was warm, unlike the waterfall water. Shakira resurfaced and glared at Caspian.
"Look out!" Caspian yelled as he charged at her to jump in.
"Ack!" Shakira yelped when he came closer. She quickly got out of his way. Caspian took a mighty leap and splashed into the water.
"We're lucky! Usually the lake is a lot colder!" Caspian called to her.
"That's good then!"
"Wanna play a game?" Caspian suggested.
"Your such a pup! But sure!"
"Your it!" Caspian called, quickly swimming away.
Shakira rolled her eyes and quickly swam after him.
They played for a long time until Shakira spotted a hole and the bottom of the lake.
"What's that?" She asked Caspian.
"I'm not sure, I've never seen it before."
"Let me see. It's big enough for me to go in it. I'm pretty sure you can fit too!"
"I'm coming with you!"
"Okay! Let's go!"
Caspian nodded and they both took and deep breath. Then they both dived under the water. Shakira led the way. She kicked as hard as she could to get to the bottom. And once they reached it, Shakira quickly ducked into the hole, following the tunnel. For a couple of seconds that seemed like hours she reached the end. She broke through the surface of the water, and was surrounded by a small cave. Caspian came out behind her and looked around, as awe struck as herself.
"It's so beautiful..." Caspian whispered.
"It's kind of like the meeting place, but smaller..." Shakira commented.
"Let's go to the shore, my muscles are screaming."
"Okay." Shakira agreed. Her muscles hurt too. When they reached the shore they both collapsed. They both panted for a bit, but when they felt better they curled up next to each other.
"I can't believe your going to be a father..." Shakira whispered
"Not really... I'm not going to consider them my pups. Autumn means nothing to me. So I don't care if I never meet her pups."
"She'll make you meet them. She'll probably constantly tell them your there father."
"That's her own problem. Better to have no father than one who ignores you."
"I know your mad at Autumn, but you can't blame it on her pups... even if you want nothing to do with them, promise me you'll at least talk to them. Where would I be if my father blamed me for my mothers death?"
Shakira and Caspian sat in silence for awhile. Neither of them knowing what to say. Then Caspian broke the silence.
"Listen, Shakira.. I know we're from different packs.. but I- I love you..."
"I love you too Caspian...." Shakira admitted. She looked at him, and saw that he was so happy. How could something that feels so right... be so wrong?....
Chapter Nine: Home
"Did you sleep well last night?" Harmony asked when she woke up.
"Yeah, I slept fine. I just kinda want to go home." Shakira answered. But she hadn't slept at all since she and Caspian got back from the secret cave. Her head was still rushing with the thought that they both loved each other.
"Well, I think it's time you went home. C'mon, I'll take you back to the border."
"Okay, but first... I was wondering if I could meet your daughter...?"
Harmony stared at her, and gave her a suspicious look. Shakira knew that Harmony didn't want her to harm Demora, or her pups. But Shakira needed to ask her about Caspian.
"I won't hurt her. I swear my life on it..." Shakira begged.
"Okay, but you can't stay long.."
Shakira dipped her head, relieved.
Harmony led her down the hill and took a sharp right turn. They walked a couple more paces, then turned into a den.
"I'll wait outside.." Harmony whispered.
"Okay.." Shakira was regretting her choice. She should've just went home. She was about to turn back when she heard growling.
"Hello?" The voice snarled. Demora may be weak, but she was willing to protect her pups with everything she had.
"It's okay... I'm not here to hurt you.. I just had a few questions about your brother..."
"But your from MoonPack..."
"I fell off the cliff yesterday and your brother helped me..-" Shakira stopped when Demora gasped.
"What's your name?"
"Your the wolf my brother has been mooning over!"
"He told you?" She gasped.
"Your an upgrade from Autumn, so I won't tell anyone."
"What's your question?"
"Did Caspian have a mate before me or Autumn?"
Demora paused. "He did...kinda..., when they were pups..." she whispered.
"What did they do..?"
Demora's gaze blanked.... was it that bad?... "We found her in the river with many stab wounds..."
"Thats horrible.. but it could be worse.."
"It was worse... they- they decapitated her..."
Shakira shuddered. That was absolutely horrid. Taking the head of a wolf? Even worse, a pup? How horrible.
"Shakira, time too go!" Harmony called.
"Coming! Thank you so much Demora, I hope you get stronger soon!"
Demora dipped her head. "I won't tell anyone, don't worry..."
Shakira flicked her tail, showing that she heard and padded out of her den.
"You ready to go?" Harmony asked
Harmony walked away, leading her out of the camp. As they departed, Shakira saw Caspian at the corner of her eye. He was running toward MoonPack, but kept a distance from herself and Harmony.
"He wants to talk to me..." she thought, feeling dumb. She and Harmony trotted back to the border, but soon they had to stop because Shakira started limping again. Harmony let Shakira lean on her. When they got to the border; Echo, a wolf name Lily, another wolf named Sky, and Birch came up to them as they crossed the border.
"Dakota was so worried!" Echo cried.
"I'm sorry Echo..." Shakira whimpered.
"Don't be sorry! You almost died! How can you be sorry?"
Shakira shrugged, she was getting impatient. She wanted to go talk to Caspian. And she was exhausted.
"I'm going back to camp..." Shakira murmured as Harmony and Echo talked. She walked away, heading to camp, then quickly turned left when Harmony or any of the wolves couldn't see her anymore.
She trotted through her territory until she was where Caspian had dispatched. Shakira tasted the air. She caught his scent not too far away. Shakira took a deep breathe, she thought everything had changed yesterday, but no. She could feel that today, her whole world would be different.
"Shakira! Over here!" Caspian lightly called.
She trotted over to him and quickly brushed herself along him.
"I wish we were in the same pack...." he sighed.
"I know, but I love MoonPack so much."
"As do I for ValleyPack."
They both went quiet, thinking carefully. And a stupid but tempting idea hit her.
"We could run away together... somewhere that no packs could find us..." she quietly suggested. It was such a dumb idea. But she couldn't think of anything else.
"W- what...? You mean leave our packs...."
"Never mind, forget I said anything..."
"I'll think about it, Shakira..."
"No. Forget about what I said, please."
"I want to be with you Shakira. So just let me think about it. Or let's try to think of another solution... I should go now, Autumn wants me to help her move to her den before she moved in with me, she wants a lot of space to have her pups."
"Wow, how..." Shakira didn't know what to say.
"How snobby, annoying, pointless, shall I go on?"
Shakira stifled a laugh. "You should probably go now. I would hate if someone caught us."
"Okay, I'll see you at the next gathering. Which is in.. four days? Yeah, four days."
"I can't wait, goodbye."
"Goodbye Shakira, I love you..."
"I love you too, see you in four days." She brushed herself against him again. She didn't want him to leave, but it would be bad if he didn't. Caspian stared at her again, then turned and ran away.
Shakira didn't bother watching him leave, she was exhausted. She headed back to her den, ignoring all the worried questions on where she had been and if she was okay.
"I'll tell you later, but please, I need rest..." she had mumbled.
When she finally reached her den, she collapsed immediately. Shakira curled up, falling asleep in seconds.
When Arctica came to her in her dreams, it didn't surprise Shakira.
She dipped her head. "Mother."
"I know you love him, but it needs to stop Shakira. You remember the stories of Shadow and Ember, don't you?"
"No.." Shakira whispered nervously.
"Copper was a WesternPack wolf, strong, loyal, perfect. Many options of a mate in his own pack. Ember was a beautiful, smart, and brave wolf from RockPack. She also had many options. But they met in a battle against each other. They were both trying to convince their own pack-mates the battle wasn't worth it. And they ran into each other. Let's just say it was love at first sight. They started meeting up at night, falling in even more love. But soon, Ember was going to have pups. Her father, who was Alpha male, asked who the father was. Ember couldn't answer. Her father got suspicious and followed her one night. He found them talking and playing games. He realized this was the father. Ember was punished with treason, and banished her. Ember was never heard of again. And Copper wanted revenge on her father, but was killed for insanity."
"Are you saying this could happen to me...?" Shakira rasped.
"I'm saying this will be you if you don't stop loving him."
"But, Dakota wouldn't ask me that. Ember and Shadow happened a long time ago. It's different now!"
Arctica didn't say anything, she just shook her head and disappeared, leaving Shakira alone in the dark.
Chapter ten: Need To Stop.
"Shakira! Are you sure your fit enough to go to the meeting?" Dakota asked her.
Shakira nodded. When she woke up from her sleep she was incredibly sore. She didn't stand up the whole day, but since then she had gotten up and began moving to help her legs. She wasn't sore at the moment, so she was sure she would be okay.
"Let's go!" Dakota howled.
The wolves set out to the cave behind the waterfall. Shakira wasn't sure if she liked the waterfall anymore. The one they were going too wasn't the one Ash fell down, but it was the same water source.
When the wolves reached it, Shakira stopped. She could just picture Ash's body laying at the bottom.
"It's okay..." Rowan whispered.
Shakira took a deep breath and trudged on. The cold water hit her back, and she surged forward. She jumped when Birch yelped. Every wolf turned and looked at her.
"Sorry, it's just so cold!" She whimpered, clearly embarrassed.
The wolves stifled their laughs and kept walking, soon to emerge in the beautiful cave again. Shakira was nervous. She couldn't get what her mother said out of her head. Shakira had been so loyal, but now, everything was messed up. But Shakira had decided that she would tell him. She would him that they couldn't see or love each other. The wolves padded into the cave and dispersed, looking for friends from the last meeting. Shakira looked around, trying not to bolt when she saw Caspian walk towards her.
"Shakira!" He called excitedly.
She dipped her head towards him, too scared to talk. He looked confused when he sat next to her and she shifted.
"This needs to stop Caspian. I love you b- but... we could end up like Ember and-"
"Copper?" He finished. "I know the story. But we'll be more careful than them! You should get a fake mate, like I do for Autumn. Then if you do have pups, they'll think it's his." He suggested.
Shakira was about to agree. But a flash image of her mother glaring at her stopped Shakira from saying anything. "No Caspian, this has to stop.."
She had never seen such disappointment. Not even when she rejected Dakota. It was almost enough to make her tell him to forget what she said. But not enough. "Are you mad?" She whispered.
"No, I can't be mad. I respect your decision." He rasped.
She pricked her ears confused and surprised.
"What's going on here?" A voice snapped.
Dakota looked up. "Autumn, this is Shakira. We met at the last meeting. And she's the wolf that fell off the cliff. She's just a friend."
Autumn snorted. "Whatever Caspian. But I need you too take me to camp. Our pups are coming soon."
Caspian looked at Shakira again, with a look that said; I've no longer got a choice. Shakira realized that the look meant that he had to love Autumn now. Because he could no longer love her, he was forced to love Autumn. She felt terrible. But maybe he would love some other wolf another day.
"Have a good life, and good luck with Autumn. I think she acted like she did, because you ignored her."
Shakira watched the wolves walk away, and suddenly felt really lonely and angry. She was angry at Arctica. Maybe, just maybe, if she was smart enough, Caspian and her could still be together.
"No Shakira, you made the right choice." She heard Ash whisper.
"Indeed." Arctica whispered.
"Yep!" She heard Thorn and Cinder shout.
"Thank you mother." Shakira thought, letting her anger go. She sat up tall and noticed that her head didn't hurt. She hadn't realized it did hurt from all the stress. But it was gone now. It was certainly the correct choice. When the meeting ended, Shakira walked out with pride. Pride in her pack, pride in Caspian, and pride in herself.
"Oof!" Shakira yelped when she tripped over another wolf.
"Ow!" yelped the other wolf.
"I'm so sorry! I wasn't paying attention to my surrounding." She cried, embarrassed. She looked at him, glad he was from MoonPack.
"It's okay! I wasn't paying attention either." He said, staring at her.
"How could I not know who you are, your the Alphas daughter, and the most amazing and beautiful wolf in the pack! And I'm Smoke." He bowed.
"Don't bow to me! And thank you so much!" Shakira nudged him, laughter sparked in his eyes. They walked back too their camp together, talking about their lives. Shakira avoided talking about Caspian.
"Do you want to hang out tomorrow?" asked Smoke when they were about too go to their dens.
"Sure, I'll meet you at the great rock at dawn?"
"Works for me!" He excitedly cried. He dipped his head and loped away.
She would never say it out loud. But she had a feeling that herself and Smoke, might just end up as mates.
Chapter Eleven: Hello Caspian (five years later)
"Smoke! Help me get new moss for the den!" Shakira called to him.
"Yes miss bossy." He bumped her affectionately.
"You don't want our pups to get sick do you?" snapped Shakira.
"Easy..." he whispered. She relaxed. Shakira was just really scared. It was her first litter, and she was scared the same thing would happen to her that happened to Arctica.
"I know your scared. I'm scared. But remember, Arctica died because one of your siblings bone was in her. And pierced her from the inside. It's not a bloodline thing, it just happened." He said quietly, as if reading her mind.
"Thank you Smoke. I needed that.."
"Anytime my love." He laid his head on her back for a second, then trotted off to get more moss. Shakira sat down. It had been five years since she separated herself from Caspian. She saw him once at a meeting. They've chatted a couple times. But Dakota didn't chose her to go to a meeting very much anymore. It had been three years since she's seen him. Caspian was now a father, and he was beginning to love Autumn. She was actually a really great wolf. Shakira had fallen in love with Smoke ever since they met at dawn. Now she was having their pups. At times Shakira missed Caspian and everything they had shared. And she remembered that deep down, she still truly loved Caspian. She often wondered if Caspian still loved her.
"Please papa! I'm so hungry!" She heard a desperate pup cry. That was strange... MoonPack was usually well fed these days.
"No Winter! This is MoonPack territory not ValleyPack territory." Another wolf snapped. Shakira knew that voice. It was Caspian. Shakira padded away from her den and headed toward them. They were at the great rock, where the Alphas preformed pack meetings. She saw him walking with a pup, she had heard his name before, it was Caspian's pup. She walked up behind him, and took a deep breath.
"Hello Caspian." Said Shakira, standing up tall.
He spun around and growled. Then he realized it was her, she saw happiness then pain glow in his eyes. She noticed him glancing at her stomach. Which was huge because of her coming pups. "S- Shakira..., how are you?" He asked awkwardly.
"Fine, tired, but fine. You?"
Her heart was beating so loud, hard, and fast, that Shakira was sure that Caspian would hear or feel it.
"What brings you here?" She questioned.
"Autumn, Raven, and Clover are sick. Since there was no other mother in ValleyPack I came here to see if anyone could nurse Winter." He said simply. Still glancing at her stomach. Shakira could nurse Winter, but not until her own pups were born. Which would be in a few days. She knew Berry had her pups a few weeks ago, so for the first few days it would work, if Berry agreed. Shakira explained her plan to Caspian. Then when he agreed she went to Dakota and Echo. She then explained her plan to them.
"I owe this wolf a favor. He's the one who helped me when I fell off the cliff." She explained.
"Seems reasonable to me. But are you sure you'll be able to handle another pup? Great ancestors, your already huge." Echo commented.
"I'm very sure Echo."
"Alright, go talk to Berry and make sure she's up too it."
Shakira dipped her head and padded away in silence with Caspian by her side.
"Of course I'll help him! How could I say no!" Berry exclaimed when Shakira asked her for help.
"Thank you... Now Caspian. Say your goodbyes. Same with you Winter."
The two wolves said goodbye. When they finished, Winter walked into Berry's den with his tail high. Caspian turned and loped back in the direction he came. Shakira followed him.
When they reached the end of MoonPack territory, Caspian stopped.
"I still love you Shakira. And I miss you so much. I may start to have feelings for Autumn, but you will always be in my heart." He whispered.
"Oh Caspian, I miss you too. But we can't be together."
"Why not?" He snarled suddenly.
"Because! It's not right! And because I love Smoke! We're having pups in a few days."
"Yeah! You loved me once too! Those could have been our pups that your giving birth too! If you just gave me more time to think of a plan!" He snapped.
"Caspian! Sooner or later we would have been caught! It was the right thing to do."
"I loved you so much Shakira. And what do you do. You tell me we can't be together."
"Well tell me then! Tell me what you want me too do. Do you want me to leave the packs with you? Right now?"
His ears went up. "That's a great idea! Let's go!"
"You just don't get it do you? I'm having pups! And they're not even yours! What would Autumn, Smoke, Harmony, Ashen, Echo, and Dakota say?"
"You suggested it." He glared at her.
"Please Caspian. I- I still love you. I will never forget that. But you have Autumn and I have Smoke. It's enough to make us stop loving each other."
"Please be reasonable Caspian.."
He sighed and looked away from her. She could tell his anger was fueled by his love for her. Shakira had said some stuff she hadn't meant to. "Caspian, there's always the future. We'll see what happens. You should get back now."
"Okay, thank you for watching Winter. Bye."
"Bye." Shakira watched him go and wanted to cry out with pain. Why did he have to be so great? She wanted to be with him, but what about her pups and Smoke? She sat there for hours, just sobbing. She stayed in the same spot until the next morning. She was so confused, she was hurting so bad. All she wanted was to feel loyal to MoonPack, and have a mate from her own pack. "Why mother? Why? I just want to feel normal again! I hate this feeling! Help me!" She screamed.
Arctica appeared in front of her, joined by her siblings and Ash. She glared at them all.
"Shakira.." Cinder whispered. Cinder walked up to her and rested her head on Shakira's head. Thorn walked up beside Cinder.
"We don't want you too feel this way.." said Ash.
"Then help me!" Shakira snarled.
Ash was about to say something but Arctica stepped in. Unlike the others, she had no sympathy in her eyes. Only anger.
"The only one who can help you is yourself! Stop relying on others to help you. Decide if your loyal or not."
"Arctica! Calm yourself! You cannot relate! You've never felt this way, give Shakira a break." Thorn yelled, glaring fiercely at Arctica.
"I know well enough to tell her what she's feeling is wrong! She has Smoke, and her coming pups! That's all she needs!" Arctica snapped.
"Everyone be quiet!" Cinder growled.
Arctica closed her mouth and sat down. Along with everyone else.
"That's better. Now Shakira, explain what you need help with." Cinder asked.
"Thank you Cinder. And I'm not sure. I feel so confused, I mean. I love Smoke so much. But just seeing and talking to Caspian again caused such a bad sadness and agony in my heart. My headache is back. I guess I just want help to figure out what to do." She sighed.
"Your depressed." Thorn guessed.
"If only you never met Caspian.." Arctica muttered.
"I agree with Thorn. I think you should try everything you can too try and make you happy. And when you know the one that will make you the happiest. Choose it. You should even try going with Caspian." Ash commented. Arctica glared at her.
"What about my pups?"
"You'll figure that out." Cinder said. They sat in silence for a moment.
Then Arctica looked at Shakira with wide eyes. "I'm so sorry, I shouldn't have gotten mad. I don't understand how you feel.. I should be helping you. Not yelling at you." She cried.
"It's okay, I can understand why your mad."
Arctica dipped her head. "We must go now. I agree with Ash. Follow what you think is right."
Shakira said farewell to them and headed back to camp.
"Where is she?" she heard Smoke's distant voice wail.
"I don't know Smoke. Now calm down, you know she is a loud to leave without you knowing about it!" Echo's voice said, trying to calm him.
"Of course she's a loud to leave with me knowing about it! But she's been gone for a day! She should be in the den resting! Rowan said our pups should be coming within the hour!"
Shakira ran up to him. "I'm so sorry, but I wanted to stretch my legs before the birth."
His eyes glowed with relief. "Thank goodness your safe.." he mumbled, scooting up next to her.
"Just like your mother." Dakota laughed, rolling his eyes.
"Let's get you to eat and get you in the den." Smoke said, nudging her with his nose.
Shakira walked to where all the prey was. She didn't feel that hungry, so she picked up a skinny rabbit.
"Alright, eat that, get some water, and go rest!"
Shakira nodded, eating her rabbit. When she was done, she went to get some water then padded slowly into her den. She was starting to get cramps. She moaned. Smoke told her to get some sleep. So Shakira closed her eyes and tried to fall asleep. It was about ten minutes until she managed to fall into a very light sleep.
Shakira was woken up by her spasms. Soon she started to push.
Half an hour passed when she was finally done. She had four healthy pups. Three males, and one female. Shakira was exhausted. While her pups drank milk, Shakira fell asleep. When she awoke again Smoke was licking her shoulder.
"There so beautiful." He whispered. Pride glowed in his eyes.
Shakira nodded. One of the males looked like her. White with blue eyes. Except he had a few dark hair in his forehead that looked like a diamond. And the rest looked like their father, who was a dark grey. "You name two, and I'll name two." She sighed. She was still exhausted.
"Okay, I'll name the two males that look like me."
Shakira watched him as he thought. She started thinking of names to name the female and other male.
"How about.. Shadow, and Niko." Smoke suggested.
"I love it. And for the female, how about Arisha. And for the male, Frost?"
"Perfect. Just perfect." He murmured happily. They were perfect. Shakira knew she made the right choice when she chose Smoke as a mate. Caspian didn't matter right now. She just needed to focus on her pups for now.
Chapter Twelve: Goodbye
"Ashira! Let go of your brother!" Shakira shouted to her pup.
"But he bit my tail!" She complained.
Shakira rolled her eyes. Ashira could be so over dramatic.. "Well then tell him it hurt and ask for an apology!"
"But!" She cried.
"No but's! Just get him too apologize!"
"Fine..." she huffed. Ashira stalked over to Niko. "You hurt my tail! Apologize!"
Niko glanced at Shakira who was giving him a look that said; I'm watching, don't forget that. "Fine, I'm sorry Ashira. I'll be more careful next time." He muttered. Shakira huffed. Niko and Ashira fought a lot. Shadow was curious about everyone and everything. Frost was quiet. He never disturbed anyone. Smoke was the same as always. And she hadn't seen Caspian since the day Winter came. After a day had passed when she had her pups, Berry had dropped Winter off at her den a few weeks ago. Autumn, and her pups were still sick but were getting better.
"M- mama, can I talk to you..?" Frost asked. Slowly walking up beside Shakira.
"Of course little one. Is everything okay?"
"Yeah, I was just wondering when father was coming home...?"
"Oh, your father should be home tomorrow. But remember, he was on a dangerous mission. He's scouting out where the humans activity is." She warned.
"What if he never comes home?"
"Then we will be sad. But we will stay strong and get over it! Why are you suddenly so worried about your father. It wasn't bothering you five minutes ago.."
"Just a feeling." He murmured, walking away. Shakira shuttered. She hated when Frost did this. He predicted when a herd of moose would be moving into their territory. He told her to watch out for a herd of moose. The next day they came. It was quite creepy. But she loved him. She loved all of her pups. Even Winter.
"All right pups, it's bed time!" Shakira called.
"Awww.. five more minutes mama! Please!" Shadow cried.
"Five more minutes and the humans will be out! Get inside the den, now!" The pups sighed and scrabbled inside. Shakira, unlike Ash, let the pups out of the den when they were a week old. She knew she hated when she was stuck inside her den, so she gave them some freedom. The only thing was that they had to stay in her view. Shadow tried to sneak off once and Dakota caught him instantly. When all the pups were inside, Shakira walked in and curled around them.
"Goodnight mama." They all whispered. Shakira gave them each a lick in the head and soon fell asleep.
"Wake up mama! Fathers home!" A voice cried. Shakira's head shot up. Smoke was home! At last!
"All right pups! Clean yourselves then we'll go see father." The pups excitedly cleaned themselves, grooming their fur neatly. Shakira groomed herself quickly as well. She wanted to look her best. Shakira saw wolves running toward the great rock, shouting names. She nudged her pups outside of the den and they ran excitedly ahead. Shakira trotted after them.
"Shakira!" A tired but excited voice rasped.
"Smoke!" Shakira cried, whirling around. Smoke was standing a few feet away from her. Shakira rushed toward him, with their pups at her heels.
"How are you?" He asked tiredly.
"I'm great! Now that your-" Shakira suddenly noticed all his bleeding wounds. They were deep.
"The humans saw us. We escaped in time." He mumbled.
"Are you the only seriously hurt one? I know you. You'll throw yourself in front of the other wolves.."
"Most likely. But I insisted that Rowan takes care of the other wolves first. I may be the most injured, but the others got hurt too.."
Shakira growled and looked at the wolf Rowan was currently helping. He wasn't even bleeding! "Rowan! Please come help Smoke. He's bleeding heavily." She insisted.
"On my way!" Rowan called.
She heard Smoke growl. "Shakira! Did you not listen?" He snapped.
"Oh I listened. But I'm using sense. The other wolves will survive until tomorrow. You won't be able to survive an hour!"
"Can we please play with father now mama?" Niko begged.
"No, give him a quick hello then go back too the den. And I mean in the den! Not outside the den. You can play with him later!"
"Yes mama..." the pups walked up too their father and licked him on the paw. Winter just dipped his head too him and followed the rest of the pups back to the den. Soon, Rowan trotted up to them.
"Ack, Smoke. Why didn't you tell me it was this bad?" She asked.
"Because, I wanted the others to be taken care of first."
"The others are fine... the worst out of them is a sprained paw." She sighed, rolling her eyes.
Smoke sighed deeply. Then let Rowan work her magic. Eventually Shakira decided to go back to the den to check on the pups.
Winter, Niko, Ashira, and Shadow were all playing together in the middle of the den. Frost sat in a corner staring at the wall. Shakira walked up to him and wrapped her tail around him. Frost leaned into her, sighing deeply.
"What's wrong little one?" Shakira whispered.
"Father.. I'm not sure he'll make it until the next full moon." Frost whispered. He was so quiet that he sounded possessed.
"He will Frost. Your father is so strong. He'll make it."
"He'll make it through these wounds. But what about the next?" Frost shuddered.
"Frost? What are you not telling me?" She snarled. Shakira knew her son too well.
"Last night when I was sleeping, I heard a loud banging noise and thundering hooves. Then I heard a yelp of pain and crying. T- then, a heard fathers voice weakly whisper "good bye." Im scared now.." Frost admitted. Shakira could tell Frost was shaking. And she knew that she should take this seriously. Even if it was a dream.
"Thank you for telling me Frost. Now get some sleep, that dream probably kept you up all night."
"It's not a dream.." he said before walking away to his little nest to sleep.
"It's nap time everyone! And before anyone complains, I want you to have as much energy when father comes back. So have a nap!" Shakira called to all the pups.
"Yes mama!" Ashira yelled. All the pups laid down in their nests. Soon falling asleep. When they were surely sleeping, Shakira crept out of the den. She was greeted by Smoke a few yards away. He was walking again!
"Your walking!" She cried.
He put his head down and laughed. "Shakira, I was hit by rocks and sticks, that's why I was bleeding. I'm fine. Just a little sore. I'm not the one who fell down a seventy foot drop and got up a few minutes later."
Shakira shuffled, embarrassed. Then she glanced at her side, which had scars from where all the rocks hit her. Sometimes her ribs hurt because she fractured one, but not often. "Yeah, I guess. Can you still run?"
"Well, let's go see!"
"Oh yeah? First one too the forest wins!" She howled. Smoke had always been faster than her, if he could still beat her now meant he was fine. He howled quickly and bolted out of the camp. Shakira chased after him, he still seemed to have all of his old speed.
When they reached the forest, Smoke howled a victory. "I'll never let sticks and stones break my bones!" He cheered.
"You only won because I tripped on a rock!" Shakira accused.
"Think what you want to think." He said licking her head affectionately.
"I will, thank you very much."
Smoke muzzled her and laid down. "I love you so much Shakira. I hope I never leave you, and you never leave me." He whispered.
Shakira laid down with him. "I love you too Smoke. But I can't make any promises on being together forever."
Smoke stared at her. "Why not..?"
"It's Frost. Do you remember when he predicted the herd of moose coming in?"
Shakira tried to speak but nothing came out. She choked on her words.
"Take your time."
Shakira took a deep breath. Then explained what Frost had said to her. When she finished, Smoke didn't say anything. He stared off into space. "Smoke?" She whispered, getting worried.
"Let's just hope it's a dream..." he mumbled.
"Let's go back." Smoke said, getting up. Shakira looked down, disappointed.
"You can go, I'll join you in a little bit."
"I'm not mad at you or Frost. I'm just a little shaken okay.." Smoke said.
"That's good. I'm going to stay here anyway, I'll see you later." Shakira mumbled, standing up, and giving him a quick lick on the ear. Smoke shook his head and ran back to camp.
"Frost?" A voice asked. Shakira growled.
"What are you doing here Caspian?" Shakira snarled turning around to face him.
"I'm just here to get Winter. Autumn and the pups are better." He snapped.
"Why'd you eavesdrop?"
"Well I saw you and your oh so perfect mate racing this way. So I was going to meet up with you when you two stopped. But then he went on about how much he loved you, and then I heard you talk about this Frost character and stuff so I just listened until one of you went quiet."
"Yeah. So can I see Winter now."
"Sure, follow me." Shakira turned and loped toward camp. When they reached camp, Shakira led Caspian too her den.
"Winter?" Caspian lightly called. There was a moment of silence, then Winter came charging out.
"Father!" He yelped.
"How are you? Did MoonPack treat you well?" Caspian questioned, glancing sharply at Shakira.
"They treated me fine father! Now I wanna go see mother!" Winter cried.
"Say thank you too Shakira and Smoke." Caspian spat the word Smoke.
"Thank you Shakira!" Winter trotted into the den. "Thanks Smoke!"
"Alright, let's go!" Caspian told Winter. Caspian looked at Shakira, she knew he wanted her to follow him.
"Smoke, I'm going to make sure Winter and his father get back. I'll be back soon."
"Okay Shakira. See you soon."
Smoke dipped his head and padded back into the den. Shakira, Winter, and Caspian turned around, heading for ValleyPack territory.
"Hey Winter, do you know how to get back to your mother?"
"Show me! Go back to mother, and if you gets lost just howl."
"Okay!" Winter raced a head in the direction of ValleyPack.
"I'm not stupid, I know you just wanted to talk to me alone." Shakira sighed.
"I was just going to tell you that I'm sorry I got mad. A- and I thought about it, and, I'm letting go."
"I'm trying to stop loving you. I'm going to admit it, I love Autumn. She's great. Our pups are perfect. You're the only thing that's making me hesitate. So I'm letting go of you. We can still be friends, but we need to stay loyal, I see that now. You were right all along." He muttered.
"Thank you, Caspian. And of course we can still be friends." Shakira whispered, brushing along him.
"Thank you for dealing with me." He laughed.
Shakira snorted, and kept walking. Caspian fell silent. She was relieved that he was done with her, but also a little upset. She always thought if in the end, she didn't want to be with Smoke anymore, then she could go be with Caspian. Not anymore. But everything turned out for the better.
When Shakira and Caspian reached the border, Caspian stopped. And Shakira was afraid that Caspian changed his mind about loving her.
"Goodbye, Caspian." Shakira choked out. She knew she would see him again. At meeting and such, but just the thought of leaving him just as friends hurt her.
Caspian didn't wait for her to say anything else, as he loped away. Shakira bowed her head, the love she felt for him an hour ago disappeared. She could have her normal life back, Shakira and Caspian would never love each other again.
"Isn't this what you wanted?" She heard Arctica question in her ear.
"It is, thank you mother." There was no answer from Arctica, so Shakira ran back to camp.
"There you are Shakira! What took so long?" Dakota asked.
"Sorry, the pup slowed us down." Shakira quickly lied.
"Pups. I understand, but don't you remember what tonight is?"
"Well, Echo and I are getting to old to be Alphas. Tonight I'm choosing a new Alpha male to take my place. Then the new Alpha will choose his mate."
"Right! I completely forgot!"
"And one last thing. Echo is having our pups."
"That's awesome! But, isn't Echo a little old to have pups?"
"She's younger than me." Dakota shrugged.
"Whatever you say Dakota. It's insane that almost six years ago, you told me that you were my father." Shakira murmured.
"I've never really asked this, mostly because I didn't really want to know.. but, are you happy that I'm your father?.." he asked shyly.
Shakira gaped at him. "Your kidding right?" When Dakota said nothing she continued. "I'm so happy your my father! And that Arctica's my mother!" Shakira cried.
"I'm so happy about that."
Shakira rested her head on his back for a second then loped away to the great rock. She sat there for a few minutes until Dakota trotted onto the rock. Then more slowly and stiffly, Echo followed.
"Is everyone here?" Dakota asked.
"Now everyone is." Smoke called out, walking up to Shakira and sitting beside her.
"Perfect. Now you all know that I'm getting too old to be Alpha. Echo can still technically be Alpha female but she has decided to stop so she stay with me, and because our coming pups!" Dakota cheered. All the wolves howled together. The naming of a new Alpha wasn't a time to be sad, but a time to celebrate! It showed how strong MoonPack was. Shakira knew there was a chance that Smoke would be chosen as Alpha male, but she knew her father already had someone in mind. He kept glancing at Razor, a quiet but strong wolf. Shakira used to like him as a pup. But not anymore.
"Now! Without further ado. Our new Alpha male will be... Razor! I have chosen you because of your calm, strong, and brave nature."
Razor stood gaping there. He had not expected to to made Alpha, Shakira guessed. "I- I... thank you!" Razor staggered. He quickly scrambled up the great rock to stand beside Dakota. Echo was staring proudly at him, and Shakira remembered that Razor was her brother.
Dakota dipped his head. "Razor, please take care of my pack. I here by officially step down as Alpha male, and fully name Razor as the new Alpha!" Dakota howled.
"I here by also step down as Alpha female. And I give Razor full responsibility to choose a female in my place!" Echo called out, backing off the rock, followed by Dakota.
"Thank you so much Dakota and Echo. I will try to live up to your amazing leadership. And hopefully so will the Alpha female. I have already chosen her." Razor turned his head toward Sky. A small, but strong looking she-wolf. "Sky, I want you to be Alpha female for you great ideas. And by asking you to be Alpha, I'm hoping you will be my mate."
Sky looked up at him and happiness glowed in her eyes. "Of course I'll be Alpha! And yes! Yes, yes, yes, I'll be your mate!" Sky told him excitedly. Cloud, a very old and snappy wolf nuzzled Sky. Shakira knew Cloud was her mother. Sky charged up the great rock. And put her head on Razors back. "Thank you." She whispered.
Razor stood there for a second nuzzling her, then turned back to the pack. "Okay, let's make sure we have patrols and hunting parties. Patrols will be Birch, Stone, Dakota, and Sky. Hunting will be me, Shakira, Smoke, and Berry! Let's get moving!" Razor hopped down, and trotted over to Shakira. While Sky walked over to Stone.
"Who's going to watch the pups?" Shakira asked Smoke.
"Oh no! I completely forgot about your pups. Shakira, you can stay. Well, actually. I'll leave it to you two to decide on who's staying." Razor frantically rasped. Shakira flicked her tail along his side, telling him to calm down.
"I'll stay." Shakira huffed.
"You sure?" Smoke asked.
"Yeah, I was out yesterday, you go." Shakira insisted.
"Okay, see you soon."
"Bye." Shakira nudged him away then turned and trotted back to the den. When she got there, Ashira, Shadow, and Niko were asleep. Only frost was awake, and was staring at the den walls. "Frost?" Shakira whispered.
"It's happening now mother..." Frost said quietly.
"What is?" Shakira nervously asked.
"The time of father has come." Frost turned around to face her. He looked so tired.
"No..." Shakira cried.
Frost said nothing, but looked behind Shakira, outside of the den. Shakira looked as well. Everything seemed normal. Then she heard a howl, it was a calling howl from Razor. Alphas only ever called that unless it was an emergency.
"Everyone up!" Shakira snarled, nudging her pups up.
"What's happening?" Ashira moaned.
"Just get up! We're going for a pack run. Just don't look behind you and run!" Shakira ordered.
The pups whimpered but didn't object anymore. They scrambled up and ran out the cave door, following the group of wolves heading toward Razor's call. Shakira rushed out after them, looking around for Smoke.
"Shakira!" She heard his distant voice call.
"Smoke!" Shakira yelled, stopping and waiting for him to catch up. When he caught up, Shakira bolted again, with Smoke at her side.
"Where are the pups?" Smoke gasped between breaths.
"A little bit ahead of us. It's okay, I can see them." Shakira rasped.
Smoke didn't say anything else. He just kept running toward the sound of Razor's howl. She could see him now, and soon they reached him.
"What's happening?" A few wolves cried at once. Sunrise was the loudest. She was a really paranoid wolf ever since her mother died without warning. She just collapsed and died. It was terrifying, Shakira had only been a pup when that happened.
"Humans were spotted racing toward camp on huge creatures they call horses. They had knives, bows, and something else that was shiny on them. We have to leave now! We'll split up into five different groups and head into the forest then into ValleyPack territory. Split yourselves up, the amount of wolves in each group doesn't matter! Just hurry!" Razor shouted. When he finished, he and Sky joined Echo and Dakota. Berry joined them and they bolted away, heading toward ValleyPack. The wolves started splitting themselves up, and following Razor's group. Shakira could hear the thundering hooves of the approaching humans and horses.
"Ashira, Shadow, Niko, and Frost! Come here!" Smoke called. The four pups ran toward them. They all looked terrified. Even Frost, but he was staring at Smoke.
"Let's go! Smoke you lead!" Shakira ordered. To her surprise, Smoke didn't object. He just nodded and ran. To Shakira's dismay, her group was the last too go. Shakira looked behind her and hoped to see the humans hundreds of yards away, but she saw that they were close to ten feet from them. "Go!" Shakira howled desperately. Smoke and the pups ran faster. Then Shakira heard the biggest bang of her life, time seemed to slow down. She saw Shadow collapse, and she knew he was dead.
"Shadow's dead!" Shakira cried to Smoke. Shakira knew that was a mistake to say.
A low growl came from his throat and he whirled around, charging toward the humans.
"Follow the pack you three! Don't stop!" Shakira yelled at her pups. They nodded and kept running. Shakira stopped and chased after Smoke. "Smoke! Stop!" Shakira yelled.
"They killed our son! Let me take down at least one with honor!" He snarled.
"It's not worth it Smoke! I can't lose you!" She cried.
Smoke didn't answer. He just charged toward the humans. But again, a huge bang sounded from the shiny object that the humans held, and Smoke collapsed. The human stopped the horses and got off. The humans picked Smoke up and put his dead body on the horses back. One ran back to grab Shadow and did the same with him. Shakira stopped and glared at them with such a cold hatred.
One of the men looked at her and pointed the shiny thing at her. But another man shook his head. "Leave her. She's a mother, all we needed was an adult and a pup." The man said. The other one muttered and got back on his horse. The others got back on too and rode away with the carcasses of her mate and pup.
"I'm sorry my love." She heard Smoke whisper. He was already visiting her as a ghost.
"Every time I love a wolf, they leave." Shakira whimpered.
"It's okay mama." Shadow cooed.
"It's not okay." Shakira growled. She didn't wait for a response from the wolves. She ran back toward ValleyPack territory. Her pups would need her.
"Mama!" Niko cried when Shakira caught up to them at ValleyPack territory.
"Hush." Shakira snapped. Her pups went silent and looked at the ground. Shakira felt guilty. It wasn't fair that she was taking her sadness and anger out on them, but she needed them to be quiet. She needed to take this in.
"Everyone calm down! I don't think anyone is dead!" Razor called.
Shakira looked up and caught his eye.
"Who's dead Shakira?"
"Shadow.. a- and Smoke." She whimpered.
"I'm sorry.. we will mourn them later. But for now, let's hope Ashen and Harmony are feeling good today."
"Fathers dead?" Ashira cried.
"And Shadow?" Niko whimpered.
"Yes." Shakira sighed.
The pups whimpered and curled up next to each other, falling asleep in seconds. They were probably exhausted from all the running. They were only ten weeks old. Shakira laid down next to them. Comforting them.
MoonPack waited at the edge of ValleyPack territory for several hours. It wasn't until sunset when wolves finally spotted them. Soon, charging toward them was Ashen, Harmony, Caspian, Demora, Hazel, and a few more wolves that Shakira didn't recognize. Razor and Sky trotted up to meet them.
"Greetings." Sky said dipping her head.
"Hello. We would like to speak with your Alpha's." Ashen snapped.
"Dakota and Echo retired, I am Razor, and this is Sky. We are the new Alpha's." Razor commented briskly.
"I'm sorry, I didn't know." Ashen said, dipping his head. "What is your entire pack doing on my territory?"
"Humans chased us out of our own territory. Smoke and Shadow were killed. We are asking if we can stay on your territory until tomorrow." Razor said.
"Humans.." Ashen sighed. "You are a loud to stay. But you must leave by sunset tomorrow."
Ashen dipped his head. He signaled for all of the wolves to follow him. Soon MoonPack and the ValleyPack patrol were in the ValleyPack camp.
"We don't have any extra dens. So you'll have to sleep outside." Harmony sighed.
"It's okay, we can manage. Thank you so much. We can hunt for ourselves tomorrow." Sky said.
"Anytime." Harmony flicked her tail and the patrol dispersed. Each heading to there dens. Shakira was disappointed when Caspian didn't come to say hello. Shakira shook her head. It didn't matter. Smoke and Shadow were dead. Shakira didn't know what to do. Ashira, Frost, and Niko curled up again and were asleep. Shakira didn't have anything else to do, so she curled up with them. Sleep finding her easily.
Chapter Thirteen: Let's go.
"Shakira. Wake up!" A loud whisper called.
"Caspian?" Shakira asked, standing up.
"Want to go to the lake?" He asked.
"Follow me." He whispered. Soon Caspian and Shakira were at the lake. They sat in silence. Shakira head hurt so much. Her dreams had been filled with visions of Smoke falling to the ground, dead.
"I'm so sorry about Smoke, Shakira" Caspian said, breaking the silence.
"Thank you Caspian." Shakira whispered, leaning on him. The sky was clouded and foggy. The world felt dull.
"I know you loved him with all your heart."
"I really did. He was a great and noble wolf." Shakira sighed.
"I- I..." Caspian stammered.
"What?" Shakira asked.
"I was wondering if you wanted to go to our cave?" Caspian blurted.
Shakira stared at him for a while, then laughed. "Sure Caspian. That sounds nice right now." Caspian lit up with happiness. He jumped into the water and paddled to the middle of the lake, waiting for Shakira to get in. She slowly waded into the water, not feeling very confident.
"It's okay Shakira. You can do this." He encouraged.
She snorted, and paddled up to him. When she spotted the hole at the bottom on the lake, she dived. She kicked with her back legs until she reached the hole. Shakira swam through it until she reached the small cave. After a short moment, Caspian resurfaced. They scampered onto the bank and laid down.
"It's so nice in here." Caspian commented. Shakira nodded and closed her eyes. Something glowed at the back of her mind and she pictured Arctica walking up to her.
"Go be with him Shakira. Tell him what your heart is screaming to you." She whispered to Shakira.
"Thank you mother." Shakira thought. She opened her eyes and looked at Caspian.
"What is it?" He asked nervously.
"I love you so much Caspian. If your still up to it. Let's leave. Let's go be together. I'm ready to be with you forever." She told him.
"Oh Shakira! I've always pictured this moment. I love you more than anything in this entire world! I'll be with you! Of course I will!" He cried happily.
Shakira started licking his head. She was glad Arctica told her to tell him. "Let's stay here for a few more minutes. And then I'm going to make sure. Niko, Ashira, and Frost stay with Berry. There old enough to eat meat. I'm also going to say bye to Dakota and Echo."
"But.. we can't tell anyone." Caspian said.
"I'll say bye in a different way than normal. Don't worry." Shakira laughed.
"Okay, I'll do the same for Ashen, Harmony, and Autumn. I'm just going to tell Demora. She won't care. She's a very unique wolf."
"Let's go." Shakira said. She dived back into the water and swam back through the tunnel and up to the surface of the lake. Shakira swam towards shore. When she reached it, she waited for Caspian to reach her.
"Hmmm, so you do still love each other." A voice snorted.
Shakira spun around to see Demora standing in the bushes. Caspian trotted up beside Shakira.
"D- Demora?" Shakira stammered.
"It's okay Shakira. Like I said, Demora is a very unique wolf. We can tell her." Caspian told her calmly.
"Let me guess. You two are leaving together?" Demora questioned.
"Yes." Shakira admitted.
"Well, I hope you were planning to say goodbye to me."
Caspian laughed. "Your always so calm about everything. It's what I love about you Demora. And of course I was planning to say goodbye."
"Good to know." Demora laughed. She touched noses with Caspian then Shakira. "Good luck out there. It can be dangerous." She warned.
"Thank you Demora. We're going to say goodbye in a different way too everyone else first though." Caspian laughed.
"Oh hush you!" Shakira yelled, smacking him with her tail.
"Let's go say goodbye." He whispered. Shakira nodded and they trotted back to camp. Most wolves were awake when they reached camp again.
"Mother!" A voice snarled from behind her. It was Frost.
"I'll be right back Caspian." Shakira told Caspian. He nodded and trotted toward Ashen and Harmony's den. "What is it?" She asked Frost.
He huffed. "Why are you leaving with him?" He asked.
"Because I love him Frost. I've always loved him. We loved each other way before your father and I met." Shakira knew Frost would predict what she was doing. So she didn't bother lying.
"What about father? It hasn't even been a day since he died and you already have another mate!" Frost snapped.
"Deep down Frost. Caspian was always my mate."
"What about me? What about Niko and Ashira? Do we even matter?"
"Frost. I will always love you and your siblings. You are so special and important to me. But I need this. It's the only way I can be happy."
"I want you to be happy, but I want you to stay."
"I would stay if your father was still here. But I need Caspian right now. We're going to run away and live an amazing life. Just like you are. I'm leaving you with Berry. She'll take care of you. And one day you will understand how love changes so many things. Just know Frost. That I will always remember and love you. Along with Ashira and Niko. I might see you again one day. But stay strong and live the best life possible."
Frost glared at her. "I hope I never see you again. And mark my words if I do, you will regret it." He threatened. Shakira gaped at him, but he ran away. She shook her head. He was just mad and upset. He didn't mean it. She headed to where she last saw Berry fall asleep. Luckily she was still there.
"Hey Berry.. can I talk to you alone?" Shakira asked her. Berry nodded and followed Shakira away from MoonPack.
"What is it?" She asked curiously.
"I need you take my pups. I can't stay with them anymore. They remind me too much of their father. I'm going to leave MoonPack. I'll be a lone wolf."
"Of course I'll take them. But the life of a loner is dangerous." Berry warned.
"I know. But I'll be fine. Thank you."
"Of course. I'll miss you Shakira. I'll try to be as great as a mother that you were to them."
Shakira dipped her head and trotted toward Echo and Dakota. She told them what she had told Berry.
"I respect that Shakira." Echo said. Dakota nodded.
"Thank you." She touched noses with both of them then trotted to the place where Caspian had left. She waited for a few minutes, then he came trotting over.
"Are we all good to go?" He asked.
"I'm ready if you are." She whispered.
"I'm ready. Let's go." Caspian looked at the camp once more, then dashed off. Shakira looked back once more. She saw Ashira, and Niko sadly watching her. Frost was glaring her. She mouthed "I love you" then raced after Caspian.
"I will never forgive you Caspian!" Shakira heard Harmony scream. Shakira glanced back and saw Harmony racing after them.
"Go Caspian! Go! Go to the forest and meet me at the edge of it at the East!" Shakira shouted, loud enough for Caspian to hear.
"I'll see you soon!" He yelled. Shakira rushed to the forest and dashed through it, avoiding trees and other things. Shakira had seen this forest before, it was small but dense. Every territory had a forest it seemed. Shakira hoped that the forest scents covered up her own.
"If I ever see you again Caspian and Shakira! I will kill you!" She heard Harmony's distant voice shriek.
Shakira shook off her threat. She never needed to go back to the Packs. She was done with them forever. She and Caspian were nothing more than loners. It was several more minutes until she reached the edge of the Eastern part of the forest. Caspian was already there.
"I thought she got you." He sighed in relief.
"She went deranged! Did you tell her you were leaving with me?"
"No! I told her and Ashen that I didn't like Pack life and was leaving. Harmony said she respected that and nuzzled me. Ashen said and did the same. I guess she saw me with you and run away with you. She may act quiet, but she is one of the smartest wolves in history. It's the only reason why my father picked her as his mate and Alpha female."
"That's amazing and terrifying."
"All it takes is the tiniest clue. When I was a pup, I was walking around with her and I glanced at my oldest she-wolf friend twice. Well Harmony saw it once and asked if I loved her. And I did. Harmony is always right."
"Demora told me about that wolf."
"Her name was Crystal. She was amazing. I loved her so much. We were only pups and I saw her body by the river. Her head was gone and she was stabbed. Her beautiful grey coat completely red." Caspian choked out.
"That's so horrible." Shakira shuddered.
"I miss her.." he whispered.
"I miss you too." A voice responded.
"No.." Caspian squeaked. He slowly turned around, along with Shakira. A beautiful grey wolf stood there. She was staring at Caspian with such powerful love in her eyes.
"Hello Caspian." She said.
"C- Crystal. Your all grown up." He whispered.
She snorted. "Just because I'm dead doesn't mean I can't grow."
"I know! I'm sorry! It's just... your so beautiful..."
"Thank you.. and who's this?" Crystal asked curiously, turning to look at Shakira.
"This is Shakira. She's my mate. I love her."
"Your Arctica's daughter."
"Yes." Shakira replied nervously. Would Crystal be mad?
"Arctica and I are great friends. She's spoken of you, and I always hoped to meet you. I know what you two are doing. Your running away to be together. And I understand. I'll leave you now. Good luck."
"Thank your Crystal." Shakira said, dipping her head.
"Goodbye, I love you." Caspian murmured. He nuzzled her then turned to go with Shakira. When Shakira looked behind her, Crystal was gone.
"I know.." Caspian whispered.
"Where should we go?" Shakira asked.
"The mountains. There's plenty of goats and other things for food. Plenty of trees. And there will be a cave or den somewhere."
"Smart. Let's go, the mountains are far away."
"Goodbye, ValleyPack!" Caspian shouted.
"Goodbye MoonPack!" Shakira also called. Caspian turned and loped away. Shakira followed. They were heading to an unknown life. It would be kill or be killed. They were leaving everything they had ever known and loved. And there was no other wolf Shakira would rather be leaving with. "Here we go." Shakira thought. It was now or never.
Chapter Fourteen: Were Here.
"Let's stop here for the night." Caspian said. It had been three days since they left. Nothing much had happened. They go to bed when the sky is completely black. Then they wake up at dawn. They hunt, get water, and walk. Then when the sun was at its highest peak in the sky they would drink, eat, and rest again. Then they would walk again. When the sun went down they ate, drank, walked some more. Then when the sky was black they slept. Then the same thing the next day. Shakira had never been so sore. Not even after she fell off the cliff.
"I can see the mountains. We'll most likely be there by tomorrow night. The next two days at the most." Caspian commented.
"That's great." Shakira grunted. She was so tired.
"We're so close. Don't give up yet." Caspian cheered. Shakira smiled at him. The moon was full, tonight was the meeting. But that didn't matter.
"You know how every full moon is a meeting?" She asked Caspian.
"Well. The first meeting was our first official meeting of each other. We should start a tradition where every full moon, we howl. Just for five minutes, we howl together." She suggested.
"That's a great idea!"
Shakira licked him, then looked up at the bright moon. She howled softly. Caspian joined her, also starting off softly. Soon they were projecting everything they had. Their tails were twined together as they howled. It was the best moment of Shakira's life. When she was finally finished, Caspian stopped too.
"Can you hear that?" Caspian asked suddenly.
Shakira pricked her ears. It was howling, but near the mountains! "There's other wolves at the mountains!" Shakira exclaimed.
"I hope there friendly. This is a good and bad thing. It shows that the mountains or near the mountains is a suitable place to live. But, these wolves could be very territorial."
"You have your mothers brain." Shakira whispered.
"Is that a bad thing?" He asked.
"No!" Shakira hit him with her tail again. "Of course it's not bad! It's a great thing!"
"That's good." Caspian whispered. Caspian was probably exhausted. He was constantly scouting ahead. And he usually was the one who hunted.
"Let's sleep." Shakira told him, laying down.
"Thank you." Caspian sighed, collapsing. Shakira felt bad, tomorrow she would scout and hunt.
"Tomorrow I'm hunting and scouting. It's not fair that you have to everyday."
"I'm not going to fight with you.. so okay." Caspian mumbled, already dozing off.
"Goodnight." Shakira whispered, also dozing off. Soon, she was fast asleep.
"Shakira."' Arctica's voice sounded from behind her.
"Hello mother." Shakira said, dipping her head as she turned around.
"I can see how happy you are."
"I truly am."
"I want everyone to see this." Arctica whispered. She howled, and again, Shakira felt drawn to it.
"What do you want now?" An annoyed sigh came.
"Oh hush you Ash." Arctica laughed.
"Shakira!" Ash cried.
"Hello Ash." More familiar faces walked up to her. "Moon, Cinder, Thorn, Shadow! And, S- Smoke."
"Hello Shakira." Smoke whispered.
"Are you mad?"
"No. Your heart was never truly with me. But I want nothing than to see you happy."
"Thank you. I'm glad you understand."
"And Moon. I haven't seen you in so long! How are you?" Shakira exclaimed.
"I'm great, Shakira. I miss you. And if you ever see Stone or Birch again, please tell them I love and miss them."
"Of course I'll tell them if I ever see them again."
Moon dipped her head and sat down. Shakira realized what was happening. They would each talk to her and then sit down. She was guessing it was some type of ceremony. Cinder stepped forward.
"Shakira, you are my sister. You are so strong, so beautiful, and so amazing. If I was still alive I would be the proudest sister on earth!"
"Thank you Cinder. I couldn't ask for a better sister or brother." Shakira said, glancing at Thorn. Cinder dipped her head and sat down. Thorn smiled at Shakira, then sat down beside Cinder.
"Mama, you are so brave. I'm sorry that I got hit." Shadow stared at Shakira, he was so brave. She missed him a lot.
"It's not your fault."
"I'm still sorry."
"It's okay. I love you."
"I love you too."
Shadow quickly sat down. Ash looked around and realized they were all waiting for her to speak.
"Oh, oops. Okay, Shakira. You are one of the strongest wolves I know. Both physically and mentally. You've been dealing with Caspian for most of your life. Just know I'm proud of you."
"Shakira. I called all of your family members to say all of this too you because until you die, you will never see us again. An ordinary wolf goes without seeing there dead friends and family until they die. But, as you know, your not ordinary." Arctica persisted. "You can call for us for as long as you want but you will never see us again."
"But! I need you."
"Your life was so confusing that we let you talk to us. But you have chosen your life path now. You'll have to make choices by yourself." Arctica calmly said.
"But how will I know if it's right or not?"
"Your heart will tell you."
"That's really cheesy."
"So is life."
"Thank you mother. Thank you Ash, Moon, Shadow, Smoke, Cinder, and Thorn. I needed this. I wish I could still talk to you after this but I understand why I can't."
"Goodluck Shakira." Moon whispered.
"Indeed." Ash commented. The rest of the wolves nodded their heads.
"I love you all." Shakira yelled as the wolves evaporated.
Shakira woke up as the sun began to climb up from behind the mountains. Caspian was still asleep. Shakira knew she wouldn't be able to fall back asleep, so she decided to go hunting. Shakira ran through the field of where they had slept for the night. The wind whipped across her face and her coat whirled around in the wind. Shakira felt like she could run for years. MoonPack was mostly surrounded by trees and rocks, but out here in a field, with miles upon miles of land, she never felt like stopping.
"This was the life meant for me!" Shakira happily cheered at the clouds. A flash of movement caught her attention and the scent of deer struck her nose. Shakira quickly halted. She crouched preparing to leap at the deer. When she saw it, she leaned back then jumped at the unexpected animal. It squealed as she bit it's throat, ending its life quickly. Shakira felt a shock of sympathy when she realized this deer had been pregnant. Shakira shook it off, it was just prey. Not wanting to wake Caspian if he was still sleeping, she quickly dragged the deer back to Caspian.
"There you are!" Caspian sighed when Shakira reached him.
"I didn't want to wake you."
"Thank you. That was the best sleep I've had in days."
"I got a deer!"
"Great job! I knew there would be deer out here and your good at catching hose but I was worried I would have to teach you hunting on a valley." Caspian said, sniffing the deer.
"I'm not that useless." Shakira laughed.
"Of course your not useless." Caspian replied, sitting up.
"That was a joke." Shakira said, sitting next to him. "Now let's eat so we can go."
"Yes your majesty." Caspian said, bowing.
Shakira jumped on him, pinning him to the ground playfully.
"The queen had gotten me! Oh the horror!" He cried.
Shakira nipped his shoulder. "Okay, enough playing, let's eat."
Caspian nodded and began to eat the deer. Shakira ate too. And when they finished, Shakira led the way towards the mountains again.
"We'll finally reach the mountains today!" Caspian cheered happily.
"It won't be until nightfall though! We'll have to sleep in the fields again. Then tomorrow we can start climbing the mountain."
"Sounds good!" Caspian nuzzled her. "I'm so happy you decided to be with me."
"It was the right choice."
"Once we reach the mountains, our new life has officially begun!"
"What do you want to name our future pups?" Shakira asked gently.
"That's a horrid name! Maybe we should call you fuzzy instead."
"I like my name thanks."
"Then let's not torture our pups."
"Wanna race?" Caspian asked, challenging her with his stare.
"Sure. Three-, two-, go!" Shakira yelled, purposely not finishing the countdown. She bursed forward, gaining speed by the second.
"Cheater!" Caspian growled happily. He raced after her, huffing as he pushed himself forward.
"If we keep this speed up and don't take as long to eat, drink, and rest, we may be able to start climbing the mountains today!" Shakira over her shoulder to him.
"I agree! But let's not waste our breath talking!" Caspian called back.
Shakira nodded an agreement. She hoped that they would find a cave today and would hopefully settle in it. They would need moss, feathers, and fur to make it soft so they would have to collect that as well.
After a few hours of running, Shakira and Caspian took a break. She quickly hunted for them. She caught a rabbit and some birds.
"I'm surprised we haven't run into any trouble yet." Caspian comment as he ate his rabbit.
"Well your probably just spoiled that. Just watch trouble come now."
Caspian stared at her, looking concerned. "Oops."
"It's fine. But hurry up, if we keep running like we did, we will reach the mountains within an hours. And it's only the middle of the day!" Shakira told him happily.
"At last!" Cried Caspian happily.
"I'm ready to go. Are you?" Shakira asked.
Caspian licked his lips then nodded. He took off again towards the mountains, which were faint hills in the distance.
Shakira and Caspian ran for another fifteen minutes until Shakira felt rumbling under her paws. She struggled to keep her balance.
"What is that?" Shakira asked Caspian who was running at her side and looked equally troubled.
"A bunch of something big."
Shakira scented the air, a sharp smell hit her nose. "A wild herd of horses!" She reported to him.
"Go! Run as fast as you can!" Shakira shrieked.
Caspian zipped ahead, running as fast as his legs would carry him. Shakira desperately ran behind him. A few horses didn't bother her. But a whole herd! A few months ago, when her pups were still a few days old, a herd of horses ran through there territory. Elenor, a senior wolf, had gotten trampled by there thundering hooves. Horses made Shakira nervous, they were huge! Everything about them was creepy. She had to admit they looked tasty though.
"There they are!" Caspian yelled, looking to his right.
Shakira followed his gaze and saw the herd. There had to be at least sixty of them! They galloped gracefully, missing no beats in their stride. "I think we're fine as long as we don't spook them!" Shakira told Caspian. He nodded keeping a watchful eye on them.
Shakira glanced at them again. She could see the leading horse, which the elders called the lead mare. She was a big horse, her coat was brown. Shakira didn't understand her long black tail that swept the ground. It was a bunch of stand of hair, it looked nothing like a wolf's tail. They also had the same stands of hair on their forehead and neck.
"They're so different but so interesting to look at!" Caspian commented.
"Look! There's a baby! It has such long legs!" Shakira yelled at Caspian. The hair that was on the necks of other horses stuck straight up on the baby.
"That's incredible!" Caspian gasped. Shakira was confused by the tone of his voice. He was so fascinated, but the baby wasn't that interesting. Then she saw what he saw. A huge black male horse galloped through the crowd of horses and charged in front of the lead mare. He then quickly stopped and raised his front legs off the ground, suddenly striking the ground many times after. When Shakira got closer, she realized that the horse had been striking a cougar.
"They help defend each other! Just like a pack." Shakira said. This was so amazing. She was surprised the horses hadn't realized the wolves racing beside them but she didn't mind too much.
"Come on, let's go faster so we can reach the mountains!" Caspian suggested.
"Okay!" Shakira agreed, taking one last glance at the her before pushing her speed faster.
"We made it!" Caspian cheered. They had just reached the base of the mountains, they were both exhausted.
"Maybe we should just sleep at the base all night." Shakira suggested between gasping breaths.
"Sure, I'm okay with that."
"Thank you!" Shakira collapsed, and curled up to sleep. She had never been so tired. After seeing the horses, she and Caspian had ran at full speed the rest of the way. Her muscled screamed and burned. Shakira doubted she would be able to climb the mountain tomorrow. But she would try.
"I'll catch us some food." Caspian whispered. Shakira nodded a response. When Caspian returned with a few rabbits, Shakira slowly ate her share.
"I know you don't want to get up but you have to drink some water." Caspian said, nudging her side.
"Your dehydrated. Please drink Shakira, I think your getting sick."
"Please, I know what sick is. When I fell off the cliff, remember when I told you I had been sick earlier. That's sick."
"Just drink water. Please."
"Fine..." Shakira folded her legs under herself, then tried to haul herself up. Her legs buckled and she collapsed.
Shakira grunted and tried again, she pulled herself up again. When her legs didn't buckle she stood up taller. "Happy?"
"Very, thank you."
"Where's the water?"
"Follow me." Caspian led the way and Shakira slowly followed. Her legs trembled more and more at each step. After a while, they reached a little stream. Shakira quickly drank the water, enjoying the liquid that soothed her aching throat. When her stomach couldn't take anymore, she lifted her tongue from the cool liquid.
"Okay, thank you for convincing me to drink. I feel better now." Shakira admitted, looking at Caspian.
He lifted his head from the stream as well and grinned. "Aren't I always right?"
"Yeah, always." He decided.
Shakira pounced on him, even though her muscles screamed a protest. He swatted her face gently.
"Come on! We should rest. Once we're both awake and fed in the morning then we can start climbing the muscles." Caspian said affectionately. Shakira nodded but didn't move. She was so happy with her choice to go him. She loved him so much. She rested her head under his.
"I love you Caspian. I'm sorry for making you wait so long." She whispered. He sighed deeply and licked her cheek. Then he rolled off of his back and stood up. He stared at her and Shakira had a flashback of when they first met at the meeting. That was so long ago. She had been so young. She hardly understood what it really meant to love. But now, standing here with him years later, showed how powerful love could be.
"It's okay. There's no need to blame yourself. I'm proud of us, you know. For years we went through so much. I know it was harder for you than it was for me. Yes in the end I loved Autumn. But I knew that if you ever came back to me I would be with you in seconds. For you it was different. You really loved Smoke from the beginning. I was just that heavy lie that held onto you for years." He finally whispered gently.
"All I ever wanted as a pup was to be the most loyal and brave wolf. I wanted to lead the pack and have a mate. But it's so different now."
"But you fought through it."
"I'm happy with the choice I made to be with you. But I will never forget the look Frost gave me. He hates me.."
"I'm sorry. I know it's probably super hard." He said, sympathy glowing in his eyes.
"That doesn't matter anymore. I'm with you and I'm happy. I don't need anything else." She nudged him with her nose. How could she not love him. He was so patient and kind. He was perfect.
"Come on, let's rest then when we both wake up, we'll go. We don't need to rush anything." Caspian said, leaning into her.
"Okay. I'm ready to sleep so I'll see you in the morning." Shakira yawned, her jaws stretching open wide.
"Goodnight my dearest love." Caspian said, licking her shoulder with rhythmic strokes. Shakira slowly laid down, Caspian joining her after a few more moments.
Shakira woke up back in MoonPack. She looked around, confused. Had her leaving all just been a dream? She heard footsteps behind her and turned around. She saw a young wolf walking by, his eyes full of hatred and anger. Then she gasped, his forehead had the dark hairs that formed a diamond. It was Frost, but years later when he was an adult. Shakira realized she was having a vision of the future.
"Why the angry look Frost? Our pups will be here any day now..." a new voice asked.
"My mother will return soon. She's bringing more wolves with her. We must prepare." Frost spun around and faced the new wolf, who had without knowing it, stood beside Shakira. "Rose I need you too tell the wolves to be prepared for her. She's smart. Tell them if they see her or even scent anything- and I mean anything, then they will report to me immediately. Once she's here we'll listen to what she has to say and then attack. It's simple." Frost snarled. Shakira realized that he was Alpha male. And this Rose character was his mate.
"Yes Frost. But, what about our coming pups? They will be here in a few days. I want them to grow up knowing their father." Rose whispered.
"I'll visit them, don't worry. But keep in mind that I won't have all the time in the world for them."
Frost's eyes soften and he quickly licked her head. "Rose, I chose you too be Alpha female because of your strength. You know I'm not the type of wolf to commit my life to a mate, but I still love you."
"I love you too-" Rose cut off as another wolf trotted up to them. Rose's eyes suddenly changed into an angry and mean wolf. "What?" Rose snapped at the new wolf.
"A strange white wolf and three pups are approaching." The wolf stammered nervously.
Frost's eyes hardened again with hatred. "Shakira is here." He snarled.
"What should we do?" The wolf asked.
"Wait for her to reach us. Make sure Ashira is there waiting for her. Let my sister lead Shakira here and then I'll deal with her."
"Yes Frost." The wolf dipped his head and loped away.
"Good luck Frost. I'll be in the den." Rose said, her eyes still cold.
Frost dipped his head and trotted away. Shakira quickly followed him, curious on who the other three wolves with her were. But before she turned the corner to see herself, the ground underneath her crumpled away and she was wrapped in a blanket of darkness.
Shakira gasped when she woke up. She was laying back beside Caspian. It was the middle of the night. Shakira laid there with gasping breaths. Why did she return to MoonPack territory? Did Caspian die? There were so many possibilities. And Frost still despised her. But at least she knew his plan. She could use it against him in the future. Shakira shook her head. Going against her own son! What has her life come to! But at least Ashira was still alive. Shakira wondered if Niko would be alive in the future.
"Shakira, go back to sleep." Caspian moaned.
Shakira knew she wouldn't be able to sleep. So instead, she got up and got a drink of water. Her muscles felt a lot better from yesterday. Why had she had this vision? Surely she never had any reason to go back there. Even in years to come. Shakira shook her head, why was her life so confusing? She was hoping that once she left with Caspian, her life would be simple. But it was nowhere close.
"Why are you awake so early?" Caspian's voice sounded behind her.
"I woke up, so yeah."
Caspian yawned. "Can you go back too sleep?"
"No, you can. Sorry for waking you.." Shakira said, nudging him.
"The earlier the better." Caspian shrugged . Shakira stared at him confused. Then he leaped into the stream.
"Ack! You little!" Shakira snarled as the water splashed all over her.
"Whoops. I sincerely apologize!" Caspian joked.
"Just be quiet." Shakira laughed.
"Okay, I'm awake. Let's go."
Shakira nodded. And loped away. The thudding of Caspian's paws told her that he was following. This was it. Today or tomorrow they would find there new home.
Chapter Thirteen: Who are you?
"Why do rocks have to be so sharp?" Shakira wailed. They had began their journey to find their new home a few hours ago. Her paws already hurt.
"I know, but I saw a cave a couple more miles up a head. We can do it!" Caspian said, encouraging her.
Shakira moaned at the thought of walking a few more miles of this. Then a thought hit her. "Wait, Caspian. Was the cave still on the hard like this or in a forest or on a valley?" Shakira asked nervously.
"It's was right below a forest and valley. The cave was right below it and there was a stone ledge leading up to the valley. It's okay."
Shakira sighed happily. The hard rocks hurt her paws so much. MoonPack territory was all grass, dotted with a few rocks. Her paws were soft from it, making this journey even harder. But once her paws got used to this footing, hopefully it wouldn't hurt as much.
"I know it hurts, but please fight through this. Here let me see your paws, I'm sure their fine."
Shakira stopped and lifted up her front left paw gingerly. Caspian gasped. It was ripped and bleeding. "You can go on, I'll rest and catch up later." She told him.
"Your funny." Caspian retorted.
"I won't leave you Shakira."
"Caspian, I know where to go. But I don't want to hold you back, just go." She insisted.
"What if a bear or mountain lion comes and I'm not here? What are you going to do then?"
"Then I'll find the strength to fight." Shakira's pads burned, she had to lay down.
Caspian snorted and trotted to a near-by tree. He started to lick the trunk and making sour faces. Shakira didn't understand what he was doing. After a while, he trotted back to her. His mouth was full of something. "Lift up your paw." He murmured carefully.
Shakira cocked her head to the side curiously. She pushed herself up and lifted her paw. He bent down and started licking something onto it. "What is that?" Shakira asked him.
"Tree sap. I saw our healing wolf do this once. Once it dries, then it will protect your pad from rocks, dust, and other things." Caspian responded. "This type of sap, I don't know what it's called, dries in about three minutes."
"That's so interesting. Is it gross?" Judging from the face he made before, she guessed it was, but she wanted to make sure.
"It's really bitter. And it gets stuck inside your mouth. Our healer usually just used a rock that we found in our camp called salt. It would clump it together and then you could spit it out or swallow it."
"Do you see any of the salt rock?"
"No, but I'll jut use the dust on the ground. It'll work the same, but taste's worse. Salt is just really small grains of white stone. If you lick the rock, then all the grains come off. The dirt will work. Now let me finish your paws." Caspian explained.
Shakira nodded. She held still as he continued to lick her paw. She could see the sap on them. It's was a really light brown. She quickly sniffed it. It smelled like wood. When he finished, he let her lean on him as she stood there for three minutes.
When three minutes had passed, Shakira put her foot down then lifted it back up. Nothing stuck to the sap, and her paw didn't hurt as much anymore. She huffed and lifted up her next paw. Caspian trotted back to the tree and licked the trunk again.
"Do you just lick it on or do you have a certain way to do it?" She asked. She just couldn't resist the question.
Caspian chuckled and opened his mouth. She peered inside it. He had rolled the sap up in a big ball. "Watch." He muttered.
Shakira pricked her ears. Caspian put the sap ball on her pad then flattened it. Then he started to lick the sap to spread it all around her pad.
"Wow!" Shakira cried. It was so incredible. When Caspian finished that paw he moved on to the next, and then her last paw. When the last paw dried, Caspian took a mouthful of dirt and after swishing in his mouth for a few moments, he spat it out. Then they continued their journey. Shakira was still amazed that her paws didn't hurt anymore. Once or twice she tried stepping on sharp rocks, but nothing happened.
"Sometimes we won't be able to stay in the valley and forest at all times. So we should collect the sap from the trees for us and our future pups." Caspian suggested, grinning slightly at the thought of their pups.
"Great idea! Come on, let's quicken our pace." Shakira loped ahead of Caspian. Happiness bloomed inside of her. They were so close! Shakira guessed that they could be there within the hour if they kept the pace up. Shakira explained her plan to Caspian.
"Sounds good to me!"
"Then let's go!" Shakira happily cheered. She and Caspian took off up the mountain. Their legs in sync as they sped up the rocky slope. Everything went well until Caspian came to a halt.
"Can you jump far?" Caspian asked.
Shakira lifted her front legs off the ground to get a better view. A few yards in front of them was a huge gap. "I- I can't jump that!" Shakira exclaimed.
"Well you have too.."
"Is there any other way across?" She whimpered.
"It doesn't look like it.."
"Of course." Shakira huffed.
"I'll go first."
Shakira nodded. She watched him as he trotted up a few feet, then bunched his muscles to jump. After staring at the gap for a few seconds, Caspian leaned back, then hurled himself off the ledge and over the gap. He cleared it with a few feet to spare.
"Your turn!" Caspian called to her. Shakira glanced nervously over the gap. What if she didn't make it? The world seemed to cave in. If she didn't make this jump, she didn't know if she would survive. The drop was definitely bigger than seventy feet. Shakira guessed it was about one hundred and twenty feet. She didn't know if she could do it.
"I don't know Caspian.. the- the cliff was just like this. I can't do this." She cried.
"I know you can do this! Just jump!"
Shakira stared at him. He completely believed she could make the jump. She had to believe him. Shakira took a deep breath. She had to do this. She trotted up a few more feet. Then she copied Caspian's position and bunched her muscles. Shakira stared at the gap, judging the distance. When Shakira felt a little more confident about jumping, she leaned back and after a few more moments, she shot off the ledge. Shakira closed her eyes, she couldn't look down.
"You made it!" Caspian cried.
"I did?" Shakira asked. Her eyes were still shut tight and she hadn't felt her paws hit the ground. She slightly opened her eyes, and saw that he was right. She was on the other side!
Caspian trotted up to her and wrapped his neck over hers.
"I knew you could do it!" He whispered.
"Thank you for believing in me."
"Come on. We don't have that much farther to go." Caspian smiled at her hopefully.
"I'd do anything to get away from the ledge right now." Shakira laughed.
"You lead the way."
Shakira nodded. She took off up the mountain side again. They were so close. Shakira could see the forest about half a mile up ahead.
"I see the forest!" Shakira called to Caspian. His eyes lit up with happiness.
They ran for about fifteen more minutes until they finally reached the forest. Caspian was right. There was a ledge leading up to the valley and forest right from the cave. They trotted down the rocky slope to see if the cave was even suitable. The mouth of the cave was big, and dusty. The cave itself wasn't that bad. It was was big, warm, not that dark, there were cracks in the wall so they could store things in it, and there was a hole in the ground for food. They would have to find a stream to get water.
"Let's go look for some water." Shakira suggested.
"Okay, and let's collects some sap on leaves."
Shakira nodded an agreement. She trotted away from the cave and back up the rocky slope. The valley was vast and beautiful. The forest was was also very vast, and beautiful. The trees were tall and bushy.
Caspian walked up beside her and pricked his ears.
"I think I can hear a stream, and it's not to far away." Caspian comments, sniffing the air.
"Okay, lead the way." Shakira nudged him forward. He pricked his ears one last time, then zipped away. Shakira followed him, taking in all the new scents. It was a little overwhelming. Caspian trotted for a bit longer until they reached a small pond. There were a bunch of little fish, swimming gracefully around.
"This is perfect." Shakira whispered happily.
"It's like we were meant to be here.." Caspian agreed.
Shakira snorted. "I wonder if any more wolves live by here?"
"I'm not sure. It's definitely possible. I hope we didn't take anyone's den.." Caspian commented.
"I hope not. And if we did that would be a shame." Shakira sighed.
"Very true." Caspian nodded his head.
"Well, I'll hunt, you collect sap." Shakira decided.
Caspian agreed, then trotted away to the trees. Shakira scented the air, hoping to catch the scent of deer or moose. When nothing caught her nose, she loped past the pond and farther into the valley. The footing underneath was still sharp and hard because of the rocks. The sap was probably wearing out, Shakira guessed.
When Shakira couldn't smell Caspian anymore, she halted and tried to find prey again. This time the scent of squirrel hit her nose. When she saw the furry creature sitting by a pine tree a few feet away, she crouched. As quietly and carefully as possible, Shakira glided across the grass. When she was in leaping range, she used her back feet to launch herself across the grass. Shakira landed on top of the squirrel, breaking its neck with her weight. It was a trick every MoonPack wolf learned as soon as they were aloud to hunt on their own. She went to pick up her prey when a twig snapped behind her. She whirled around. A shadow zipped away when she faced it.
"Who's out there?" Shakira snarled dangerously.
Another twig snapped behind her. Shakira stood there as if she hadn't heard it. Then when she knew the creature was close by, she shot around and leaped on the shadow, pinning it down. It wriggled around so fast, Shakira couldn't see what it was. It was big and furry.
"I wouldn't try to escape." Shakira suggested with a growl.
The creature stopped moving and Shakira realized it was a mountain wolf. It was a she-wolf. Her fur was long and light grey, her eyes were brown.
"Who are you?" The strange wolf asked. Her voice deep and raspy.
"Who I am is one of your concern. Who are you?" Shakira snapped.
The strange she-wolf sighed. "My name is Dove. Im meant to be on patrol thank you very much. I saw you, and because your not park of our pack, I attacked."
"There's packs asked?" Shakira asked curiously.
"Yes?.. where have you been? Under a rock?" Dove snapped.