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桔梗  / Kikyo 

Between the Lands 

 

Deric had begun drawing pictures.

 

Kikyo watched curiously, her shoulders relaxing significantly now that the white-haired shifter confirmed he was okay, as Deric worked on his message. Once complete, she stared at the images presented to her, eyes flickering back and forth as she attempted to piece the images together. 

 

A rabbit, and a noose -- she was confused, initially, misunderstanding the purpose of these images. Was he hungry, perhaps?

 

It wasn't until Deric pointed up at his scarf that she realised, eyes widening. Her reaction was visible, hands coming up to cover her mouth as she processed it. Growing up in the city, she had forgotten that many shifters lived in rural, animal-like conditions, subject to the harsh realities and unfortunate living circumstances of their animal counterparts. She stared up at the taller male, confirming her thoughts.

 

For his part, Deric didn't seem bothered; as if it was simply a fact of life, and he pointed her attention to the second set of pictures. Well, she understood -- it was nice to be able to reveal parts of an ugly past to someone, to have someone share in one's thoughts, even if pity was not needed. That was all in the past, now, and the point wasn't to grieve -- only to remember. 

 

The second set of pictures, Kikyo understood a lot more clearly now that she had context. A family, a running figure, and the looming woods ... so he had run when he was five?

 

"That's so young," she said softly, looking down at the images. Then, she looked up and met his eyes, searching his gaze. It wasn't that she doubted that he wasn't telling the truth or anything, only that she wanted to know -- was that why he had reacted so violently before in response to Tenebris' brash attitude? That the world had been so harsh from a young age.

 

That was something Kikyo understood a little too well, too. And from the next set of pictures -- Russia, a cold, unforgiving place. A country she had never been, before.

 

"We're a little similar," she said sadly, after a moment of silence in which Deric finished his pictures, sat back, and stared at her with an unreadable emotion behind his crystal-clear blue eyes. She felt that she could understand -- he was not telling her this to frighten her, or to disarm her, but she felt sorrow all the same.

 

"My father," she says. "He wasn't a very good person, and after his death I lived on the streets for a while. But my big brother -- Diego, is his name -- looked out for me. Always." She smiled softly at this, recollecting Diego's warm arms in the middle of the night, regardless of the howling winds outside or whatever place they had found to sleep in. His warm fur surrounding hers, curled tightly to preserve warmth. No matter what happened, what troubles came their way -- her only memories of hardship are accompanied by Diego's sunny smile and his silly poses.

 

"I was very lucky," she decided, looking into her hands, unfolding them from her dress to stare at her fingers. "It's hard to live in a world where you come from two worlds, but never part of one." 

 

Then, she cleared her throat, resting her hands down and looking up at Deric. "But the people I've met here are nice -- and it feels like we can exist together, in a way. Maybe its the same way with the people you live with?" She tilted her head. "I don't really know what the scientists intend to do with this experiment, but I just hope -- that everyone can get along, and make friends." She smiled then, almost a little bit laughing to herself. "I think that's all I would really want, Deric-kun. For everyone to get along and be by my side." 

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Pack | Veronica

Jason was most definitely a wolf; she couldn't mistake the scent, no matter how emphatic he was about being human. His scent just happened to be layered with various other things that blended together into a label painted "Jason". One wolf, two wolf... three wolf, four. It almost sang itself out in her head. Where is wolf number five? She didn't enjoy having an invisible unknown, especially when Kubo, who had been introducing everyone, was withholding information. Well, that seemed a bit harsh. Maybe Kubo didn't see it as relevant while the fifth individual wasn't present. Assuming, of course, he was outside of the camp instead of lurking nearby.

 

"Hunting sounds alright," Anthony responded. His voice almost cut through Eliora's sobbing. At least, to her sensitive ears. Veronica could sense his hesitation though, familiar as she was with his natural syntax and behaviors. 

 

She smiled at him, gently nudging his knee with her own. "Go ahead and go. I'll rest up here. Besides, I've already had my run." She ignored the other woman's blubbering--it was likely she just didn't understand the humans' motivations for firing a gun. People had all sorts of reasons often motivating the exact same course of action. Humans and Shifters alike. Even ordinary animals. 

 

"But--"

 

"None necessary. Did Kubo tell you where we're staying?"

 

Anthony sighed, letting his breath go on a drawn out exhale. "We get free pick of the available ones. Might as well take a look before I run off, then." 

 

-- | Anthony

Standing, Anthony stretched his arms above his head before gathering one of the bundles that suddenly belonged to him and his mom. "Any preferences?" He motioned with his hand, lazily gathering the few cabins up for grabs with it. He watched her face as she examined them from the campfire. A heartbeat later, she started walking towards one erected further at the edges of the encampment. She snatched at the second bag in the same stride. Following her, he managed to avoid looking back at the group and only keep his ears on alert for any indication of the others leaving. Or coming up behind them.

 

"Are you sure you'll be okay?" Stepping into the cabin, he briefly studied the small space that shaped itself into a front room, a kitchen, and bedroom which likely had a washroom or bathroom of sorts.

 

"I'll be fine. Now go on and see the jungle for yourself. You might enjoy it or you might not. Kind of depends on how you view this entire... situation." His mom set her bag down against the wall, giving him a hug and patting his cheek.

 

Freeing his hands of the other bag, he frowned. "I think this is BS. That's how I view it." He chose not to say anything further for the time being, and exited the structure before shifting into his coyote shape.

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Pack

 

After being administered the ointment Valiant shook his head and  pranced over to them, always up for a hunt. He looked looked down at the now Irish girl now shifted into her dog like form and the others, his thin boney body and gaunt features seemed to make his smile creepy, like a creature from those short  scary stories on the internet. He was always up for a hunt, and he was still very hungry. He started to salivate at the thought of more food. 

 

Kubo shifted after rolling his eyes at the comment about being only human that Jason made, then seemed to agree to a hunt. Human my butt. He thought. He twisted and smoothed the fur on his form, a beautiful healthy dust brown with deep brown asymmetrical spots with fawn brown centers and a touch of white here and there. Some rings where a deep burnished blue hue instead of brown, and some centers had an extra colbalt blue spot like an irregular target however the most noticeable spot was the colbalt colored heart shaped birthmark over one of his silver eyes going midnight blue closer to his eyes keeping the dark color for a natural sunblock as it was around the other eye in normal colors. 

  He trotted over to the coyote. "You don't have to go, I know you've been through a lot of stress being brought here. There's plenty of smaller prey too, I grew up in the Savannah, and they kept it very close to what is usually there... Well, minus a few predators. Lots of mice and small rodents if you'd like to hunt later. They're out more in morning and evening when it's cooler." He said softly looking for the coyote to the vixen and back.

 

 The Irish wolf hound took a few steps away from the salivating red wolf that looked more like a native American Wendigo then a wolf. Add a couple of antlers to his head and bingo, you got yourself a cannibalistic demon dog. She moved and hid behind Terra when that mental image was so easily conjured in her minds eye. 

 

 

-----

 

Between the lands

 

Deric looked at her with eyes that was both wild and sad. Yes, it was very young but he had no way to depict the abuse he suffered at the heads of his family, well, his pretend family. They made it quite clear to him that he wasn't their kid. 

 

He nodded at her statement about two worlds yet part of neither, however He tilted his head at the word friend. He'd heard the word before, but like the words love, family, wife, and home they where words with a meaning he didn't fully understand. 

 

He hoped he would one day, but probably not anytime soon. Feeling the need to comfort her, he placed a hand on hers lightly.  He then suddenly looked up at the sun and poked her belly then tapped his ear. He pointed in the direction she came from as if he was telling her to go back and eat, he could hear her belly growling. He squeezed her hand lightly then got up, shifted to his white wolf form stretching then looked at her before trotting off in the direction he came from.

 

 

Pride

 

Isabo continued to cook flipping the breaded crane and hummed softly as she did so, dishing out enough for everyone in bowls.

 

Sam opened the door now dressed amd a cup of joe in his hand he took back the knife. "Thanks. I'll give it to Chet when she gets out. " He said softly. "Smells like it's almost done. Go get your sister, I'm sure you are worried about her."

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“I’ll stay here. I went hunting earlier this morning,” Terra said after some of them had shifted into their animal forms. “I’m going b to read in my cottage.” She looked over at Valiant and thought the same thing Eliora did without realizing it about him looking more l like a demonic-like dog before the later his behind her. She gently petted her out of comfort for a few minutes before stopping in case she didn’t like that and wanted her to stop.

Edited by SkySong278

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Pack, at camp - Rank 4, Medic

 

Over a couple minutes, Jason shifted. He probably changed forms more often in the last week than in the entire year up until his kidnapping. Kubo ended up being faster at completing the shift, but that was probably because he had more practice -- or maybe, Jason speculated, it was because he was more comfortable as a wolf? For himself it was always easier to snap back to being human, no matter how quickly he wanted the animal-shifting to happen. The first thing to change were always his eyes, shifting from blue to carmine. Sometimes it would happen involuntarily and unfortunately it was striking enough for others to remember, which was why he developed his characteristic squint.

 

With the transformation drawing to a completion, he fell onto all four paws and shook his entire body. The aura rolling off of Jason's wolf form was very much different from the harmless, affable nature of his human appearance. Even under the light of day he looked like a shadow thanks to his dark grey fur. And while not as starved-thin as Valiant (quite the opposite, even, with his rounded face pleasantly plump) Jason also prowled with hungry red eyes and dangerous teeth. From people he had encountered in the city, he was easily mistaken for a dog from afar, and equally easily mistaken for the devil up close. 

 

Eager to get going, he lifted his tail and trotted in place. Hunting in a pack wasn't really his style because he had his own methods, but it would have to do for now. (Besides... in a world were prey practically walked into his mouth, he wasn't entirely sure he even knew how to hunt big game, other than what his instincts revealed...)

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The bitter scent of coffee caught Diego’s attention. He flipped the knife around so the handle was facing towards Samuel, but as he handed off the knife his eyes drifted down to the cup in Samuel’s hand. The steam lazily driftly from the cup indicated that it was made recently or, at the very least, nice and warm. When Diego had first arrived with Kikyo, he had assumed that their lives might start to resemble the hardships they faced while on the streets, but it appears as though any amenities they required or requests for would be provided. It seemed like their life was going to be cozy than he originally thought. 

 

Diego smiled at Samuel as he took the knife.

 

“I, Diego Noriaki, will return before you know it!” he exclaimed. He pounded a fist in his chest and winked at Samuel before turning on his heel and marching off into the wilderness. 

 

It only took him about a minute or so to remember that Kikyo had wandered off by herself. With no supervision. In an enormous savannah. Diego was happy that Kikyo was off exploring, but she had been gone for quite awhile in a place with all sorts of dangers. Diego was normally content to wander around in human form, but he knew that Kikyo was most comfortable when both she and Diego when in their feline forms. For all Diego knew, Kikyo might be alone and scared. With that thought in mind, Diego’s body quickly morphed into that of an enormous lion. He leaped across a rock, his paws skidding across the dirt as he landed. Now where could Kikyo be? He turned his head to the left, ears flickering. That was the direction of the watering hole they were are not too long ago. Perhaps she had trekked through familiar ground? Diego turned towards where the watering hole was and began to walk in that direction.

 

It didn’t take long for him to catch Kikyo’s familiar scent. The surrounding area was… odd, to say at the least. He was still in the savannah he thought, but there were more trees thicker at their trunks and will more foliage on their branches. The native flora appeared to be changing too, appearing more exotic than the other plants Diego had seen prior. Diego’s suspicions about the changing landscape were dashed away once he caught sight of a familiar shape. She wasn’t shifted, Diego realized, frowning. Maybe she was having a good time. Ah well, she never did complain when Diego turned into “her big fuzzy teddy bear”. 

 

“Kikyo!” Diego called, bounding towards her. He slowed to a walk as he approached her. Careful not to push her over, Diego affectionately headbutted her chest. “You’ve been off having an adventure, haven’t you?” he asked, moving his head back so he could get a better look at her face. “As glad I am that you’re having fun, we have to return now. Food is ready and neither of us have eaten since dinner nearly two days ago.” Out of the corner of his vision, Diego spotted something white and fluffy walking off in the opposite direction. Diego lifted his head, eyes narrowing as he tried to figure out what the moving object was. “Were you playing with a...dog?” Diego asked. The twins hadn’t said anything about there being wild dogs, but this dog seemed bigger than the average dog. At least, Diego thought so. It still looked small to him, but, then again, everything was small to him. Even Kikyo standing in her human form was barely taller than Diego in his lion form.

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桔梗  / Kikyo 

Between the Lands 

 

 

Deric leaves suddenly, before she can really collect her thoughts. Kikyo giggles to herself as he pokes her stomach, revealing her stirring hunger with the rising day's sun, but before she can think to suggest anything -- perhaps that they hunt, or find a place to eat -- he makes up his mind. With a final squeeze of her hand, Deric stands up, silhouette against the rising sun, his hair stirring with the faint wind against the grass, and Kikyo commits the scene in a secret memory to herself before he shifts in the blink of an eye and begins to walk away.

 

She stands up as well, brushing the dirt from her skirt with both hands, waving goodbye even though he doesn't look back. Kikyo watches his form grow ever-smaller; his pace is steady but not disruptive, a hunter's experienced trot through the undergrowth. Perhaps -- 

 

"Kikyo!"

 

A familiar voice draws her from her thoughts, Diego's booming voice echoing across the plain, and Kikyo turns happily. Diego! 

 

"Big brother!" she greets, delighted, and immediately spreads her arms, laughing as she feels Diego's large head against her clothes, aware that he could very easily knock her over. She entwines her fingers with his mane, smoothing out some of the quick little knots, before Diego draws back to speak.

 

"Yes!" she confirms, very excitedly; the excitement of meeting Deric, of knowing about another shifter and another world -- it was all so exciting! 

 

At the mention of food, her stomach rumbles; likely from the combination of her excitement and not having eaten for a while. Embarrassed, Kikyo lowers her voice and blushes, shy, but before she can agree to go eat Diego's attention is caught by something.

 

A ... dog? Kikyo blinks for a second, before realising Diego must have seen Deric in the distance. Ah -- Deric!


She bites her lip, hesitating for just a second. She has never lied to her brother before -- and she wouldn't think of doing so, as she trusted Diego with her life and more. He had worked and fought through everything to provide for the two of them, and if any new developments happened in her life she wanted him to be the first to know.


Regardless, Deric had made her promise not to tell anyone about him -- and could she break a promise in that way?

 

"I met a wolf," she says, without giving too much detail. "He was chasing an antelope and tripped -- big brother, it wasn't graceful at all!" She remembers seeing Diego hunt before, taking down his prey effortlessly, his muscles flexing in tune with his well-planned movements. One time, in London, he had even rolled around a tiny white ... Pomeranian? that had been bothering her by nibbling at her tail. She still wondered what kind of person a pet like that belonged to, with its high-pitched barks and sharp, tiny teeth. 

 

"But he was nice," she adds, not wanting to give Diego the wrong impression of Deric -- the white-haired shifter was kind, and nice, and insightful. "Apparently there are wolves here. Oh! And then I saw Cyon-sama! They were around here somewhere ... big brother, weren't they at camp with you? Where are they now?"

 

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“I am here,” Tenebris said, melting out of the shadows with perfect (if you asked them) dramatic timing. They lifted their head to squint at Deric’s retreating form for a moment, taking note of the direction he was going. “I crossed paths with Kikyo nearby, and did not wish to see harm come to her.” 

 

They’re not sure about Kikyo’s insistence that Deric was ‘nice’, when all Tenebris had seen from him was instability. Perhaps the problem was with Tenebris, and before they’d shown up and after they’d stayed behind Deric and Kikyo had been interacting amicably. Maybe Deric just hated them, for one reason or another. He wouldn’t be the first person. Tenebris was gangly, unnatural, all sharp edges and bone. They didn’t like people, so wasn’t it entirely fair that people didn’t like them? 

 

That wasn’t a productive line of thinking, but it wasn’t one that was easy to pull away from. All they could do was attempt to rebuild their walls of self-righteousness and arrogance, but cracks remained in the mortar. Little fractures that let doubt seep in, weaknesses. 

 

Diego had mentioned going back for food, and Tenebris was hungry, but they doubted anyone would want them back. That had been made clear, yet, they didn’t have anywhere else to go. They didn’t know how to survive on their own, and they weren’t keen on dying out on their own. That, and why should they care if people hated them? It was fine. It didn’t bother them. 

 

So, strutting back into camp and acting like nothing had happened was the plan. “Let us return with haste, then.” 
 

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Kikyo’s joyful expression and the familiar feeling of her entangling her fingers into his mane is enough to elicit a purr out of Diego. He watched in delight as her face light up and she began to recount everything that had happened while she was off exploring. Though Diego did enjoy how Kikyo excitedly told him about her new friend, he could not help but feel concerned when she mentioned that he was a wolf.

 

“Kikyo,” Diego said in a parental tone. “I’m happy you made a friend, but wolves are dangerous. As shifters, we’re still people but most animals are just that: animals. He may have seemed friendly but he was still a wild animal. It’s entirely possible he could have hurt you for reasons you don’t understand.” Diego gently butted his head against her shoulder. “You need to be more careful around wild animals, okay?” If she was speaking with another shifter, that would be entirely different but Kikyo had specified she spoke to a wolf, not a person. Diego would have frowned if his feline anatomy allowed it. Kikyo mentioned there being more wolves, didn’t she? Strange, the twins had claimed there weren’t many dangerous animals except for ostriches. Had they lied? No, no. Diego shook his head. They had no reason to lie about that. Perhaps the wolves were newcomers just like Diego and Kikyo were?

 

Diego didn’t have time to dwell on his thoughts. Tenebris, as though on cue, made themselves known when Kikyo inquired about their location. So the two of them ran into each other? How convenient! 

 

“I, Diego Noriaki, thank you for watching over my sister,” Diego said, glancing over at Tenebris’s direction. “But you are correct! Food is ready and waiting for us.” Diego backed away from Kikyo and circled around towards her back. As he had done many times before, he nudged her back to let her know what he was about to do before shoving his head underneath her legs and pushing her onto his back. “Come on then,” Diego said, giving Kikyo time to adjust. “Let us be on our way!” Without another word, Diego leaped forward and bounded off in the direction of the camp.

 

When they arrived, Diego was still a lion and Kikyo remained on his back. He slowly walked over to where the crane was being cooked. 

 

“We have returned!” he said in a booming voice. “I, Diego Noriaki, my sister, Kikyo Noriaki, and Tenebris are now gracing you with our presence!”

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pack

 

Kubo waited until everyone was ready and then nimbly bounded ahead. "Let's see if they have some mule deer here. Or some bore? I can go with some bacon and pork chops. " He said licking his own chops.

 

"Wild hogs are hard to come by, let's go with something else that is plenty. I'm famished..." Drooled the red wolf now looking at the impressive hell hound impersonator that was once Jason. Something about him was familiar to his own wild hunger yet....more. The look in his eyes reminded him of a dog he'd met while in a fighting ring. His tattooed ear flicked, the triple six triple six mark a constant reminder of his time on the streets. The Beast some called him. Satan his "handler" called him fondly and he lived up to the name too, right up to the point he claimed the man's soul. 

Valiant blinked away the bloody flashback as a pain of hunger shot through him and he stalked after the African spotted dog. He'd be best to avoid ol' red eyes right now in order to avoid triggering his PTSD further. 

 

After getting some pets from Terra, quite enjoying the pats when she suddenly stopped. So she trotted to the rest of the pack,  sticking close to the coyote Eliora followed after the two, lopeing like a dog. In truth, she was more wolfhound then wolf, dog shifters although rare, can still happen in remote areas. She felt out of place and looked confused. "Wait, nobody is gonna get a bow? " She slowed down. "I don't know how to hunt like this. I just get whatever is shot. And chase off foxes from the coop," she looked at the coyote. "Never hurt 'em. Mum doesn't like that. Her friend was a fox. I just scare 'em away. If I do get anythin it's rabbit but they don't live here.. right?" 

 

 

------

 

Between the lands

 

Deric did look back a couple times before springing into the foliage at the border of the plains and jungle when the loud voice called out Kikyo's name. He turned around and watched as the very large yellow creature pranced up to her and nudged her. After a moment of interaction, the black cat came back out and the yellow thing swept the girl onto it's back and ran off. 

 

He never seen such a beast. It was about as being as a bear, if not larger. It seemed to be very close with Kikyo. His chest tightened up a little and he bore his teeth but the three where already gone, the dust they kicked up already settling back down. Confusion came after, unsure what that feeling was he turned and headed back to camp. 

 

He passed by the group on the way back being asked about joining by Valiant but he simply shook his head and continued on.

 

~

Pack: Deric 

 He got back to the empty camp, wait, not empty. He had been so distracted by his own thoughts and the now throbbing headache he had he didn't realize the two new smells mixed with the others. One trailed off with the rest of the pack and the noise in a cabin near by told him the other was inside there. Cautiously he approched the open door- remaining a good two feet from the home and entryway- and peered inside to see if anyone was in there. Once (if) spotted he tilted his head and would sit and do the movements for the classic 'See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil' and then repeat the speak no evil  part until they understood that he couldn't speak. Once that was established he moved to his little home, the branch, leaves and vine tent like structure set up just off the campsite by a trail. He slipped inside and laid down once again to see if his headache went away. 

 

 

 

Pride

 

The twins came out, Chet with a pastel blue crop top on showing her muscles and sun kissed skin and a pair of short short jeans with a knife on her thigh and another on her hip clipped to her belt. Sam came out in a neutral colored tee, tan shorts and a hat made of woven grass, a pot of coffee in his hand and a tray of cups in the other. 

 

"We're ready. Would you like some? It's fresh and we grow it here. Only a couple plants but it's enough for us. " Sam said heading to the pit where long narrow planks was set up along the benches  surrounding the fire propped up off the ground with short crossed sticks. 

 

Bowls for the meal where set out, already dished out. Some forks, chopsticks and other utensils sat at one end of the makeshift tables and Iona sat eating the mixture with a flat spoon like utensil. 

Edited by AroaraAngelwolf

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Pride

The meal and the day went on without much of a hiccup in the twins routine, Ella showing Kikyo how to weed the garden and filter the goat milk as her brother went out with a bow and came back with several hares and enlisted Diego for assistance in skinning the rabbits. 

 

Dinner came and went, and the twins make sure that the siblings got settled into their hut just fine and went to their own to sleep, ready to start the day over tomorrow.

 

 

   During the night, a truck came to the pride camp. Chetalla was up checking on the nanny and billy at the time and went over to the truck and helped unload the crate. "This is Aleiss, He is a snow leopard. They should be awake by the time you and your brother wake." The scientist told her and she nodded. She unlocked the cadge and with little effort picked up the fluffy grey cat carrying him to a empty hut and on a bed with their things so they don't wake up in a cage. After that the scientists packed up and left dragging a brush behind the truck to cover their tire tracks. 

 

 

Pack

The hunt wasn't very successful, most of the prey having migrated to the plains however with the deer Terra cought that morning they were able to have a dinner. 

 

 

--

 

During the night two wolves where brought in and laid at the campsite, Swift and Mark being the two. 

 

By dawn, roughly fifty miles away a gateway opened up barely allowing one person to slip inside. Given a vague directions to 'just follow the trail to the campsite' he was shut inside the area. Once the gate closed, the concrete and iron door faded away as the sensors projected the image of the forest ending in the plains once again beginning.

 

The volunteer experiment number 208 AKA Lee, was left to his owns devices. 

 

 

---

 

Early morning between lands

 

Deric got up early, the bed was too soft and he wanted to see Kikyo again. Unbeknownst to him, Val followed him at a distance. 

 

Deric walked around in the deep twilight sniffing the air and plucking the most brightly colored or aromic flowers he could find. He plucked several pale pink and yellow ones liking the look of them the most. He kept stopping and scanning the forest, smelling the air until he gathered enough to satisfy him.

 

Then, as Val waited in the trees at a distance, Deric shifted and gathered up the blooms in his mouth, walked in a wide circle, ears swiveling and nose twitching before darting off to the side and out of sight so fast he was a blur. 

 

"Where are you going? Got a girlfriend?" Valiant thought jumping down and shifting following his sent trail. It stopped at a stream. Smart. He went through the water to thow off anyone following him, however... The tundra wolf sheds in this heat and a small tuft resting on a branch further down and some claw marks on rocks told him he was on the right track. 

Edited by AroaraAngelwolf

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Pack

Swift | Mark

Swift jerked awake. Where are we? The last thing she remembered was... people in white coats recapturing them and everything going black. Her head turned quickly to find Mark and she nudged her brother awake with her muzzle.  “Mark. Wake up,” she said loudly. His green eyes, almost identical to hers, blinked open and he rubbed them as he sat up. “Huh” was the first thing he said. “It’s some kind of camp” was the second. “Yup.” Swift replied drily. “You’re so observant.” They both got to their feet, shifting into human form. It took a minute; they were both more comfortable as wolves. Swift took a deep breath as she scanned the camp. “Hello?” they called. “Is anyone there?” Swift could have growled. What if they had been brought here and left alone? Another sign of the scientists’ cruelty. 

“Anyone?” she said again, louder this time. 

Edited by Swiftphoenix

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Aleiss

Pride Camp

 

Aleiss rolled over, stretching out to her full length in her sleep. As she did so her center of gravity shifted to be too close to the edge of the bed and she slowly slid closer to the edge. With a thump she fell onto the hard wooden floor below. 

 

Disgruntled, she curled in on herself as if she could ignore that she was awake now. Alas, her efforts were for not, and after a few minutes she was forced to accept that consciousness had found her. Life was hard. Like the floor she was laying on. Why was she still on the floor. 

 

The floor hurt, so she’d have to get up. After she did that, she’d have to explore the room she was in, since it clearly wasn’t one she’d been in before. That made sense, since she’d been told that she was being moved, which was probably good! The scientists never told her anything, so maybe the fellow shifters would tell her more. 

 

She’d gotten off topic. Get up, explore the room, which would probably lead to having to catalogue items or something. It was a hazy area of her plan, since she didn’t know what was in the room yet, and the whole plan rested on that. It was frustratingly circular.

 

After that she’d have to leave - but she was too hot for that. Shift, then leave? But she was hot now, so maybe it would be better to shift before dealing with the floor problem at all, but that would leave her uncomfortable while shifting…

 

Ughhhhh. Mornings. Why couldn’t she have just slept until someone came to bother her?

 

Eventually she did get around to pushing herself off of the floor and looking around the small room she’d been left in overnight. There wasn't actually much to look at, and even less was available to look at because she couldn’t open the drawers without hands. She hadn’t thought things through enough, but at that point she was ready to just leave anyway. 

 

Right, the heat. She’d almost managed to forget the stifling weight of her coat or the dry thirst prickling the back of her throat. She wanted to blame her absentmindedness on the drugs they had injected her with (frustratingly, the scientists had refused to tell her what they were dosing her with, which she was sure was illegal on multiple levels), but it wasn’t a particularly bad morning for her. Things just be like that sometimes. 

 

She managed to shift while thinking about how much she wanted to know what drugs they’d used on her, both from a stance of wanting to know about side effects and from simple curiosity. Forcing a shift was pretty cool - there was all sorts of different hormones and proteins that had to be activated. Really, it would have been polite to tell her how it worked while they were testing it on her. 

 

She pushed open the door, noting how unpleasantly squeaky the hinges were. They had to be oiled, except she wasn’t entirely sure what kind of oil one was supposed to use on door hinges. Would cooking oil go rancid?


She missed Google so much. 

 

The camp was quiet as she padded around it, examining every nook and cranny she could find and running her fingers across every surface she could reach. The workmanship wasn’t perfect in a lot of places, but it was pretty good for being set up in the middle of nowhere. What kinds of tools did they have access to? Could they build more? 
 

Edited by Kiran

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Your World | Diego

Savannah - Outside of Camp

 

There was a sacred tradition passed down the Noriaki line. It was buried within the hearts and souls of every member of the family, dormant. Diego had awakened it long ago and it was now his pleasure to watch it blossom inside of his dear precious sister. He had long awaited to see her power form and now, finally, it was time. It would be a day of celebration if any of that was actually true. 

 

Diego, in his full lion form, was walking with a feline Kikyo by his side. He was crafting a story inside of his head, one that would get Kikyo pumped up to practice her hunting skills. In the streets, Diego had provided for them entirely, but that was back then. Now, it was time for Kikyo to learn some skills of her own. That and Kikyo had begged him to teach her how to hunt all of four minutes before he caved in and agreed to do so. They weren’t within eyesight of camp, but Diego made sure they weren’t exactly at the border between the savannah and where the jungle (it was a jungle or something of that sort Diego assumed) began. Diego had grown cautious after hearing Kikyo’s story about meeting a wolf. He didn't want his dear little sister to get hurt so he made sure to not encroach too close to the wolf’s supposed territory. If it was a wild animal, then it wouldn’t come so close out of his native territory, right? Only a person would actively search for Kikyo and she made no mention of the wolf being shifter.

 

Arriving at their destination, Diego turned around and plopped himself down into a sitting position. 

 

“Alright, Kikyo,” Diego said. “Today I shall teach you about the secret techniques branded into our blood, but first, I must quiz you. Tell me, what do you know about hunting in your current form. Tell me every detail! I need to know your exact thought process before we begin.”

Edited by Doctortear

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桔梗  / Kikyo 

Pride Territory

 

They were traveling again, in the space she now recognised as the area between the two territories, only Kikyo did not feel any kind of doubt or fear when Diego was by her side. After having a pleasant meal last night and getting to know the other members of the clan a bit more -- they were all perfectly friendly and not at all terrifying, and for once Kikyo felt that shifters might be able to understand her emotions better than any humans could -- Diego and her headed out once more early in the morning for some hunting. Surprising, today, it was Diego who was insistent that they go looking for prey, claiming to have some new technique to bestow on her 'worthy form'.

 

Well, Kikyo had no complaints -- Diego's massive frame dwarfed hers in comparison and shielded her from the sun, his pace slow and steady to accompany hers after so long spent walking together. As they traversed to their location, she sniffed at the grass nearby, feeling the early morning breeze rustle along her fur. She kept an eye on the horizon, wondering if she would perhaps see a flash of white fur in the distance, but her attention is quickly taken by Diego's call.

 

"Secret technique," she repeats, a bit incredulously, but takes Diego's word for it; she knows her brother too well to question his thoughts, even if they were ... odd, to say the least, at times.

 

"Everything!" she chirps back in response, dropping into an exaggerated crouch for Diego to witness her abilities. She focuses, sneaking up on an imaginary enemy in the space before her, before she pounces and bats at Diego's paws, tail flicking. 

 

 

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mælir / Leif

Unknown -> Pack Territory

 

Ah, well.

 

It wasn't everyday one found themselves stuck in the middle of nowhere, facing down almost certain death. Or, at least, not a common Tuesday. Leif stuffs his free hand into his pocket, sliding the small bag of carryon items he was holding onto his hip as he surveyed his new surroundings. The door that he had been let in through faded suddenly, almost as soon as his foot had left the threshold, and Leif whistles, impressed at the sheer technology holding this area together. From various sources, he had heard quite a lot about the company in question, name redacted as the terms of his contract had stated, but it was still impressive to witness firsthand.

 

He usually likes to leave the whole death-and-dying scheme for after breakfast, but it is too late to back down now. An adventure! 

 

He felt the make of his vape in his pocket, the shape of the small container comforting against his fingers, and Leif hummed to himself. He desperately wanted a drag now, but his resources were limited; he had almost been unable to bring his pride and joy, and only was it accepted under the terms that he'd finish his current stock and then use a water-like mixture to avoid 'damaging' his health. Sure, the two bullet wounds weren't a concern -- actually, as far as he knows part of the bullet is still stuck in him -- but a little bit of nicotine? Oh, honey no. 

 

He pondered this, and so much more, as he walked down the path as instructed. It seemed to stretch on forever, miles of beaten brown dirt, but he has been in worse and the sky above is lovely, as always. It reminded him of the area back home, their front lawn with the lavish well trimmed trees and forever sunshine, as if his father had somehow bought the temperature and reduced it to a steady, pleasant mild degree, always. 

 

He kept going, reminiscing on home. He was no stranger to leaving behind people, places, but everytime there is the fresh pain of missing what was once so great. Life, he supposed, was like that -- memories, in equal balance.

 

It seemed like forever until he stumbled upon a settlement, the sun high in the sky now, and Leif tilted his head curiously. Shifters? Well, it would be interesting to know firsthand the type of people the scientists had chosen for this ploy. He could see figures beginning to stir in the distance, signs of people responding to the early morning, and so Leif raised a hand in a mock salute.

 

"Hello!" he called loudly into the opening of the camp, hoping to draw as much attention as possible. Either settle in nicely or go out with a bang, right?

 

"Well met," he said, with a grin. "Seems like my luck has picked up from walking forever. Who might you all be?" 

Edited by Shoukaku

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Tenebris

Pride Territory

 

Truth be told, Tenebris wasn’t much of a fan of hunting. They saw the necessity of it, yes, but actually participating in the act? They would never call themself squeamish, but the feeling is close. Bones crunching in their mouth -- it’s all too violent and visceral. Animals were cute, and murdering them in such an up close and personal way? They’d rather just stick to a vegetarian diet as much as possible. It didn’t really fit with the edgy image they tried to cultivate, but it did fit in with their ideology. 

 

Still, they had to do something with their time, and they didn’t want to be in camp helping with the gardening (as calming as it was). The night before had been unpleasant; they’d been convinced that everyone had been watching them, judging them and expecting them to slip up. Not that they cared about what anyone else thought! It just wasn’t worth it. 

 

So, they’d decided to go exploring, once again in their animal form. What they were looking for, they weren’t entirely sure. Berry patches, mostly, but water sources, odd rocks, and interestingly shaped trees were fair game as well. Chetalla and Samual claimed to know everything of importance in the area, having been there for so long already, but Tenebris doubted that they understood how important good rocks were. 

 

They didn’t start off their walk with the intent of following Kikyo and Diego. At least, if it had been their intent, they wouldn’t admit it. That would have been kind of creepy, and they only went for the good kind of creepy. Darkened forests, abandoned houses, and ancient fairy rings surrounded by mists, not stalking. So, it wasn’t that they were following them, they were merely staying in the area and watching out for any signs of the strange wolf-scented shifter from the day before. At times Diego and Kikyo weren’t even in sight, hidden behind the horizon or a stand of trees while Tenebris examined the ground for bloodstones, but Diego’s booming voice made it easy to find them again. Besides, it wasn’t like they were hiding; Diego and Kikyo had almost certainly seen them, and they hadn’t told Tenebris to go away. 

Edited by Kiran

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16 hours ago, Swiftphoenix said:

Pack

Swift | Mark

Swift jerked awake. Where are we? The last thing she remembered was... people in white coats recapturing them and everything going black. Her head turned quickly to find Mark and she nudged her brother awake with her muzzle.  “Mark. Wake up,” she said loudly. His green eyes, almost identical to hers, blinked open and he rubbed them as he sat up. “Huh” was the first thing he said. “It’s some kind of camp” was the second. “Yup.” Swift replied drily. “You’re so observant.” They both got to their feet, shifting into human form. It took a minute; they were both more comfortable as wolves. Swift took a deep breath as she scanned the camp. “Hello?” they called. “Is anyone there?” Swift could have growled. What if they had been brought here and left alone? Another sign of the scientists’ cruelty. 

“Anyone?” she said again, louder this time. 


Terra had eaten dinner with the rest of the pack when they got back from hunting and then went back to her cottage and read some before going to sleep.

 

~~~~
 

She woke up the next morning to someone calling out if anyone was there. She got up out of her bed and stretched before heading to the main area of their little camp to see two new people standing there. “Hello. I’m Terra. Some of the others are still sleeping, I think. Guessing the scientists dropped you off?” she said and asked as a greeting to the two new people there. She then also heard another call from the entrance and saw another boy there (Leif) raise a hand in a mock salute. She narrowed her eyes a bit, trying to figure out if he was another new person the scientists dropped off or if he was just a random person that had stumbled upon their camp. “Hi and I’m Terra,” she said in reply to his question.

Edited by SkySong278

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Pack

Swift | Mark

They turned at a greeting from a girl they hadn’t met before. 

 

“Hi, I’m Terra. Some of the others are still sleeping, I think. Guessing the scientists dropped you off?” 

 

“Yeah,” Swift replied warily. She didn’t know anything about this ‘Terra’ and whether or not she was friendly or meant them harm. “I’m Swift and this is Mark.” She caught something the stranger had said and her ears pricked. “There are others?” She briefly spotted Lief  out of the corner of her eye and stiffened. Shifting back into a wolf, in which form she was the most comfortable, she crouched and bared her teeth at him, hackles raised. “Who are you?” She challenged. Then turned back to Terra. “And where the heck are we?!”

Edited by Swiftphoenix

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Pack

Hearing the commotion, Kubo was out in his silk pajama pants and a beater ready to defuse the situation. "Easy.... We just got up. I'm Kubo Mbwa Mwitu, we are at a research facility in the Savannah. We're all some sort of canine shifter. The others are sleeping and some are a little bit touchy in the morning so please keep your voices down. I'll set you all up with a empty cabin if you want to unload your things, the three of you. We have only one other empty cabin, you two can bunk together but you sir will need to room with someone else. I'll offer my second bed if you don't mind me waking up early and doing workouts. I'll do my best not to disturb you. " He said in a loud whisper looking at the windows of the other huts. "Odd getting three newcomers after just getting two more yesterday. Please settle down and take a couple deep breaths. " He told Swift softly. 

 

 

Between the lands

 

Deric weaved around the area several times, doubling back at times, walking through a small weak waterfall and even hid his tracks at times. He knew he was being followed and sure, Val's tracking skills are on point and very sharp but these tricks would buy him some time till he tracks him down. He didn't want him to see Kikyo. 

 

Once in the plains he waded through the stream then carefully walked along ready made trails twords the direction the large animal came from that shouted her name. He heard the booming voice once more and curiously followed it spotting the two at a distance. Well he saw the big one and smelled Kikyo, good thing the big one had it's back to him. He crouched down in the brush keeping to the sunlight trying to pass for a mirage although the spot of bright yellow and pink blooms in his mouth made it a little bit harder to hide. 

 

Hopefully she'll see him before the large one does.

 

 

-

 

Valiant followed the trail and indeed got lost a few times. Two wolves had grown up in the wilds, one in the woods, the other the concrete jungle but still had skills they had carefully honed over the years. Val usually didn't care about people. It was kill or be killed in his life, however the silent one and him where taught ASL during the first few months they were brought here.

   A scientist stayed in the medical cabin until Kubo came, teaching the two to communicate without words or drawings since Deric had a hard time writing and had no idea what the English alphabet was or how words were spelled. Val had no clue what strange hieroglyphs called words and the images themselves ment that Deric mainly used. 

 

Valiant thought it was this bonding time he had spent with Deric that brought out the protective loyal wolf he buried so long ago. So seeing him act so unlike the wolf he knew for months last night made him both concerned and curious at what or whom made big white act as such. After witnessing the gathering of the flowers the curiousness only grew more for he didn't seem like the one to ever have a relationship with someone romantically (Val wasn't entirely sure if Deric even knew what a romantic relationship looked like).

 

Pride

The bray of a goat sounded and Edna was out with Deedee, the newly mothered goat shook her horns at the new stranger and pawed the ground in a warning to get away from the shack.

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((gonna wait for diego for kikyo, but here's leif! : D))

 

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mælir / Leif

Pack Territory

 

 

Leif raised an eyebrow at the current scene in the middle of the camp; it seemed he interrupted something, although he himself was only beginning to make sense of everything going on. The girl that had cried out earlier -- was that the noise he heard? -- was briefly comforted by the appearance of another girl who introduced herself as Terra. Before he can return the greeting, however, Swift suddenly shifted into a large grey wolf, fur streaked with black and bright green eyes. She bared her teeth at him, obviously threatened, and he raised his hands in surrender, laughing joyously.

 

"Whoa, whoa," he said, trying to defuse the situation -- anyone being wary towards him, shifter or not, was something he was quite used to in his line of work. "Let's just calm down. I'm sure --" 

 

He was interrupted by the appearance of someone else, a man this time, with bright blue hair. Leif stared incredulously at the other's flawless ombre, wondering if that was natural -- perhaps he should try something like that next time, with his new hairstyle? A red-pink mix, or maybe white-black? Briefly, Leif wondered how a white-black shift would look. Could he pull it off? Perhaps it would be something worth writing home about, or putting on his bucket list for when he gets out of this place. He had also seen an advertisement on his phone, driving on the way over here, for a laser product that promised to tattoo your eyeliner, permanently, and sheer mad curiosity tempted him to use himself as a guinea pig for this product ...

 

So caught up in thinking about the finer details of his plans was he that Leif didn't realise he was being spoken to, until Kubo had finished addressing him.

 

"Don't mind being interrupted if my first sight in the morning is you," he replied naturally, the words honey-smooth on his tongue, accompanied by a smirk. 

 

Then, he decided to address the elephant in the room. Slowly approaching Swift, but with more confidence than one would usually expect of someone in his situation -- he's been bitten before, and what's a few more to the collection? -- Leif spoke. 

 

"I apologise for startling you," he said, bringing an arm to his chest and exaggerating a bow. "I just wanted the pleasure of your company." Coming up, with a wink. "You can call me Leif, Lee, or 'hey, you'. I answer to anything and everything." Then, Leif sighed and leaned back into his normal posture, act dissipated, and felt for the make of the vape in his pocket. Making a couple new friends was worth a hit, right?

 

He raised the item and sucked in, exhaling a large cloud of pink smoke into the area, accompanied by the faint smell of cotton candy, grape flavour. 

 

"Hope we can be friends," he said, spinning the vape quickly between his fingers with a grin before tucking it back into his pockets. 

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Aleiss

Pride Camp

 

Aleiss blinked at the… ewe? Were female goats called ewes? That didn’t sound right, and she was sure that there was another word for them, but she couldn’t remember what it was. Whatever, it wasn’t important. She didn’t know much about goats, but it was more than obvious that the mother goat didn’t want her near the kid (as tiny and cute as it was). "Yo, goats." She wasn’t particularly worried, as the goat merely looked like it wanted to defend her kid, so Aleiss blinked and looked away from the goat (instead staring at the wall of a hut) before slowly backing away. Blinking at looking away was polite, wasn’t it? It was for cats, anyway, and goats were prey animals, so Aleiss figured that goats wouldn’t like being stared at either. 

 

Once she was sufficiently far away for the goat to stop worrying she pivoted on the ball of one foot, flinging the other leg out to give her momentum for the spin, and started walking in the other direction. The goat -- nanny! A female goat was a nanny -- had effectively managed to cut off half of what she could explore. Shame. Why wasn’t anyone else around? Clearly there were people living in the little hamlet. There were fresh footprints on the ground, from shoes, various cats, and a pair of bare feet. Maybe everyone else was reasonable enough to still be asleep. 
 

Edited by Kiran

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Pack

Swift | Mark

She turned as Kubo came up, gesturing for peace. 

“Please settle down and take a few deep breaths.”

Grudgingly she obeyed, flattening down her ruffled fur and shifting back to human form. “Fine. Pero no puedes decirme qué hacer porque no me conoces(But you can’t tell me what to do because you don’t know me),” she muttered in Spanish. “Seriamente. Relájate, no nos están lastimando. (Seriously, chill. They aren’t doing us any harm.)” Mark nudged his twin. “I guess.” Swift shrugged. “Fine, let’s go.” They started to find the empty cabin Kubo had mentioned but stopped at being greeted by Leif.

 

"I apologise for startling you. I just wanted the pleasure of your company.

“You can call me Leif, Lee, or 'hey, you'. I answer to anything and everything."

 

Swift gave the redhead a unimpressed look. “Uh oh. Here we go again,” Mark murmured in anticipation. 

She narrowed her eyes at Leif. “The pleasure of my company? Hmph. Apology accepted. As long as you stop flirting.” She glanced disdainfully at the vape he pulled from his pocket; they had been raised to scorn such things. She continued. “Friends? Yes. ‘friends? No. I already have a boyfriend, thank you very much. See you around.” She turned and stalked away. Mark winced. “Well, that was better than usual,” he offered. “Sometimes she slaps them. Or gives them a clawing. You’re lucky.” He shrugged. “Sorry.” Following his sister, he wondered what all those guys saw in her. Sure, she was pretty, but six of them in a month? Good thing Alex hadn’t been there for all of the... flirting. Mark shuddered. That would have really been a mess. 

Reaching an available cabin, they put down their things and went back out to see if some of the other canine shifters were awake. 

Edited by Swiftphoenix

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Pack

 

Kubo's eye twitched. His sweet smile and soft voice changed to something forced and twisted, sickly sweet voice sounded from his mouth, dripping heavily with icey anger. "Sweetheart. You think a wink and kind words are flirting? And you think that you will see your precious boyfriend again? Forget him darling. We ALL have people we love we are hoping to see again. News flash, you will NEVER see him again. If he finds you by some miracle, he can't get in you can't get out and they'll taught you with images of them looking for you. I have three children I took in, I had a fiance and you think I haven't tried to see them, to get to them and they to me? Stop being a stuck up b*** and play good dog like the rest of us before they use your loved ones as something to keep you in line. I'll tell you, it's far more effective than a shock collar." He growled.  He then pinched his nose and muttered in Swahili heading to his cabin and shut the door getting ready to take a shower. 

 

He felt bad at first for what he said, however once he took off the glove and looked at the hand done tattoo on the back of his hand that guilt went away.  He studied the symbol, a Ankh with a four pointed star in the top loop with three dots symbolising the three kings in the sky and a faint outline of a wild hog paw print. His tribe's symbol. The same mark that would be given to three children he took in today, and would have been the day he asked Awiti to marry him today. But now, that would never happen. He sighed and took off his shirt, gathered a change of clothes and went in the bathroom getting in the shower.

 

 

---

 

Pride

Another bray and the goat charged. Then it bleated. "No, Edna no, Aleiss is a friend. A friend. Now settle. Go to DeeDee. Go to your billy." Chetalla cooed softly. She let go of the nanny and set her back on her hooves having tackled her giving her rump a little tap twords the shack. 

 

She turned to the new person. "I'm Ella. I know who you are already, I was awake when you were brought here. They wanted to leave you in the cage but... I didn't think you'd like to wake up in a tiny cage. So I carried you to your new home. Three are out of camp and my brother and our shaman are both asleep now. Care for some breakfast? I'm not the best cook, but I know I have bread and goat cheese I can share."

Edited by AroaraAngelwolf

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Your World | Diego

Savannah - Outside of Camp

 

“Oh ho!” Diego said as Kikyo crouched down into a pouncing position. Kikyo had yet to master subtlety. Although Kikyo’s body wasn’t entire positioned towards Diego, he could still see her eyes flickering to him every few seconds. Diego lowered his head, watching with great glee as she began stalking forward. “Are you approaching me?” 

 

So she was! Without any hesitation, Kikyo pounced upon Diego’s paws, her face lighting up with joy. 

 

“A warrior’s cry!” Diego exclaimed. “A valiant effort, but not good enough!” Quickly Diego retrieved his paw from underneath Kikyo’s grasp and slammed it on top of her as gently as he could. He pressed her down onto the ground and lopped down onto his belly behind her. Before she can escape, Diego plops his massive head on top of her, purring in delight. 

 

“You have the gist of it, but you lack practice,” Diego said, laying his chin against Kikyo’s back. “You dropped down into a proper crouching position, but there were a few things off. Tell me, dear sister. What exactly makes crouching when you stalk your prey so useful? What’s the difference between a good crouch and a bad crouch? If you can give me a satisfying answer, I shall end your torment early and allow you to escape from my grasp.” Truthfully, Diego wasn’t putting all his weight on Kikyo. If she truly wanted to, she could wiggle from his grasp if she more vigorously enough. Still, it was good to give her some incentive to give a proper answer instead of letting her dawdle.

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Pack

Swift | Mark

Swift stared at Kubo, surprised and slightly hurt at his words. A hundred responses ran through her mind; anything from I’m sorry, please forgive my actions to Listen, shuck-face, you don’t get to tell me what to do to You think I’m totally happy about this?! Her final reaction would have been somewhere in between the first and second, if Kubo hadn’t walked away before she could say anything. She couldn’t believe it; her ‘never say die’ personality made it physically impossible for her to accept that there was no way out of a situation.

She turned to Lief, the only other one there besides her and Mark; she looked warily at Terra since she had been there for who knows how long and might side with Kubo, she thought. “How can there be no way out of here? There’s always a way out. Or in. This can’t be a fully locked down enclosure, can it?” Though she protested outwardly, inside she felt the full reality of it like a stone sitting on her chest. If she never saw Alex again... she could hardly bear the thought, and with a glance at Mark, saw that her twin was troubled too. He met her gaze, and put an arm around her.

“We’ll find a way,” he assured her. “We always do.” “I hope you’re right,” she murmured. 

Edited by Swiftphoenix

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