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Interwoven Wolves 2: The Magic Divide(8) (TW. stop reading at 'the pups are on fyre!')
Echo followed frost, secret, and zephyr towards the border.
"will we wait at the border for a lion to take us?"
"no, that shows weakness and complacency."
"ok. if things get heated can i talk? china is galaxys dad, and galaxy wants me to trust her. he's more likely to be peaceful with me, especially i he can use her as a spy again."
"alright. we technically cant start a war but they did attack us. zephyr!"
"whaf?" his voice was muffled around the eagle.
"watch out, its beak and talons are poisoned." the limp, shriveled head had swung towards him and nearly nicked him, though it might not have penatrated his fur.
"ill hold the head up." echo volenteered.
"alright, be careful."
"in my talons there's nothing for it to swing to. though id be careful, zephyr. they could have somehow poisoned it side to in hopes you would eat it."
"if you bite to deep you could accidentally eat blood or something."
"good point, though if it were poisoned i doubt it would live this long." reasoned frost.
"it could be a magic poison."
"could he do that?"
"i dont know, we have different powers."
"what all do you know you can do?"
"control water and wind, wither and heal. i also think i might be able to freeze stuff or make it colder, and make places darker, if I'm not to tired ill investigate afterwards. maybe i can also make spells of my own."
"ok." they arrived at the windrock, and frost and secret leapt over casually.
"i cant sync with zephyr to cross, but if i dropped it when he jumped it would bounce and could kill him."
"good point. zephyr, do you want to carry it by hand?"
"no need, i can use the wind to carry it over."
"isn't magic exaushting?"
"I've been working on my endurance."
"you passed out for a day after 3 spells."
"i was also under high pressure and losing massive amounts of blood. and also i suspect fighting something enchanted was harder than normal."
"no, if things get ugly you'll need your strength."
"symphony is much better with magic than me, if they attack we're going to die, but ok."
"you might be able to teleport or something crazy."
"if i did the effort might kill me."
"we spent to much time talking about it. zephyr, just carry it." he put it down and spit out a few feathers that had lost their golden sheen. the sight made her again feel guilty.
"ok." he carried it across and echo resumed carrying it. they got to the camp, everyone looked at them. there was the black lioness, china, symphony, galaxy, acacia, and a load she didn't recognize. frost ignored the stares and walked confidently to the center until she faced china directly. zephyr laid down the eagle and echo switched to human form and picked it up.
"china." frosts voice was cold but polite, despite undertones of contemt.
"frost." his matched. "why are you here?"
"there was a golden eagle. in my forest."
he snorted. "your so worked up because a random eagle found its way across the border?"
"yet you almost declared war over a weather pattern you didn't know. but i care because this eagle attacked luna echo."
he shrugged, but his eye glinted subtly. echo was certain only she and frost caught it, secret looked unsure of herself and zephyr was glancing at the surrounding lions. "i cant control the actions of a wild animal."
"perhaps you can explain then, why an eagle would be so aggressive as to try to kill echo?"
"maybe she disturbed its nest."
"she didn't. she just picked up a rabbit she saw with a broken leg."
"so she stole its prey."
"you know a normal eagle would just move on. no normal eagle would try to kill her over a rabbit."
"she shouldn't have taken the rabbit to begin with."
"that's only part of the issue. we were wondering if you could tell us why it had magical residue on it."
he looked at it. "yes, i suppose it would. it was clearly killed with magic."
"being killed with magic doesn't put poison on its beak and talons."
"maybe it was eating something that ate a poisonous plant."
"the poison feels magical. it could only be cured with magic."
he glared at her. "How DARE you come into my land and frame me!"
"we didn't frame you. none of us could have woven spells on it."
"a host could."
"she can barely control water. after she killed it she was passed out for a day."
"i am not going to force her to over-exert herself in hostile territory." this was going in circles. and if china admitted to having done it he would start a war, but frost couldn't just give up. and certainly wouldn't, not in front of zephyr and secret, let alone the lions as a whole. she looked at galaxy pleadingly, hoping in order to regain echos trust she would stop it. not that echo would give her her trust. was it really manipulating to save the world? and with her enemy? or rather, was it wrong? besides, she wasn't lying. she was not verbally vomiting to trust galaxy if she helped echo, she was just letting her think that. was that so wrong? frost glanced at her, and echo knew she could tell exactly what was going on. she shook her head softly. why? galaxy had already seen.
"I dont know why father didn't tell you about the Tai when you got here." he looked qustioningly at her.
"they are a magical kind of golden eagles that are more aggressive and have poison on their beaks and talons. i suppose he forgot because they never cross the border." she looked at him, forcing him with her eyes to agree. nobody present believed her, and echo could tell frost would protest. she tapped her and shook her head. they just needed to leave before it escalated. she wasn't going to lose face, nobody thought she believed it. secret nodded slowly.
"thank you for the clarification, galaxy. i expect you to be more careful when regulating thenTai in the future, and any other dangerous creatures you may have. if you keep them off our border i wont have to come back."
"it is not our duty to regulate the creatures."
"maybe i should regulate some of the younger wolves? i bet if i didn't they would pour over the border and attack various lions."
"they are your responsibility frost."
"and its your responsibility to keep your animals away from us." because i know you spelled it and if you do it again you'll regret it. ugh more silent speak... though necessary.
"we will do our best."
"excellent." frost turned and left, zephyr and secret trailing. echo hesitated.
"would it be alright... may i speak with symphony?"
china didn't bother to answer her, the black lioness did.
"no. why would you even want to?"
"because i dont understand my powers."
"we will not help the enemy." echo could she her balancing pity and duty.
"who are you again?"
"equinox, but that isn't relevant."
"echo! you may not stay. we're going."
"frost," she could just say that she wasn't her boss in front of the lions. silent speech. yay. you dont control me.
you cant just stay in the heart of the enemy who wants you dead.
you cant tell me what to do.
well you need to go.
clearly. i dont want to disagree with you in public.
thank you, we need to go now though.
just go. i will be literal seconds behind.
"catch up. you have 1 minute."
"goodbye." she glanced at galaxy in a less hostile way, to mend her guilt. galaxy smiled imperceivable. echo flew after frost, leaving behind the eagle, and a margin of her guilt. they returned home and frost continued past the cave to her cavern.
"thanks for not challenging me in front of the lions."
"of course, I'm not stupid." she pretended to be busy folding her few clothes.
"and for saving zephyr."
"you saved him. you could have not printed out the poison, and maybe if it hit him he would have survived, but he could have died. you saved my brother, and I'm grateful."
she shrugged. "i wasn't really thinking about it."
"why did you tell me no when i got galaxy to get you a ticket out?"
"i dont want you manipulating. its not you. remember how i told you about your core, and how its dying?"
"well when did you start feeling urges to use people?"
"your soul is dying. if you talk about a really evil person who cant empathize with others, like hitler, you call them heartless. there soul died, and what was left was that evil."
"I'm not saying you're evil. i didn't mean that. and i bet some other things about you are becoming more obvious to."
"you wouldn't have saved that bunny before."
"yes i would!"
"no you would get very exited and the eagle would have arrived before you tried to help. then you would have no idea what to do with the eagle."
"whats your point?"
"the change is stripping away everything else in you, all of that extra stuff that's counterproductive, and if you work at it, it will leave you in your purest, best form, you will be capable and confidant and good. like coal turned into diamond. but if you arent careful your core will be stripped away to, and whats left wont be good. you will destroy yourself and those around you and become increasingly angrier, sadder, and more depressed."
"ok." what if she didn't want that extra stuff taken from her? what if she liked it? it was her!
"its your core that shines, part of why your my favorite human."
"ok." yet frost had always smiled at echo being that extra stuff frost said she could lose.
"no, i smiled when you shined through." what? was it so clear on her face? she glanced at her clothes, all folded. she could unfold them, but that wasn't a good idea. frost seemed to notice she didn't want to keep talking about it, thankfully.
"do you want a human bed?"
"yes, actually. i was planning on figuring it out but i forgot. although recently I've been sleeping in peris nest."
"speaking of which, shes almost ready to start flying."
"remember, you agreed you would let her go if she wanted to when she was old enough."
"i know... can i have another pet? if she leaves?"
"oh? like what? i cant think of many birds that you could keep in here and wouldn't leave for the forest."
"i... didn't mean a bird."
"ok... it seems more practical to have something that can come with you, but ok. what is it?"
"uhhhh..." spit it out. oh but she wont like it! just do it. "a cat. i really, really miss my cat."
"well... i dont know how practical that is, the pups will probably decide its a toy," and you dont want a feline. "and... i dont know how well that would work... besides, dont you also like dogs?"
"yes, id love a pet that would get wrapped up in dominance fights and misbehave if i dont play dominance games. i cant belive i didn't think of it myself."
"there are dogs that are one person."
"and are generally more dominant than most dogs."
"i dont know how a cat would feel living in a wolf den..." frost looked so torn.
"please? arent there loads of pop-culture things with black cats doing something with the moon?it could hunt, and possibly catch stuff big enough for the pups to eat!"
"because you love hunting."
"and i might have animal related magic that i cant explore!"
"you have peri."
"shes really freespirted. shes going to leave soon, i know it. i wont even release her, she'll just decide shes ready and fly out. she might follow me when i fly, but she wont stay here or be a pet."
"uhh fine. you can have a cat... ill send promise to get one when peri leaves."
echo jumped up and hugged frost. "Thank you thank you thank you!!!" frost smiled.
"so what color?"
"black, color determines personality and black cats have a generally good personality."
"and you want a kitten?"
"yeah, like a kitten ready to be adopted. raising baby animals is exaushting."
"boy or girl?" frost sounded tired and disintrested, but echo could hear vague undertones of laughter.
"alright, promise will find a kitten that will be adoptable by when?"
"peri will probably leave like tomorrow or the day after, i was going to teach her to fly today."
"ok." frost left and echo heard her talking to promise. she smiled and put peri on her back, than switched to owl form. peri sounded terrified. she landed on a think branch and dropped peri by her, than flew. peri looked confused, and slightly scared. echo waited for her to put out her ings and swept a current of air under them, into which peri fell, awkwardly flapping to stay up. it was hard to control it. she managed until peri started to glide, and then it was easy. they only spent about an hour, and she paused to rest. out of the corner of her eye she saw motion, and peri landed beside her. she glanced down at her parents. oh! she didn't realize how close to the border they were. did she want to talk to them? yes, that wasn't the right phrasing. should she? well they were here. she flew down, peri with her, and landed in front of them.
"is that echos pet?"
"i think so. she said follow it." echo flew into a small hidden meadow, sunlight breaking the leaves, and became human again before they got in.
"where did your owl go?"
"i cant explain." they hugged her.
"we've been here every day since we last saw you!"
"better to not come often, pretend you dont know where i am. besides, i spent yesterday passed out."
"nature can go crazy when mixed with certain things. a golden eagle tried to kill me."
"i could see bone in my arms. i had to kill it..."
"that was yesterday? you look fine."
"exactly. crazy things happen if you can find deeper forest."
"will you please just tell us the truth?"
"i dont know what might happen if i did. but i was also busy, before the eagle attack. i was raising periwinkle." she whistled softly and peri flew down, warily eyeing her parents.
"she wont be with me much longer, frost said i had to let her go back when she could fly, but she will let me get a cat!"
"why is frost holding you hostage?" her dad said.
"well who is?"
"no human or animal."
"well, i cant meet you at night because it will see us and i dont know what will happen then."
"what is it?"
"do you know moon?"
"wasn't he someone in school?"
"he's a person."
"i know. and he's not involved."
"is it the moon?"
"maybe. maybe that's also why i have an owl."
"what does the moon-"
"i think i have to go." she didn't know why, she just sensed it. urgently. she left without saying goodbye.
flying as fast as she could she arrived andlanded back in the cave to... nothing. absolutely nothing was happening.
"whats wrong?" frost stared at her, panting and nervous.
"i dont kn-" secret ran in.
"Raven and Pipe are on fire."
"what?" echo and frost spoke in unison.
"hurry! i couldn't put it out. if we dont get there within a few second they'll die."
echo didn't stop and listen. clearly secret wanted her to use magic, but she couldn't get water from thin air and outside of the artifacts she could get water from herself. she saw commotion near the bonfire but didn't stop. she flew past it a few yards to the fountain and pulled water from it, then stopped at the bonfire. area was there, she had doused Pipe, who was laying with charred skin. Raven was worse, she had stopped running around and lay there, choking on smoke of the flames eating her flesh. she dumped half her water on her, extinguishing and temporarily stabilizing her, and ran to pipe, covering her with water. skin and fur healed and regrew, and the few shallow breaths deepened. she put more on raven. neither stirred, though both were alive and ok. she gently lifted them with her wind and put them into the fountain, healing them the rest of the way. they continued to sleep. she flew back with them, ignoring all the wolves below questioning her and trying to figure things out, and flew back to her cavern. she laid them on her pile of blankets and sat, watching them sleep and heal. raven wasn't ok. she could see it, there was some damage even the restored fountain couldn't mend. her left forepaw was gone, though it was a healed stump with fur, and flesh extended to the wrist. her mind was also changed, it had been burned and couldn't be healed. fortunatly only first degree burns and only on an area that technically wasn't needed for survival. she couldn't tell any more.
frost ran in. "echo, whats happening?"
"i need to take care of them until they wake up. Raven will never be the same, and Pipe will have a deathly fear of fyre for the rest of her life, but they'll survive."
"what do you mean? shell learn to live without her paw." echo turned and faced her directly.
"i mean her brain was burned. it was only minor, and it wasn't essential to survival, but the fountain cant heal that, even now."
"i might be able to really fix it, forever. then it might be able to heal her paw and mind. maybe even heal emotional and psychological scars. but first i have to solve some stupid riddle."
"then solve it!"
"it makes no sense. and i dont know if what the answer is is even possible.ill try, of course. be grateful they're alive."
"how did you know?"
"you were there at the exact moment to save them."
"yeah i have no clue. just a feeling."
"see if you have any feelings about that riddle than."
i think there's something else that i need to see."
"i think i figured out part of it, but ill have to fly into the savvanah to check."
"i cant right now. they'll heal best if i stay here all night and help whenever i csn. i dont know if i csn though, i used a lot of magic."
"ill have eden and slate come thru regularly with fountain water."
"oh, right. they're the parents, arent they?"
"i need to talk to them."
frost left and eden and slate came in nervously, staring at the sleeping puppys. eden licked there foreheads softly, as if hoping they would wake up.
"they'll live." she got their attention. tthey smiled, relived.
"ravens paw will never grow back. i dont know how, but shell be different. it burned her brain. shell likely still be able to hunt, but she may have trouble moving someplace, or speaking or something. they'll both be terrified of fyre the rest of their lives,and have heat sensitivities. on the bright side, i doubt either of them will ever do something like that again. you should probably go over safe playing guidelines with your other pups, especially key. i cant belive he wasn't one of the ones there." they nodded, not really having anything to say.
"it wasn't your fault. you should go now, fros has assignments for you to help and they need rest. you should probably also explain what happened to the others, i dont want to figure out how to tell kids this." they nodded mutly again. she settled back and sat vigil over them, regularly washing them down with fountain water.