Bearer of the Wild Chapter 1: "A Tribal Upheaval"

Bearer of the Wild

Chapter 1

"A Tribal Upheaval"

Cria could feel the all too well the ragged teeth to the hunter's trap that lingered in her flesh. Terrified and desperately Cria stuck to the shadows avoiding the bright light from the dual suns as she crawled. With her upper body supported only by her good arm movement through the thick underbrush that lined the forest floor was not easy. Her lungs strained to breathe as she tried to put as much space between her and the cruel scene still fresh in her mind.

Cria whimpered with every bit of pressure she attempted to put on her upper body, even with her right arm tucked against her, the pain would shoot from her shoulder; down through her upper right arm and pulsate to her fingers. "My Shoulder is out. . ." she thought as she sat to rest. "Now what do I do?" She could feel the teeth biting deeper with every movement.

"I can't believe they tossed me aside like that, stupid Hunters; just because I can't speak like the other wolves it doesn't mean I am a Wild!" Huffing in anger she rested against the trunk of a tall tree and tried to calm down. "Yes, it's not fair; I have been trying so hard to get anyone to hear me! Yes, I can hear them, even when they don't want me too,"

She shifted her weight moaning from the pain as she did so. "But, I guess it's a good thing no one can hear me. It is a blessing that I haven't been able to get anyone to hear me. I really should get used to it I suppose . . . after all it saved my life."

Cria moaned in pain "I miss my Dad; he could hear me, to him I was just like everyone else."

Gently she brushed through her once golden fur and examined her shoulder. "My beautiful fur, look at it now dark from the blood that just won't stop and sticky from that stinky black mud they tossed me in" She thought back to how they mocked and laughed at her then flung her aside without a second thought. "I need one of each color of Pulp leaves; together they will slow the bleeding." Staying low to avoid sight she searched the ground behind the brush keeping a close eye on the enemy while collecting the necessary leaves.

"Okay, 1. . . 2 . . . 3 . . . different shades of Gold, Silver, Brown, Red and yes I have all 5 shades of Green." Sitting down at the base of a tree she tore the leaves in two to reveal the healing juices inside and began gingerly tending her wound. With her good hand and a fist full of the tiny Pulp leaves the bleeding began to slow. Whimpering at the pain she cautiously peered out to get a better look at the hunters that now had their backs to her.

"One by one they are decimating the tribe" taking a deep breath she pressed the leaves harder against her wound. "No one can stop them. The Tribe lives off nature; no one in the Tribe could match the weapons the strange furless men brought with them, and those two traitors knew that."

Suddenly a new wave of pain started settling in to her shoulder and Cria had to stifle a shriek of pain. "I need to get free of here! But with this injury I won't be able to outrun them; their two legs can easily beat mine, will they leave me alone or will they change their minds when I start to run. Hunters hate leaving witnesses."

One of the ships took off its random silver spikes emerged from the dome of deep black metal brilliant blue lights shown out as the landing pegs disappeared. The ship picked up speed as it blazed for the sky above. With it gone the two who caused the nightmare had suddenly found themselves in full view, crouched low at the back of the meadow they had obviously used the ship to hide themselves.A growl escaped as she could feel the anger build "You traitors, all of this is just because the Tribe chose to make my mom Pack Leader over you two losers? What would your father think of you now?" She grunted with disgust she corrected her own thought. "What am I saying, you two are probably behind his death as well! It would have been easy for you to lure him to the Bridle Berry patch where the Hoare-cats feed. That would explain why you two found his body before there was nothing left of It . . . You just didn't take into consideration the fact that the tribe hates you, you never hunt, you never clean up after yourselves, you smell, your manners are horrid plus you are violent stubborn creeps! " Stomach churning at the memories she adjusted to a low crouch whipping the tears from her eyes "It's not fair, I wish everyone could hear me. . . I hope they turn on you when they are done skinning your own kin!"

Cria slowly inched backward "Yes, they are over there Hunters, go get them." The hunters inched closer to the two traitors their intent made clear by the blood lust in their eyes "Okay, almost" Cria's breath caught in anticipation "now they are far enough away that I might be able to get away safely, if only I had a distraction."

Just as she turned to run the global alarms began to ring out. Looking up at the sky for a brief moment she smiled letting her gratitude show "Thank you . . . and that's my cue, they know the hunters are here now, they will be too busy to come after me." She ran through the brush, diving around and dodging the low lying branches "Sure took the sensors long enough to pick them up, morons must have fallen asleep on the job. But why did they shut off the planetary sensors, they should have sounded the second the ship crossed them . . . if they were actually on."

Pushing her thoughts aside Cria tried focusing on getting away gathering up as much energy as she could muster she leapt from the brush and ran. "Good, the Hunters are still busy . . . I can hear the two traitors screaming. That means I probably haven't been seen." Heart pounding, with every leap her feet began to tire quickly. Pressing the leaves to the wound tightly, she ran. . . terrified, not bothering to see if she was being followed or not, she just ran as hard and fast as she could on only her legs. The sun was setting around her and she knew she needed to get as far away as she could. "I could run faster if I could run on all fours." After what seemed like infinity she came to a string of groves near the sea shore, the sun now set. Panting with exhaustion her head started spinning. Desperately she pushed herself for more energy but her worn out body found none "No, I need to keep . . ." but everything went black. . . .


"Wolf! You get down here and help me." Jiy grimaced then expanded the mental range of her voice "Mope all you want but she is still going to be a member of this pack." Jiy walked over to the edge of the tree lined grove and stared up into the branches. "I don't care if you agree with him or not, he is still leader of this pack and his decision is final."

"Yes mom I know that, but did he have to pick that female to bring into the pack?" Wolf thought back to his childhood and the many torturous years he has had to suffer being stalked by her. His only relief being when they left the city each year to travel as a pack in the wild, but now he would be stuck with her even then.

"Mom please," Wolf jumped down, he landed on all fours then stood up straight and followed his mother to the location of the new nest "Teellie is an obsessive finicky diva, her fur is rough like barbed wire and she bathes in stuff that makes my nose itch. Not to mention the fact that she thinks way too highly of herself, as if she is the smartest wolf ever." He paced behind his mother muttering to himself "Smart ha, she refuses to take any extra schooling; she doesn't even know basic mathematics without using her fingers."

Jiy rolled her eyes and just quietly listened to her son rant as he paced. With a smile she leaned over and started sorting the branches to form the nest with.

Wolf snarled under his breath then raised his internal voice to a near yell, "You can't even have a logical discussion with her! All she ever wants to talk about is the latest gossip or the latest clothing fashions and of course never, ever get her started on who's mating with whom. . ."

"I know about all that son, Dad and I both know your feelings towards Teellie but your father does have 5 very picky sons to find mates for as well as your 2 sisters, we aren't the most popular pack in the city and your fathers latest scientific advances haven't been well received. Yes, Rough has been courting Flahn-na but she has made it quite clear that she hates the city so your father can't take him out of the equation just yet. You need to give him some credit for getting anyone to agree to become a member of this pack right now."

He rolled his eyes "Please; like he had to twist her arm the girl is an insane stalker!" He picked up one of the piles she was making and started weaving the base of a nest.

Jiy turned and scowled at him. "You aren't giving her or your father a fair chance."

"Mom, I do admire dad for the effort he has been putting into finding us all mates but really, her; did he have to?" Wolf caved when he saw her frown "Besides typically a female makes her own nest, a male never makes it for her that assumes that they are mating. So why am I doing this for her?" Then the thought hit him "NO!"Quickly he threw it into reverse, dropping the branches and heading right back to the treetops as fast as his legs could go "She isn't touching me! I would rather never mate than. . ."

"Wolf! She is from a City Pack and you are the best at making nests, that's the only reason I promise. Or are you suddenly going to start denying the fact that your brothers bribed you to make their nests?" Wolf didn't need to look he knew from the tone of her that she was standing at the base of the trees, hands on her hips with that same stern look on her face that always meant you aren't going to win this one.

Then her voice changed as if she knew how to trick him "Besides, she would probably use the wrong things and end up with a rash or something. Then she'd need to pick somebody to take care of her; to feed her, bathe her. . ."

Feeling sick at the thought he rolled his eyes and gave up. Wolf moaned in annoyance as he jumped back down from the treetops. He knew exactly which of all of them she would prefer and to say he hated the thought of having to give her a sponge bath would be an understatement.

The two continued working on the nest, this time in silence. Moments after finishing; Wolf heard them on the edge of the grove "Crap! No I am not going to be sucked into her warped wormhole!" Franticly he looked around him but it was too late to hide.

"Oh, how quaint" Teellie announced her greeting before quickly cozying up to Wolf "So, Wolf where will I be sleeping?" she smiled at him and winked.

Wolf didn't speak didn't look at her, "deep breath, just don't speak; she can't entrap me if I don't speak." with his head down he just pointed at the new nest and then quickly retreated back to the trees where his brothers had been silently hiding all morning.

"Wolf, don't be rude! Get back down here and welcome her properly!"

"Sorry mom" he bellowed from above "I know how to get Teellie too flustered to respond; she hates swearing." He smiled as he climbed higher, hiding amongst the new spring leaves "Greetings Teellie, welcome to hell!"

"Wolf!" Owlyn's tone was far less forgiving.

"Dad, why don't you have Stormy greet her, he's the oldest he should get first shot at her." He stopped on a branch and tried to nestle in against the tree.

"Shot at me? Really Wolf, where are your manners?" Teellie fidgeted; trying to act upset. "Do you have to be so rude; I mean I expect it from Stormy but you?"

Cowering close to the tree next to him sat Stormy who let out a quiet growl, "What do I have to do to get her to like me?" He shifted closer to the tree glaring at Wolf who was now snickering along with his brothers "Yeah, thanks bro."

Owlyn grunted with frustration "I would but we don't know where he's at right now."

Stormy fumed internally "Like hell I am going down there; so she can just tell me all the ways that I'm not Wolf!" Wolf snickered beside him.

"Oh, is that all... well then, here you go dad. . ." Wolf gave Stormy a strong forceful shove.

As graceful as a newborn's first step, Stormy tumbled out of the tree landing face down at Teellie's feet. "I'm going to kill him. . ."

Smirking widely Teellie eyed Stormy up and down as he stood up, this was the first time she had seen them without their city robes "Hello Stormy . . . so nice to um, see you . . ."

"Hi." Meeting her gaze he melted into a big embarrassed smile as the treetops snickered. "Here let me take that robe, you won't be wearing any of these here; they could get snagged on a branch or something and there are wild animals out here that would love to snack on you."

Wolf snickered with joy at the thought "If they could stand the smell of her."

"I didn't see a problem with her wearing it." Owlyn said only to keep Teellie happy. "She only has the one with her."

"Yes but dad if you let her then you will have to let Bloom and Shea-ah and you know how that would turn out. They would never let you tell them 'no' if she has a robe." Stormy grinned as his dad nodded his agreement with him.

"Well you do pose a logical reason son and it is one that I cannot argue against so . . . I am sorry my dear but the robe must go." Owlyn grabbed Jiy's arm and led her away from the group to the fire where they sat down and began tending the fire, talking low amongst them.

With clear reluctance Teellie forfeited the robe and then the embarrassment was on her. Nervous she tried to cover herself but didn't know what to cover first.

Smirking wildly Stormy tried to relieve her stress. "Why don't I show you around the camp?" He reached out and stroked the fur on her shoulder and smiled as her fur rippled. "Wolf is right about one thing her fur is like wire" He ran his hand across her neck to her other shoulder and she shuddered"Hopefully you won't get lost; the woods can be very confusing to a beautiful city wolf like you." He smiled "I have her eating out of my hand."

"I would love a tour, thank you. Maybe you should give Wolf some lessons in manners." Relaxing her arms she leaned towards him trying to turn the conversation back towards Wolf.

Annoyed Wolf let out a growl and focused his voice to Stormy so only he could hear "If you encourage her at all I will tell everyone I see for months how you really feel about her."

"Relax Bro, I've got this. Besides like you have room to complain; I'm the one that likes her but has to hear how great you are and how I will never be like you!" Turning, Stormy put his arm out for Teellie with a smile and widened his voice back out "Tell me, have you ever been this deep into the woods before? Maybe we should have you shadow Bloom and Shea-ah for awhile; just to make sure you are safe. I couldn't stand seeing you hurt."

Teellie's heart fluttered "I've never been to any part of the woods, so where are your two very lovely sisters?" Teellie wrapped her arm around Stormy's and glanced up towards the trees hoping that Wolf was watching "and is Flahn-na still stalking the pack?" She glanced back at Stormy and batted her eyes at him making his fur twitch.

"The girls; well Bloom is out collecting berries, roots and fruit for dinner, plus she's supposed to be bringing back more soft branches and leaves for your nest. Shea-ah is hunting; she's really good at it too. Of course it's only because I showed her how, she did have a great teacher, so it only makes sense that she would be the best hunter among us" He grinned "well second best"

"Will you show me how to hunt sometime?"

"Yeah show her how to hunt tonight Stormy; that should be some pretty good entertainment." Wolf Laughed "I bet you she gets her butt handed to her in less than 2 seconds."

Stormy scowled ignoring Wolf's isolated intrusion "Sure, but why don't I show you the grove where the bath is first, it is breath taking you will love it. The waterfall isn't too tall so the water falls gently down to the smooth rocks below perfect for showering. The blossoms all around the grove make the whole area smell so sweet that it leaves its smell on you for awhile."

"Sounds heavenly" She smiled her thoughts finally relaxing "great just what I don't need; to smell like wildflowers, that's bound to be as far from the posh perfumes I had to leave in the city." Teellie nuzzled up against Stormy's shoulder making his fur ripple "he is too easy" she smiled as they left the bedding area. "Tell me more; what will you show me after that?"

As soon as the two were out of sight Rough, Growler and Crawlf slipped out of the tree. Bloom and She-ah came into camp shortly thereafter giggling as if they had a big secret, Wolf couldn't help wondering what they were up to, "the two little vixen's are the best practical jokers; I just hope it's not at me this time."

"Is that all you could find She-ah?"

"Shut up Rough I would like to see you do better."

"Lighten up, I was just wondering if hunting's scarce, I'm the one who has to catch dinner tomorrow remember." Turning he addressed the treetops "Hey coward are you coming?"

"Nope, trust me Rough it's safer up here, good luck in battle though. I'll be praying for you." He gazed up at the brilliant light turquoise sky; the second sun following the other as it crept slowly to the edge of the horizon the sharp strands of light lit up the forest and made him smile "Stormy you owe me big! Spending the night up here because. . . I can't believe Dad agreed to bring that twit here just because you suggested it!"

Wolf huffed in annoyance "you knew that she has been trying for years to get into this pack in order to get closer to me!" Curling up on the branch he began to fall asleep "the only reason you wanted her in the pack is because she ignores you."

"Wolf come on, get down here and help us!" Shea-ah set the dozen or so small catches that she had caught down by the fire and eyed the new nest. Taking the branches from Bloom she set to work making the new nest a bit softer for the unwelcome new addition.

Bloom moved the basket of fresh berries, nuts and greens closer to the fire and stomped over to the trees. "Wolf, that's not fair! If I have to put up with the diva so do you! Besides would you really leave your little sister defenseless to deal with the bully all by herself?"

"Nice try Bloom but no thanks, Growler and Crawlf have been itching to beat the crap out of her since she told all the girls in the city that they peed their beds till they were teens."

"Hey, that was a lie too and she knows it. I never peed the bed and Crawlf did that once and if I remember correctly Stormy had something to do with that." Growler grew defensive as he cleaned and prepped Shea-ahs' kill. "Just leave him alone Bloom, he's the one who the Diva drools over if I were him I would be hiding to." Reaching for some berries and smashed them using the juice to marinate the meat.

The conversation shifted to other issues and Wolf stopped paying attention drifting off to sleep against the hard branches of the tree.

It was only a few hours till sunrise when Wolf woke up. "Looks like I'm the first one up." He thought as he leapt down to a lower branch, sprinting from camp through the branches. "Maybe I'll surprise Rough and catch breakfast so he doesn't have to."

Wind rushing past him he came to an abrupt stop sniffing the air, his nose beginning to twitch "I think I smell blood?" Following his nose he leapt to the ground and quietly searched the underbrush nearby. Pushing aside a small branch with his strong fur covered hand he saw her "Who are you sweetheart?" Smelling her gently he could almost feel her pain. "I need the guys help." He leaned his head back and howled as loud as he could; sounding the call to wake up the pack "hold on sweetheart help is on the way," within moments everyone was there to help.

Wolf volunteered to carry her, Crawlf and Growler ran ahead to tell Owlyn and the girls what was happening.

"Wolf slow up just a bit, let us get on either side you just in case; the Hoare-cats do like side swiping and they have to smell her by now." Rough and Stormy took up defense positions on either side then quickly and carefully the three brothers made their way back to camp.

Carefully laying her next to the now roaring fire Wolf pulled his knife from his leg holster and set to work scraping all the blood soaked fur away from her right shoulder. "Oh honey, please hang on; this looks bad." After he finished he stepped out of the way so Rough could get a look at her "do you think she'll be ok?" he sighed with worry putting the knife back in the holster that never left his leg. Wolf's eyes locked on her, mesmerized. His heart began beating faster and his fur on the back of his neck rippled. Crouching beside them, peering longingly at her soft round face and delicate closed eyelids he let out a whimper "She has to live, something that beautiful can't die."

"I agree bro but she is badly hurt and it smells like its getting infected. Crawlf, I need some of mom's ointment."

Without a second thought, the youngest wolf did as he was told darting into their parents' cave where Jiy, Owlyn and the girls were hiding just in case of a Hoare-cat attack and emerged with the medicine pouch they had lugged all the way from the city.

Rough gently examined the wound in the young females shoulder. "It looks as if she has Pulp leaf remnants in the wound, smart move this wound is deep enough that without them she probably would have bled to death."

Bloom came out and examined the situation then ran off to update Jiy and Shea-ah, soon she rushed back with a bubbling liquid and a dry rag "Mom says to wash it with this. Do you think there is anything else in the wound?"

"Yes, there are bits of tylon metal that need to come out. It's such a weak metal if they aren't removed carefully little bits might get left behind. I don't know if I am steady enough to do it, get back to the cave and stay there. Crawlf, Growler go relieve dad and tell him to hurry I will require his help after all. …" he sighed "Aw, the poor thing her shoulder is out as well, we are going to need to set it but I think we should clean out the wound first."

It took them several hours to get the wound cleaned out and the shoulder set. "There we go sweetheart; you're all stitched up. Rough you can dress this make sure you put more ointment on it. I'm going to give your mom an update. Remember to burn anything with blood on it. We don't need any unwanted visitors right now." Owlyn stood and walked slowly back to the cave.

Everyone moved off; making their way back to their nests for a bit more shut eye but Wolf stayed right by her side watching closely as Rough put on the ointment. "When you finish I'll take her to my nest and tuck her in, I'll keep watch over her if you want to clean up here."

"No problem. That's the easy part; gather it all and toss it in the fire."

Wolf couldn't help himself; he sat admiring her; remembering how in spite of her size it took all of them to hold her down while Owlyn set her shoulder.

"How could anyone do something like this to such a perfect female?" He couldn't get over the thought. "Please be okay" The thought of her dying crept up; devastating him. "No she won't die; I can't lose her."

In the following weeks Wolf occasionally hurried about gathering food and water then he sat and fed her, gently aiding the barely conscious beauty with every bite and every sip.

When the infection was gone and her wound was nearly healed on the outside Jiy brought over dinner for them both and broke the bad news. It took only a few minutes of Wolf arguing as loudly as he could for Jiy to put her foot down "No I refuse to hear any more from you about it; your father and I have made up our minds. We will not force anyone to join our pack if she wants to stay she will. End of discussion."

Wolf wouldn't even look at her. "Mom, please."

"Wolf," She was growing frustrated till she looked at her son and saw the tears "I know this will hurt son" She changed her tone and tried to be as soothing as possible "but you know the rules; she must choose. So we move on, we have to give her the opportunity to follow or leave. We will wait till she is strong enough to follow if she so chooses. Your father and I just wanted to give you advance notice alright; we aren't going to just abandon her."

Wolf was not happy, but he couldn't argue "I know mom, I know."


Cria awoke to the sounds of people bustling all about her. Stiff and sore she could barely move but she was more interested in trying to hear the different conversations taking place.

Complaining, lecturing and giving orders all at once inside her head Cria was confused "So many people talking at once, how do they not hear each other? How are they keeping their conversations separate? Wait a minute, what's this . . ." one conversation caught her attention more than the others. "This girl has issues." Cria thought.

"Ok I'll explain it again slowly so you can understand; as long as she doesn't wake up we won't have to take her with us and I doubt she will be able to follow us while she sleeps. She doesn't seem like the kind of girl smart enough to follow our trail. I just can't believe they are all fawning over her so!"

"Is she referring to me? Someone was taking care of me? That's a first."

"But Teellie, honestly I mean she's injured she needs someone to fawn over her. Plus there are five men here that need mates, you can't have them all."

"Okay, girl number one is a diva named Teellie, girl number two sounds logical, I wonder if she grew up in the wild cause it's clear that the diva didn't; no wild girl could be that . . . wait did she say five men?"

"I don't want them all, I want my pick of them and if there is competition then I can't have my way can I? Besides do you see the way that he looks at her?"

"Okay wild girl slap that diva."

"Is that how you see me" Flahn-na was now trying not to show her agitation "as competition?" She took a deep breath and relaxed her mind a bit.

"Okay, sassy but slightly rude with an aggressive-don't-cross-me undertone . . . honestly you could have done better, you should have just slapped her."

"Oh please, that's like saying a ball of mud could pass as an expensive gem . . ." Teellie rolled her eyes in disgust.

"What! Oh please, you are not going to let her get away with that are you? Even gems are just mud balls transformed under constant pressure."

". . . Besides you are so scared of the city that you can't even make up your mind if you want to join the pack for Rough or not. All you're doing is teasing him. That makes him fair game to me as well Flahn-na."

"Flahn-na you need help girl; holding in your opinion isn't being tough. If you don't step up you will lose him to that twit! Besides city folk are all wimps, all it takes to scare one away is good sized growl. It's actually pretty funny; you'll see what I mean just look at the diva with a hunter's stance and . . . wait these are city wolves, in the wild?"

"Anyway it doesn't matter even if I did want him and you two were promised I wouldn't hesitate to make a play for Rough and trust me Flahn-na I do get what I want even if I have to take it." She chuckled with glee "Now grab that I can't believe they expect me to carry it . . . and be quick about it, I want to get out of here before that female wakes up, then he will be so broken hearted that I am just going to have to pick up the pieces."

Flahn-na fumed "Pick up the pieces . . . please, as if he is going to let you near him. It's more like he'll tear you too pieces. "

Once the voices all silenced Cria slowly sat up and whimpered in expectation of the pain, but amazed that it was far less than before. "I don't want them to get too far ahead of me but I don't want the diva to see me follow, I think I want to surprise her. In my condition though . . ." Examining her wounds she stroked the silken fabric with her sleek slender fingers that was acting as a splint for her now nearly healed shoulder. "Amazing, I can't feel any more metal and it doesn't sting."

Sniffing the air she caught the scent of the pack that had saved her life. "Oh, I like this smell." Stroking the dressing on her shoulder again she smiled "These men are obviously smart, I think I can trust them. For some reason they remind me of my father, maybe they will take me to the city and I can find my Dad."

Standing up slowly she let her body get used to the change and regain its balance before she rose to the treetops with her good arm and started following their trail. "This pack is far fewer in number, I wonder if one of them will want me." She moaned in pain. "These wolves move faster than I am used to, plus they travel on their two legs. I'd better hurry or that spoiled diva may just get her way."

It took her only a few minutes to catch up with them and when she did she stayed in the treetops to the side carefully moving from tree to tree.

Slowly without drawing any unwanted attention, Growler strode up next to Wolf. "Do you see that?" He let himself smile as he spoke so that only his brothers could hear Cria being too busy to pay attention. "I think the injured female is following us."

"I hope she is." Wolf sighed with relief then continued hesitantly "I know you guys deserve a chance but . . . when I think of her. Well, it's hard to explain. . . "

Growler interrupted him quietly "Do you like her? Seriously we have never fought over a woman what makes you think we'd start now?" he relaxed a bit after seeing that Teellie was currently occupied she scowled at a bug that buzzed around her head. "Look at Flahn-na laughing at Teellie."

Stormy chuckled with the rest of them then continued the conversation "Wolf, talk to us what are you thinking here?"

"I don't want anyone else; I want her." Wolf looked around nonchalantly; trying to get a look at her. "Do you think she's ok, following us that way?"

"She's fine, trust me that bandage will hold" Rough tried to steer the conversation back again "Do you mean you're thinking of a promise? You do realize that means her and none other till the day you die, don't you?"

"Yes. And get this, the thought of having only one mate is actually a very peaceful, pleasurable thing; when I think of it being her."

"Whoa," Crawlf put on his sarcastic smile "wait you mean mom and dad weren't lying to us! I am near fainting from shock . . . Hilarious how some of you never take them seriously?"

"Nice Crawlf, but why bother sucking up they can't hear you." Growler smirked at him then ducked as the fist just missed him. "Crawlf, you hit like a girl."

"No he doesn't; I've been hit by both Bloom and Shea-ah they can hit ten times harder than him. So don't insult your sisters." Stormy braced himself as he got tackled by both of them.

Everyone chuckled as Dad scowled at Crawlf, Growler and Stormy as they wrestled each other to the ground and started a slugging contest. "Boys, cut it out! We need to be at the coast before sunset."

"Sorry dad" Stormy stood up trying to act mature then as soon as Owlyn turned around he got the last slug in on both of the other two.

"Oh, real mature there; that is a real good way to be an example to your younger brothers" Crawlf stood up rubbing his now sore shoulder.

Rough looked over at Wolf who was still busy watching the female in the trees beside them keep pace along with them. Glancing back at Teellie he sighed "Dad, I think we need to slow up just a bit Teellie and Flahn-na are still having trouble keeping up"

Everyone slowed a bit more giving the girls in back a chance to catch up and the conversation once again went back to Wolf.

"Look Wolf, I know I don't talk about it but I know how you feel. I just wish I knew what I'm doing wrong that's scaring Flahn-na off."

Crawlf tried to act as mature as he could "Well, I know I speak for everyone when I say you two have our full support. We'll help you land the hotties . . . Hey, maybe if they had something to compare you to they would see what a great catch you are." His devilish smile emerged "So Growler, go show them how good they've got it."

"Ugh!" Moaning Growler rolled his eyes "way to ruin a good moment! Besides; how would you know if I'm worse; have I ever kissed you?" Flashing one of his don't stress it smiles in Stormy's direction Growler peered behind them at Teellie and Flahn-na.

Teellie grimaced as she caught the exchange of looks between Growler and Stormy "They are up to something. . . . Flahn-na is that thing following us?"

"No." She lied slowing her pace a bit more "I would have told you if she were, relax they are all yours."

Cria finally noticed the conversation "Wait, what have I missed?"

"I don't believe you, you're just teasing me, any idiot can see it . . . they are obviously up to something!"

"Relax, they all adore you." Flahn-na couldn't help but grinning as she just figured out how to appease her "That's it, they must be arguing over who gets you." Flahn-na backed away, slowing her pace even more as she thought "Except Rough, he is mine. I will knock you down a few pegs too you back stabbing diva." She smiled sweetly at Rough who was now staring at her in confusion.

"Okay, guys who heard that?" Rough was growing worried that he was losing his love.

"We all did, but I don't know what to make of it." Wolf wanted to rip Teellie apart "Not very bright, you think Flahn-na would have picked a frequency that can be isolated."

"Duh, think about it morons she wanted you to hear that!"

"I have an idea everyone, let's ignore her completely. Teellie will have to fend for herself, entertain herself, and boss herself around. ." Crawlf's voice trailed off as his brain hit overload at the possibilities of ways to torment and laugh at her.

"Oh yeah, that's mature . . . that will definitely work" Cria rolled her eyes.

"Good one . . . Let's do it and when it fails, we blame Crawlf and he becomes her servant boy." Stormy grinned "I'll break her of that attitude problem somehow, then maybe . . ."

"Oh, I get it . . . this one likes the Diva . . . Why?"

"And then after that maybe you will fess up to having feeling for her Stormy?" Growler grinned as Stormy frowned at the comment.

"If dad wasn't watching you'd have two sore shoulders right now."

"Yeah right, you hit like Crawlf." Laughter erupted throughout and Owlyn relaxed a bit.

"Come on guys, so what if I like her you have often told me I act like her." A frown crept over his face "Besides, she's stuck on Wolf . . ."

"Bro, you can have her. I can't stand her you know that. Just keep pushing her; tease her, romance her . . . make her so mad she pushes back, she will eventually, you know that."

"I hope. . ." Stormy glanced back at Teellie and smiled.

Stepping out of the thicket they slowly made their way into the campsite on the beach. The boys all nervously made camp Flahn-na sat at the camp entrance per Teellie's orders, even though she had no intention of obeying them.

"Besides it wasn't doing any good to sit at the entrance when the female is already in the camp near Wolf. Oh well, at least this way I get away from the diva so I won't argue."

"Are you looking for someone?"

Thoughts now pleasantly interrupted she felt her fur ripple "Yeah, sort of" glancing up she caught Rough's deep brown intoxicating eyes. "Teellie told me to make sure that the female doesn't come around because she is competition."

"I see. . ." He sat down in front of her and rested his hands on her thighs stroking her fur lovingly "and for the record she is in the tree over there watching Wolf."

"I know, I had no intention of obeying the spoiled diva, I just figure this is a good way to avoid her for awhile." Tears slowly came from her eyes making their way down her cheeks.

Reaching up tenderly, he wiped them away one by one, Rough let a slow smile cross his lips hoping not to scare her again."I'm sorry that she's upset you, I will have a talk with her."

Looking deep into his eyes Flahn-na remember the conversation with Teellie from earlier and let go of the fear that she had been fighting for months; leaping into his arms she let out a low growl biting him on the nape of his neck as hard as she could, knowing that once he gathered his senses, aggression would take over then there was no turning back. "Hopefully he will give me a cub too. Let Teellie fight that."

Forcing her onto her back he became intensely tender, smiling as she let out a gasp of shock. "I sure hope the entire camp is watching. I want to brag about this later; she jumped me."

Flahn-na melted "I don't care about the city, who knew a man could be so tender," a smile crossed her lips as Rough reached over to kiss them "Is that Teellie crying?"

[21]