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Chapter Fourteen

A chorus of crickets masked the sounds of paw-prints picking delicately through the brush under the cover of darkness.

"I still don't see what we're doing out here in the middle of the night," Snowbank growled, digging his claws into the ground

violently with every step he took. "And with HER, at that," he snarled, jerking his head in Outlander's direction.

The coywolf lowered to the ground slightly, as if making herself a smaller target for Snowbank's piercing words to hit. She

didn't understand what they were doing here either. A few hours after the pack halted its tracking mission to rest, Snowblind

and signaled for both of them to follow him away from the temporary camp.

Snowblind looked back at them over his shoulder. "We're continuing the hunt. On our own."

"What?" Snowbank sped up his pace, stopping in front of his brother. "Are you insane? We can't hunt that thing on our own!

We don't even know where we're going!"

"I saw it earlier," Snowblind said matter-of-factly as he pushed past his infuriated twin. "I know which way to go."

"And you didn't think to tell mother, or anyone else for that matter?!"

"I was going to, but large numbers will only anger it, don't you think? Less wolves will die if we look like we aren't a threat.

Besides," he said, looking at Outlander, "We have the only one he's failed to kill."

Outlander shrank into the shadows. The thought of facing that bloody creature filled her with anger, but also fear. Still, she

was grateful to be pulled from the scornful eyes of her pack as they followed her to their certain deaths. Now the moon was

their only guide as they picked through the shrubbery, hunting a monster they most certainly couldn't kill on their own.

"Coywolf, keep up," Snowbank barked back.

"She has a name," Snowblind sighed. He slowed until he was next to Outlander. "You can't walk in a straight line?" He joked,

looking at her paws. She had been struggling to keep her feet under her. "I haven't slept," she confessed.

"The nightmares again?"

"Yes," she sighed, the image of Scavenger transformed into a decayed creature entering her mind. She saw it every time

she closed her eyes. Monster elk she could handle, but she couldn't bear to see her sister turned into a horrific monster

before her very eyes. She had given up on sleep since that night, and the effects were showing.

Snowblind looked up to the moon. "My mother once told me of a green bird that visits wolves in their nightmares. If it

touches whatever is haunting you in the nightmare, you'll never have a nightmare about whatever it was ever again."

"You believe that?" Outlander lifted an eyebrow towards the skeptical wolf. He shook his head. "I'm sure there is a way,

though." He smiled at her, but not at all in a friendly way, and a realization came over Outlander. She wasn't his friend, she

was his subordinate, and he would leave her to die the second her usefulness ran out.

Nausea rose in her throat and she quickened her pace a bit. "The nightmares will fade," she said, more to herself than to

him, "once the Beast is dead.”

Chapter Eighteen

She wanted to attack, she wanted to run, she wanted to scream, but all Outlander could do was watch. The remorse and

sadness in Bone's eyes was gone, the small bit of normalcy within him set ablaze and burned away till all that stood was his

blind rage and bloodthrist.

"And you'd almost made the mistake of trusting him ... of pitying him," growled a voice in her mind. It was Scavenger's.

"Don't forget who he is. Don't forget what he's done."

Bone looked up from Snowbank's corpse, his eyes meeting hers. She tensed, preparing for the monster to attack, but the

fire disappeared and the remorse returned.

Don't forget, Scavenger's voice echoed.

"I," the beast started to say, but he was cut off by a long howl. Outlander looked back at Snowblind. The now sole heir called

out in the night, and soon his voice was joined with a chorus of howls in the distance. He lowered his head and looked down

at Bone. There was no anger, no sadness, just that same cold calculating look. "My pack," he said, "Is just a few bounds

away. If you want to waste time attacking us, go on, but when they catch you, they will not make the mistake of letting you

get to your feet again."

Bone seethed at the threat before looking at Outlander. "I didn't want this," he murmured.

Don't forget.

"Leave," she growled. "If I ever see you again, I will give my life to make you suffer."

There was hurt in the eyes of the beast, and he opened his mouth to speak, but another break of howls, much closer this

time, prodded him to turn and dash into the bushes. Outlander felt her own anger begin to fade away.

"He followed you?" Snowblind's voice in the sudden silence startled her. She looked at him. No concern for his brother was

there, leaving Outlander to wonder if he even had a heart.

She thought, choosing her words carefully. If Snowblind thought Outlander was working with Bone, he might blame her for ...

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