“What do we do?” Callum whispers.
We are huddled close together as five wolves, bigger than any wolves I’ve seen before, bare their teeth.
“I don’t know,” I whisper back.
My first instinct is to pocket the metal pieces. I move my hands slowly down, so as not to raise alarm, and place the twisted metal into my pocket.
“We mean you now harm,” I say, raising my hands in the air. I nod to Callum and he follows suit.
“Ah, yeah, we’re good. Not need to eat us or anything.”
Why is the pup with you?
The voice echoes in my head and I rub my ear because surely I didn’t just hear a voice in my mind.
The grey shaggy wolf from the pit moves forward until he is almost nose to nose with me.
Answer the question, Walker!
The voice makes me flinch, but I know somehow it’s this wolf who is talking to me in my mind.
“I think you should answer him,” urges Callum. Apparently he can hear the voice too.
“I found Sage in the Fae Forest,” I say. “His mother had been killed by a tiger. I killed the tiger and together we made it through the forest.”
The wolf growls at the mention of tigers. He gazes down at Sage and they begin to talk to one another in a series of growls and barks.
The pup confirms your story.
“Thank god,” breathes Callum who was holding his breath.
I am Bane, alpha of this pack. The pup is of our kind, a sister pack from Fae. He has asked that we escort you to your destination.
I remain silent. Bane seems like the kind of wolf that might literally bite my head off for speaking out of turn.
Our creed demands all debts be paid. You saved the pup, Walker, and so we shall escort you. Where are you heading?
“Valley City,” I reply. “And thank you for saving us.”
Bane gives off a low grumble. We did not come for you. The pup’s call was heard and we answered. Make no mistake here, Walker, we do not like your kind.
I simply nod and Bane turns away.
Come. The journey will be a days walk from here.
The pack lead the way through the forest. Bane doesn’t like the road because they are “Walker territory”. I’m fine with this as the forest is a faster way to travel, though much more dangerous if you’re not escorted.
Callum and I travel at the back of the pack. The wolves are honour bound to escort us, but I fear it’s something they really don’t want to be doing. Sage walks up front with Bane. I think they are talking, but it’s hard to tell. From what I can see Bane is the only wolf who can speak our language. I figure it’s some sort of gift alphas have.
After a few hours Bane drops back to stride beside me.
The pup speaks fondly of you.
“We’re been through a lot together,” I reply.
When we arrive at your destination. I want him to come with us.
I pause for a moment, I actually stop walking because the comment was not what I was expecting. I shake off the surprise and continue.
“Don’t you think that is Sage’s decision?”
The choice is his…
“But you want me to tell him to stay,” I finish.
He won’t leave you. You saved him that time in the forest. You are his pack, his alpha. He will never abandon you.
“Then why should he?” I ask.
Bane growls. You are not like us! He needs to be with his own kind!
I know I’m on a dangerous ledge here, but Sage is more than just a “pup” to me. I turn to Bane and stare him down.
“I am Sage’s alpha,” I tell him. “If he wants to stay with me, he can stay.”
Bane snaps his jaw and bares his teeth. The other wolves keep moving, ushering Callum and Sage along.
I asked you out of courtesy. One alpha to another. But now I am not asking! The pup will come with us and you will tell him to go or I will kill you and the other Walker and take the pup anyway!
Bane bounds off, but his words still ring in my ears. Give up Sage or die.