436 Pathetic… that’s the word
“It’s a possibility. I was proposing we hunt and gather some wood, then make our way to the creek. We stop moving at dusk and make camp. We don’t have to be moving a quick pace but I don’t like the idea of us being too close to this place either,” the princess’s suggested.
Wyatt was sure she’d heard his arguments. She was only choosing to ignore them now… or maybe she’d found a way to combat the cold he’d warned them against. After all, she was choosing to plan ahead and gather wood.
The barren ranges bore no trees and traversing them without wood would only mean there would be nothing to keep them warm at night but their sheets.
Crysta and Wyatt nodded in confirmation. The delta grabbed Wyatt’s bag and retreated to the woods to shift while the man waited for her. When she returned with the bag in her maw, he took it and slung it over his shoulders, “Let’s not waste any more time then.”
The trio was running through the woods in the direction of the creek when they spotted a ruffle of fur through the trees. Crysta signalled and the three began chasing the creature. A few seconds into the chase and they spotted the full body of an agile hare darting towards its burrow.
Crysta’s muscles tensed as she prepared to pounce at the hare but that’s when she noticed a hole very close ahead. The hare was much closer to home than she’d expected. Safety was closer to it than she had initially thought and the delta suddenly felt unsure of her capabilities…
The swishing sound of the white wolf’s furry tail cutting through the air announced Lina’s sudden burst of speed. Before the delta and alpha could follow the slender white wolf’s actions, she had the hare in her jaws around the hare’s neck.
The creature froze suddenly in fear, eyeing the comfort of its home that was only a step away. This was right before the white wolf’s great jaws clamped down on the creature’s neck with a sickening crunch.
She waited for a while for the life to completely drain out of the creature’s body. With a kill that swift, there wasn’t much of a struggle and soon enough, it had gone completely still.
Lina shifted into her human form and started tying the creature to her back using a rope from one of the bags. “Do you think it will vanish when you shift?” Crysta asked through the mind link.
“It’s nothing more than just meat and fur now. It will vanish along with my clothes and bags, just like something that no longer bears life,” the royal responded.
She shifted moments later and just like she’d said, the hare was gone. However, her next step looked strained, “I think I know what it is to carry heavy things now,” she chuckled.
“Wyatt, try to stay alive. You do not want to vanish like that hare…”
“Very funny, Crysta. You don’t have to run fast Lina. We are just trying to get to the stream after all,” Wyatt’s voice was genuinely concerned or at least that’s what Lina thought she heard. It was still going to take some getting used to.
The girls couldn’t decide whether he was being himself or not, ‘Perhaps he hit his head and is now suffering partial amnesia… or a personality mix-up that will be fixed the moment he recovers,’ Crysta whispered over the mind link. The princess chuckled.
The trio made it to the stream as dusk was approaching. Just as Crysta had suggested, the stream came from the mountain where the slopes were smoother. They could climb the mountain from its shores, however, where it led was only half their journey across the mountains. They would have a harder time traversing the treacherous terrain from there.
With time they realised the river was winding through the mountains, picking the smoothest parts of the slopes and leading them deeper into the dizzying towering ranges.
“Sometimes I forget that these mountains are mentioned in plural,” Crysta groaned inwardly as they continued jogging upstream.
“Why can’t we use any other paths and have to follow the stream alone?” The princess suddenly asked. They had noticed several other paths leading away from the river as they ran through the ranges.
“Because every other path will eventually lead us to a dead end, just like this stream eventually. The only difference is that this river leads us to the highest point of the ranges which will then allow us to cross to the other side. You can think of it like the river flows out of the mountains through the only route that’s sure to get the water out of them,” Crysta explained.
Dusk eventually came with night creeping close behind. The trio stopped running to rest. Fortunately for them, they’d found somewhat of a wide flat clearing in the side of the mountain that allowed them enough space to raise their tents. It was the perfect place to rest.
At this point, they were bordered by two very steep walls on both sides of the river that gave them only two directions to follow… straight ahead or back where they came from.
They didn’t have much firewood but just enough to cook their meal and have a sumptuous dinner. Wyatt, for once, had not complained about getting tired, which was why Lina got worried when he wouldn’t get up thirty minutes after they had stopped running.
The alpha remained in his wolf form and closed his eyes resting. While Crysta got the campfire going, Lina knelt next to the white-soled black wolf, “Perhaps I underestimated you.”
The black wolf opened his eyes to look at Lina for the first time since reaching their temporary camp, “I’m a lot stronger than you give me credit for,” he said weakly over the mind link.
With his condition, they weren’t words he ought to have said but his pride wouldn’t let him look weak in front of the same person he had spent years mocking. She was the one who was much stronger than he’d realised. He only wondered how Crysta noticed her strength before any of them had.
She was always so weak and frail. Barely able to stand up to any of them. Her slender wolf was nothing like the strong alphas everyone was used to looking up to for strength. But for some reason, everyone had grown to respect her regardless of this.
There wasn’t a wolf in the royal capital faster than her.
“I wasn’t talking about your physical strength. I’m afraid you’re reluctance to train has left you below your best in that department,” Wyatt was shocked by her words.
He was definitely insulted, but now also curious to hear the rest of her explanation. If she’d known how weak he was all along, what else was she basing her statement on? To him, he couldn’t look more pathetic…
‘Yeah, that’s the word. I’m… pathetic.’