439 Catty Guards
Victor and his group of rogues had been watching in the darkness for a while as the trio set up camp. As Victor had predicted, the tired wolves would make camp at the exact spot most suitable to rest. Almost every other spot along the river was too narrow for them to set up a tent… let alone three.
There had never been a moment, except when Victor had seen the mountain pass come down on the Prince of Sirius, that he didn’t feel as incredibly lucky as he felt right now.
Not only had he brought down one royal but he now had the chance to bring down another. He felt like the luckiest person on the planet at the moment. After bringing down the prince, his assumption that he’d be satisfied with his revenge had proved negative.
The hunger for revenge felt like it was only starting. He now wanted to take what the prince cared about just like the prince had done to him. He wanted to kill the princess as well.
‘At this rate, I could even put an end to the one King Rana fears so much. The one they call the Rogue Killer,’ he mused. His dreams tasted sweeter with each passing moment.
The wolf next to him nudged him out of his reverie and he returned his attention to the situation at hand.
The amber-eyed wolf and his cronies were inching ever so closer to the camp, making sure to keep silent. The delta that had been left outside the tents was starting to nod off… her eyelids getting heavier with every second.
Crysta’s neck seemed to struggle with the weight of her neck and keeping conscious was becoming a battle worse than anything she’d experienced so far through the Trials. The delta had underestimated how exhausted she truly was.
As the night wore on, Crysta grew even sleepier and it seemed like she was going to give up this fight.
When the dosing girl finally swayed beyond normal and was on her way to hitting the ground, she caught herself and jerked awake. Crysta shook her head in disbelief and ran away from the camp.
Opposite the great wall of the mountain that shielded one side of this convenient camp was the freezing cold stream.
This was one source of cold that even the rogues feared to touch.
Nevertheless, this girl plunged her hands into the icy water, jolting every nerve. Proceeding to do something even crazier, she splashed this freezing water on her face.
Victor’s amber eyes widened in shock, ‘That’s some scary resolve she’s got… but no matter… she’s far too tired to keep it up much longer.’
The rogues watched this routine happen a bit longer before they started to get bored of it. Instead of falling to the ground in a heap of exhaustion like Victor expected, the delta always managed to pick herself up and jolt herself up with one painful splash of icy cold water to the face.
They could watch this forever and never be able to accomplish their goal. Fortunately for them, a pattern soon made itself clear. A moment of weakness arose right before the girl realised she was about to drift asleep… right before she jolted herself awake.
At that moment that Crysta was meant to tip off her oscillations, she fell completely into the clutches of sleep, completely oblivious to every sound out of the ordinary… and Victor had noticed.
The soothing sound of the river sped up this process even more.
‘For a slight moment before she chooses to douse herself with that ridiculously freezing glacial water, she is completely unconscious and her guard is down,’ Victor thought to himself. This is what he planned to exploit.
The other rogues didn’t understand his intentions at first. Without the ability to use the mind link, they could not convey messages. So instead, they chose to follow his lead.
The wolf they were following might have been insane but he was getting the most done compared to what the rest of the rogues had in over a year.
When Victor was getting ready to leap out of his hiding place and carry out the bloodthirsty plan that formed within his mind, he felt a paw scratching his side.
At first, he ignored it but then, it kept coming. Something was bothering him. He pushed the rogue beside him away, ‘Can’t you see I’m trying to do something here? While the rest of you have been seated doing nothing, I have been coming up with elaborate schemes such as this one,’ his thoughts echoed within his mind.
‘Ugh, one of the downsides of not being in a pack. It might feel like I’m going insane sometimes but being unable to use the mind link also has its upsides. Like no one is reading my mind or emotions every time they feel like it. That lack of privacy was really starting to get on my nerves.’
The other wolf couldn’t hear thoughts and therefore continued to nudge him… slowly getting frantic that his superior was not even sparing him a glance.
Victor, losing his patience and finally seeing his opening, leapt out of his hiding place and started the dash toward the dosing wolf.
Halfway to the girl, a guttural growl filled the silent air, draining all life out of his system and replacing the rushing excitement he’d felt with cold fear.
The rogue planted his paws into the ground and brought his dash to a skidding stop. Then he looked up.
Raised not more than three metres above the camp was a stone ledge sticking out of the steep mountain side and on this ledge stood a menacing beast. A mountain lion was standing with its eyes pinned on Victor.
Curiosity mixed with fear. He had no idea how he’d missed the presence of the ferocious beast and now that he was attacking the wolves, he was more curious as to why the lion had made its presence known just now.
There was more prey… ‘These palace pricks are practically sitting ducks,’ he mentally cursed, ‘Why in the moon’s shadow would the lion be looking at me? And why…’ his thoughts were stopped by another bone-chilling roar, this one much louder.
Another roar came, however, it wasn’t from the same lion. He looked up and found that numerous figures of the same species were standing with their eyes trained on him. ‘Many of them… But they don’t hunt in packs.’
The lions bore their menacing teeth and snarled at the werewolf. Their claws extended and scratched the stone beneath their paws making their aggressiveness fully known to him.
Victor took one uncertain step back… almost worried that he might step into the river.
The first lion jumped down from its perch and started a slow cat-like walk towards him. The wolf took another step back but the lion wouldn’t take its eyes off him. Fear filled him to the core as he wondered what the lion was thinking, ‘I won’t bother your meal again, okay? I take it you already have plenty of cronies to share it with,’ Victor thought to himself. At times like this, he felt a mind link that allowed him to talk to animals would be priceless.
‘Just devour the girl like you intentionally planned. I won’t get in your way,’ he mentally cooed. In his mind, he smirked, knowing full well that the campers would not survive the ordeal, whatsoever…
The lions were easily thrice their number.
What happened next, however, ripped the smile off his face… maw all at once. The lion stepped past the dosing girl without paying her a moment’s notice. The lion didn’t even bother to check if she was looking at it.
Victor took more steps back and snarled when he noticed the lion completely lower its guard around the girl. Its back completely turned, he was now sure this lion did not view the girl as a threat at all.
In fact, two more lions dropped from their perches and surrounded the girl in what looked like a protective circle. Fear mixed with rage, he couldn’t do anything against so many creatures of the wild.
But still… all of this was wrong… all wrong.