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The sky glows, a brilliant sapphire blue. The sun is radiant as wind ripples through the grass, green waves undulating. Leaves quiver in the breeze like lustrous emeralds.
Silver flashes through the dense leaves, a pair of amber eyes gleaming. The form of a wolf comes to a standstill. Its pelt ranges from tawny to black, with streaks of gold and light silver being the predominant shade.
With eyes like liquid russet, the wolf stepped into the meadow, a rabbit in its jaws. Padding silently with a stunning grace, his fur shimmering in the dappled light of the sun, he gave a soft, gentle bark.
A different wolf, this one a female, was deep black and gray with white paws. She emerged from the other side of the meadow, in a den dug from the earth, brambles protecting it. Four dark brown and gray pups followed her curiously.
One of the pups, with a white splash on his chest, tackled his sibling, and together they tussled and rolled into the soft grass of the meadow.
The two adult wolves paced toward each other and exchanged affectionate nuzzles as their progeny yipped and played happily. The male dropped back the prey he had hunted for his mate, and she lay down to eat it.
The sun sank slowly in the sky, setting the horizon on fire. The air above the distant mountains smoldered with bright, fiery reds and oranges, pink tinted clouds drifting.
Exhausted from all the play-fighting, the pups snuggled up to their mother to nurse. The wolves stood to return to the den for the night, and one of the pups paused for a last glance at the stars, just now becoming visible.
A flash of movement caught the wolf's eye, and it gave an instinctual yelp of alarm. Immediately alert, the pup's father whipped around to find himself staring at a human. A human with a gun.
A shot fired, and the wolf's life ended in a matter of moments. The mother and pups sprinted for the trees, melting into the forest, invisible.
The hunter walked up to the wolf, grinning, and dragged his kill to the center of the meadow, pulling out a knife. A blade that would take the pelt of the beautiful creature, the pelt that had caused its end, the pelt the hunter would sell to feed his own greed.