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Interwoven Wolves 2: The Magic Divide(10)
echo startled awake. something was on her, prickling her arm, moving. she had no idea what it was! she kept her eyes closed and tried to think, but the movment distracted her. her back tansed. it felt like a spider... what if it was poisonus? she reluctantly opened her eyes, her back tensing must have given her away. she slowly lifted her head.
there! a giant spid- wait, no, not a spider.
"onyx! you scared me!" the tiny black ball of fluff turned to her with innocent eyes.
"aw its ok, you're too cu- wait, did you just talk?!"
"you talked first!" why was there a cat talking?!
"FROST?!" was she still dreaming or something?
frost ran in. "what?"
"this cat is talking!"
"so?" onyx asked innocently.
"so, cats dont talk. thats not normal."
frost stared at her. "its just meowing."
"no! its talking! like a person! she apoligized!"
"um... did you go to a physiatrist ever?"
"im not crazy! it talks!"
onyx laughed. "of course i talk. so do you. can you make the human be quiet? its whining is annoying."
"did you hear her? she said to make you shut up."
"i heard a meow."
"she doesnt understand you. am i crazy?"
"nope! that human is really obnoxios. you should get a new one."
"if i could, i would."
"what are you saying about me?"
"nothing! i was saying... if i could get her a mouse, i would."
"that doesnt match your tone. whatever. can she understand you?"
"well clearly, we're having converstations. im having a conversation! with a cat! frost, thats not normal!"
"of course its normal!" onyx laughed at her.
"what did you hear?"
"a meow, and then a purr. ok, have her do something to prove that you arent imagining it."
"ok... uh, onyx, would you please... uh... go sniff that rock?"
"no, its a fun game! if you decide the rock is good enough, we can play with it."
"ok. youre weird." onyx bounded over to the rock, and then ushed it in the water.
"alright, we'll find something else."
"ok!" onyx ran back and pounced on her arm with sharp claws.
"she does understand you."
"i told you so."
"must be magic. youre fine."
"ok." a thought occured to her. "can you tell pipe shes going to become my assistant? i want to moniter her. i dont think anything is wrong with her, but if i can keep my eye on her i'll rest much easier."
"ok... when should i send her over?"
"ill just throw together a few things and then ill be ready." this way, she could try to save at least one of the pups from becoming totally brainwashed. and, id she spotted any more problems she could get a had start on them. and keep heraway from key, who might tell her about how she didnt fall into the fire in great detail.
"alright. have you ever taked to animals before?"
"yes, of course."
"i mean recently."
"alright, when you can try and talk to some wild..." frost eyes lit with an idea.
frost turned into a wolf and started barking. onyx jumped behind her and hid.
"did you understand me?"
"so you couldnt understand raven?"
"couldnt you as a wolf?"
"no, its jumbled."
"so how would i be able to understand?!"
"um... i only just thought o it! i didn't have time to think it thru."
echo didn't really have a response, so she turned to onyx. "yes, I agree."
"she didn't meow."
"body laungue." onyx stared at her.
"what did I say?"
"we'll discuss it later." onyx stared at her for a moment, then shrugged.
"alright, I'm going to go talk to pipe."
"so what was that about?" onyx gave her the judgemental cat eyes(you know you've gotten them too)
"I didn't have a response so I predtanded you said something to avoid awkwardness."
"you could have just eyed her until she left. is she a dog?"
"I hate dogs. they're stupid and they try to bite me."
"I cant do anything about it. here, sit on my shoulder while I get some stuff ready." how was she just casually having a conversation with a cat?
"I don't wa... ok." despite her confusion, echo put onyx on her shoulder where she felt her hair tugged. of course. it was the perfect toy. she laughed quietly and set up a bed and area for pipe along the wall with the pool in an area that was dry. she cleaned up her stuff and pulled onyx into her arms.
"I want to keep playing."
echo brushed some hair over her shoulder for onyx. "happy?"
"ok, I'm going to put you down and make a real toy."
"ok..." echo left and collected a branch, and then as an owl preened a few soft feathers, and then plucked a few strands of hair, wincing. she twisted them into a string and tied it to the branch and feathers, then returned. on her way thru the cavern pausing.
"pipe, did frost talk to you?"
"alright, ready to go?"
"yep!" pipe smiled and ran after her.
"alright, that area over there with the bed is for you, try to keep it clean. this is onyx, my cat. she talks to me, which of course isn't creepy at all."
"sorry. i made you a toy."
"forgiven! lets play!"
"not now. onyx, this is pipe. shes going to be my assistant."
"you're talking to a cat?"
"yes. i offended her when i called her creepy, so i was apologizing."
"alright. so what will we do?"
"I'm not sure how much you can do without magic, but we can figure it out as we go. alright?"
"part of your job will be to take care of raven, because she knows you. you cant talk to her, and when she talks to you pretend to understand."
"we don't want to scare her."
"nevermind." pipe wasn't finished. she didn't really want togo down this rabbit hole. "ok, so get all your stuff in your area and get it organized, i have an important promise to fulfill."
"a duty to my overlord. i don't want to suffer the consequences of failing."
"onyx, of course. word of advice, never offend a cat." pipe started laughing, echo forced herself not to smile.
"im serious. fear cats. if you cant keep them your friends, you will be judged. and your stuff will be knocked over."
"so we play now?" onyx asked.
"yep. chase the feathers."
"im not stupid."
"clearly." echo jolted the toy, and onyx pounced, but echo jerked it away. onyx chased the feathers all over, to pipes amusement.
"alright, are you tired."
"no..." onyx hid her yawn.
"ok, well can you help pipe?"
"id rather play."
"she needs you to watch her. without your judgement she'll never get anything done." echo winked at pipe, who looked confused.
"alright, if you really need me to. you owe me."
"thanks." echo walked over and whispered to pipe,
"shes really tired, just let her sleep, i need to go talk to your parents." pipe nodded, and echo left.
"will you come with me? i need to speak to you in private."
"ok." they looked nervous. echo lead them into the caves.
"is something wrong?"
"with pipe or raven?"
"well, pipe is going to be my assistant, i don't thinkanythings wrong but id feel better if i monitored her. she thinks shes just helping me. but i wanted to talk to you about raven."
"is she ok?"
"well, shes no worse, but she wont get better." she cut of the beginning of vocalization. "unless. i found a way to help her."
"so why isn't she better?"
"because i need frost and china to help."
"why wont frost help?"
"well, to make the fountain powerful enough to heal her mind, balance and peace needs to be restored between the lions and the wolves. and nobody wants to belive me."
"we'll belive you!"
"good, we're trying to get as many people to make peace as possible. so far, I've only got galaxy, and only because shes trying to manipulate me. but its better than nothing."
"ok, what do we do?"
"try and convince the pups. you cant go to meetings, or at least not both of you, because it would be to noticeable. if one of you can slip away that would work."
"ok, how will this help raven?"
"hopefully with enough support, frost and china will just agree to make peace."
"and that will heal raven?"
"it should strengthen all the magic, including the fountain, which should heal her.
"ok. when is the next, er, meeting?"
"tomorrow night. im meeting with a lion in the day, and that night one of you can come with me and maybe pipe to meet galaxy and hopefully her freind/rival/probably cousin lemon."
"ok..." ah, they had misgivings about involving pipe.
"pipe will be fine. besides, if the lions attack, i have magic." they nodded, but their eyes shouted concern and skepticism. she ignored it and nodded at them before walking away.
"hey, pipe! i mean, hey pipe." she whispered the second time, glancing at the sleeping form of onyx, whos ear twitched with a lot of judgement. she had woken her up. onyx pretended to be asleep, and soon relaxed again. pipe stifled her giggling.
"we should be very careful, her highness is not to be disturbed." pipe wasn't able to contain herself and burst out with laughter. onyx gave up and stood, glaring cat judgement at both of them and walking away with dignity.
"sorry, onyx. lets go so she can sleep."
"ok. where are we going?"
"ah... well, i can practice with my knife and bow, and you can try and learn it, and i was told to try talking to wild animals. you can try to catch some, i guess."
"ok." onyx eyed them.
"yes, yes. we're going now." onyx turned and ignored them. she smiled at pipe and tiptoed out, pipe following. they broke into a run outside the door, ignoring questioning stares and smiling.
"right... what should... we... do... first? wait, nope... first we should... catch our breath." pipe nodded, not even trying words. they paused.
"alright, so, what should we do first?"
"i wanna catch animals!"
"alright, don't kill them."
"i wont, my bite will just paralyze them."
"how long will that last?"
"only as long as needed."
"ok. have at it, i suppose. should i stay here or try and catch some mice?" she didn't want to be responsible for pipe getting lost. though she could probably find her way back by smell, better safe than sorry.
"ok, but just call or howl if you need help."
"i wont!" before echo could reply, pipe ran off. she sat there, slightly anxios. within ten minute, pipe ran back carrying a limp rabbit, she saw blood at the neck.
"is it ok?"
"yes, just a quick bite."
"alright..." she took the rabbit and healed the bite. it jumped up, about to run off.
"are you ok?"
"yes, run! there's a wolf!"
"she wont hurt you any... shes gone. im sorry she bothered you. would you like me to get you an apple?"
"ok, stay in the general area, ill be right back." oops she hadn't realized healing it would wake it up. she walked out of sight and turned into an owl, because if the rabbit saw her it might freak out. she flew to the orchard and grabbed one of the apples that didn't really have side effects and returned quickly.
"hello? rabbit? are you there?"
"yes. is that an apple?"
"yep. its magical, but doesn't do much and all the effects wear off, and they are either neutral or good."
"you look familiar."
"so do you."
"were you... did you recently almost get killed by an eagle?"
"yes, were you the one that tried to kill me?"
"i didn't try to kill you, i tried to see you, healed yourleg, and got into a fight with the eagle during which i almost died."
"you were going to kill me yourself but i escaped!"
"no, i wouldn't have healed you if i had. but anyways, you came from that general direction if you don't know the way home." the bunny hoped off. within moments, pipe returned with a pine martin and a red squirrel.
"aww! can i see the squirrel?" pipe nodded and dropped them. "probably hide, they're afraid of you. echo healed the squirrel.
"help! im alive?"
"yes. you're really cute."
"no im not, im feirce!"
"awww.... i mean, yes. you strike terror in my heart." the squirrel smiled selfsatisfiadly.
"there's a cat in the woods now, by the way. it will probably be a hunter, you should be careful."
"hah! im not afraid of cats!" the squirrels tail quivered. "i have to get back to my den."
"ok, goodbye." the squirrel ran off. echo collected the pine martin.
"its ok, you're safe."
"who are you?"
"my name is echo."
"you look big. wolves arent a problem for you then?"
"you may not be afraid of the wolves, but you should be afraid of the other things."
"what other things?"
"they smell like someplace hot and strange animals. they're huge, they look kind of like bobcats but without markings. one of them has a lot of furaround his face. they took a wolf out of the forest."
"grey and brown, he didn't act like most wolves."
"that might have been forest. what color was the lion with a lot of fur around his face?"
"blonde. he was bigger than the rest."
"that was china... run as far from where you saw him as possible. or leave this forest altogether. there's a different forest outside."
"you know him?"
"i have to go. goodbye."
"bye." the martin ran off and pipe ran in.
"china did what?"
"go back to the cave. now. i don't know exactly, ill find out soon."
"no. run back and stay in the cave." she turned into an owl and flew directly back.
frost looked up. "we were just about to go hunting. can it wait?"
"yes, but you'll want to hear it now."
"what is it?"
"a pine martin saw china in the forest-"
"forcing forest to the savannah."
"what?! this is war!"
"no. don't do anything. we don't know whats going on and it would be better to investigate. i can find out, at the very least a little more."
"that was an act of war."
"technically forest was just a wolf. and if we can avoid destroying the world that would be great."
"how long do you need?"
"i don't want a deadline."
"fine. i want to know exactly whats going on and if my wolves are next."