“Is there anything you would like to do today Clarice?” Rettacus asked as he walked by Clarices side.
They had left the dining room a little while ago and were now quietly walking throughout the castle hallway.
Clarice was busying herself with analyzing the beautiful large framed artworks situated all throughout the walls before she turned her head to look at Rettacus.
She stopped for a second before pulling out the pen and notepad from her back pocket, Rettacus raised a brow.
Clarice began to write swiftly, her heartbeat was slightly picking up and Rettacus began to wonder why she was getting nervous all of a sudden.
She flipped the notepad to him and he quickly read what was written.
‘When can I go home?’
Rettacus sighed before rubbing a hand on his face, Clarice warily turned the notepad back her way with a small frown.
“Clarice, can we talk about something else? Or go and do something? I do not have a good enough answer for you right now.” Rettacus told her, trying his best not to sound too harsh and hurt her feelings.
Her shoulders fell in defeat anyway before she inhaled shakily.
The pen in her hand began moving again and in a second she flipped it back his way, he bit his lip nervously.
‘Can we go outside? My wolf is really restless, I want to see if she will shift.’
Rettacus instantly nodded his head, “of course you can. Let us go.”
Clarice smiled weakly before following as he lead her to the path that lead to the outside.
“Alright, we can stay in this clearing for now Clarice. However, it is going to get dark soon seeing as the time is changing, so if you do shift, stay close.”
Clarice looked at him before nodding understandingly.
She moved the pen in her hand over the notepad, beginning to write something.
‘It is frustrating not having a voice, so I apologize for not writing very fast, but I can not control my wolf, she does as she pleases and there is not much I can do.’ Rettacus read off of the light brown paper.
He scratched his neck nervously, he could not afford anything happening to her.
“Do you know how to shift back?” He asked curiously while gazing deeply into her eyes - she knew he was not asking her to judge her, yet she still could not help but lower her gaze in embarrassment before shaking her head softly.
Rettacus let out a small ‘hmm’ in understanding before looking up at the woods around them - the woods here were insanely thick and if a stranger were to enter them they would instantly get lost, it was made this way so that only the Royals knew the way back to the castle.
“If you do end up shifting Clarice-” he stopped what he was going to say when he noticed her lift the notepad and write something quickly - her fingers moving fast making him raise his brows.
She flipped the notepad over and in all capital letters she had written, ‘CLAIRE’ and he smiled.
“If you do end up shifting Claire, I will shift alongside you and I promise to follow you wherever your wolf takes you. And I will make sure you shift back and are safe. No worries.”
Clarice nodded her head while smiling thankfully at him, and he instantly chuckled at her excitement - he loved how easy it was to make her happy, she was a very simple girl.
“Ok, do you want us to go for a walk to allow your wolf to realize it’s surroundings, or just stand here and wait?” He asked Clarice with a raised brow, she hugged her upper body before shrugging.
She had never waited for a shift before, it usually just took over unexpectedly and happened out of the blue.
“Do you feel anything?” He asked her curiously and she inhaled shakily before nodding timidly.
She could feel her bones begin to throb - they had been aching slightly ever since she left the dining room yet she paid them no mind until now.
The more Rettacus gazed into her eyes the more he noticed how much they began to pale and then in a second they darkened as if they never even hit that odd pale green color.
“You are going to shift soon Claire, I can tell.” He told her with a nod of his head and she gulped before nodding back. She had already known that.
She groaned when she felt her knees begin to buckle and Rettacus stepped back to give her some space.
“In order to control your shift Claire, you must calm down. So close your eyes and think of something that makes you feel at peace with your body. Then think of the line between you and your wolf...” he trailed off when he realized she was cooperating and smiled.
Her eyes were closed and she had allowed her hands to drop to her sides. She began to feel as her tense shoulders relaxed and the muscles of her face which were previously scrunched into a grimace slowly following suit.
“Think of that line Claire. Think about how smoothly your wolf should cross it, do not allow her to just barge forcefully into your territory. Think of her slowly crossing and then and only then allow your bones to softly shift.”
And she tried to do as he said, she thought of the line and of her wolf crossing slowly, but there was something that was suddenly making her wolf very restless and eager.
Rettacus noticed the knot between Clarices eyebrows and narrowed his eyes worriedly, “what is the matter Claire?”
Clarice inhaled shakily before shaking her head frantically, sweat began to form on her temples.
“Clarice?” He called out to her, she responded with a groan that followed after a loud crack.
He noticed her leg bent into an awkward angle and he knew her wolf was forcing a shift upon her. The method he had told her to try did not work.
Clarice felt the tears that trailed down her cheeks and she was too scared to open her eyes.
Her body was hunched as all of her bones began to crack and bend in order to mold her into her wolfs form.
She fell forwards onto all fours and Rettacus cautiously watched as her head began to shake frantically before her snout began to form and auburn fur bursted all throughout her body.
In the excruciating span of an hour it took for the rest of Clarices wolfs body to form Rettacus realized that he too needed to shift in order to be ready for Clarices wolf unexpected behavior.
They took each other in. Clarices wolf looked the size of a husky beside Rettacus’ huge dark wolf - his eyes still held their familiar warmth whereas Clarices wolf had a more feral look in her green eyes because she had yet to be tamed.
With one last glance at Rettacus’ wolf Clarices wolf swiftly spun around and quickly ran into the woods with Rettacus instantly following behind her.
For not having her wolf long, Clarices wolf was definitely faster than an average untamed wolf.
Her wolf moved gracefully yet rapidly, with every run it slightly leaped a bit - her body stretching out before going back to normal and then repeating.
The woods got thicker and thicker the deeper that they ran into them and soon the bright sun from the sky was no longer lighting up their way like earlier - all the branches that hung low with dark leaves coating the lengths of them blocked anything and everything that tried to peek through.
Rettacus’ wolf easily managed to follow Clarices, however due to its speed and determination to stay by her side - he failed to notice a small hole in the muddy ground and found his paw trapped inside.
Clarices wolf did not bother to turn around and check on him when the sounds of his large paws rapidly hitting the ground stopped mingling with hers nor when he growled out loudly to warn her that he was stuck.
Her wolf continued to aimlessly run at meteoric speed with no care in the world or any idea on how to find her way back.
Rettacus’ wolf howled loudly yet the sound fell dead to her wolfs ears. Soon enough, any sound that Rettacus’ wolf made to call for Clarices could not be heard even in the distance.
Now it was just her. All alone in the suffocating woods - like deja vu. Over and over again.