Chapter 6 Rivals
Imani moaned as she emerged from her slumber, the wolf spirit gazed at the room and yawned. Stretching she opened her window seeing a low sunbeam grace the still dark starry sky. Her finger moved to where the sun was." It is 6:00." Imani muttered a smile spread on her lips once the wolf saw what was in front of her. It was a small forest, her nose lifted to inhale the scent of pine and prey. She licked her lips." My pup and pack will need food, the so called alpha will not provide it until first light. They need more protein, deer will fix that." Imani jumped from the window and landed onto the soft grass. Crouching on all fours, her body transformed into a large brown wolf before she darted into the forest.
It had been so long since Imani had run freely in the forest, the wolf remembered her past the smell of honeysuckle that always surrounded her pack, the steep mountains and raging rivers. Life wasn't easy, but it suited her. Yet Imani knew she could never go back to that life, not when her chance to be the next pack leader had been dashed thanks to him. The wolf growled, Imani had been the only pup born to the packs' alphas making her their princess and future leader. Despite being royal, Imani trained hard to earn her title. Most nights the wolf refused to sleep because she devoted her time to exercise her strength and sharpen her highly-developed reflexes.
But it all changed one day when Imani's mother: Ryka, had given birth to a male cub to which her father Nanook named Leaf in honor of the trees that had shielded their pack for thousands of years. At first, the wolf spirit was happy since she was approaching adulthood and her parents wouldn't feel empty nested without her near. As weeks passed, Imani had noticed that her mother began avoiding her and spent all her time with the cub. Ryka would rarely leave her den or allow any other female in the pack to watch Leaf. Imani didn't take it too seriously until mealtime when Ryka pinned her daughter against the stone walls of the den because she wanted the cub to eat first.
The wolf recalled that moment, she had been bleeding and fled to the river to wash the wound allowing small tears to shed. Imani had wondered why her mother had done it and why her father had just stood there instead of intervening when it hit her. Mother was in charge of the pack, father was second in command and followed Ryka without question. This was a sad truth, but Nanook adored his daughter and made the decisions on who he thought was best to lead their family. Things couldn't get any worse and her mother's attitude was probably a phase. If only the wolf knew how wrong she was, Ryka grew colder towards Imani so much that the princess was forbidden to eat or sleep with her family in the den.
Forcing her to stay with a few of her close friends in their den, Imani had no idea how much she could endure her family had practically abandoned her. All she had left was her status as future pack leader or that what was the wolf thought until one day Nanook announced that Leaf before the next moon is to be pack leader. Imani's heart broke and she ran into the woods, never looking back or regretting her choice. Breaking from her thoughts, Imani stopped and sniffed the air. Nearby, was a small herd of female deer led by a large buck." He will be perfect lasting us for weeks." Imani's eyes narrowed as she hid in the tall grass, stalking silently towards the prey its scent teasing her.
Instinct took over and Imani pounced tackling the buck and sinking her teeth into its neck. She turned back into her crossbred form and dragged the beast unto her shoulders as the wolf walked back to the shrine, the sun visible in the sky. Once inside, Imani sensed Kokkuri-san's presence in the kitchen and against her better judgment proceeded to go there. She saw him busy chopping something on the counter and placing it in a large metal pot. Shigaraki was seated at the table reading a newspaper while Inugami was leaned against a wall his gaze to Kohina's room. Her scent still lingered there meaning the girl had not woken up yet, it was fine if the pup slept in anyway there was no school today.
Imani walked pass Kokkuri-san and set the buck on the counter, causing him to scream and almost faint. The screaming caught the attention of the other spirits, Shigaraki laughed at the fox's reaction while Inugami stared hungrily at the beast laid motionless in front of the wolf." What the heck is that!?" Kokkuri-san yelled edging away from the wolf." Meat, I caught it for the pack this morning. It will provide the protein my pup needs to grow." Imani answered taking a knife and cutting the beast's stomach open. The wolf began taking out the internal organs and cutting off the antlers. Kokkuri-san gagged." I doubt that can provide Kohina protein and what are you doing with those?" he said pointing to the antlers.
The wolf shrugged allowing them to drop to the floor as she continued to work on the buck. Kokkuri-san went back to making his dish, golden eyes narrowing at Imani who was too focused to return the fox's foul gaze. After a few minutes, the deer was transformed into a ten deliciously cooked steaks decorated with fresh parsley herbs Imani had picked from the forest." Alright time to eat." The wolf served the taunki and the dog their food before sliding Kokkuri-san his." There is no way I'm eating that and neither is everyone else. I'm the one who does the cooking around here therefore my food is what they crave, especially Kohina." Imani growled at the fox not noticing the spirits were tasting the food." Not anymore fox, I have found something more tolerable than your food." Inugami said stabbing his fork into the meat." I have to agree, Imani maybe a better cook than you." Shigaraki said in agreement. Imani blushed while Kokkuri-san huffed." So those two like it, Kohina is different and has been eating junk food most of her life. It took her a long time to eat my food, yours will be no different." The fox said just Kohina wandered into the room.
She rubbed her eyes and took a seat next to Shigaraki as Imani approached the girl setting the food in front of her." Good morning my pup." The wolf proclaimed kissing the girl's forehead. Kohina looked down at the food and took a bite." Mmm." The child muttered putting more and more meat into her mouth." Taste like cup of noodles." Kokkuri-san held his heart gripping the counter for a minute before retreating to his room. Imani smirked evilly before taking the fox's plate and joining the others." Wolf one, Fox zero."
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