Chapter 1 - Development Crisis
Astroluz grew up knowing only the Crus-a-liv clan as his family.
His father was a clan head, a warrior who died in battle a year after his son was born.
Astros mother was sickly after giving birth to him, she grew worse at the demise of her husband and she followed her husband into the ether realm a year after. They died too young, leaving a suckling all alone in the world without his first family.
Astro's uncle filled in the space of being clan head but was only meant to be there till after Astros development -a process that happens to werewolves that shows if they are Bipoles (human & werewolf or human & fullwolf) or Tripoles (human, fullwolf and werewolf).
The Cruz-a-liv clan contains more Wolves than other shapeshifters to include few Coyotes and fewer Jackals making them a really powerful clan.
After development Astro will be able to take his rightful place, he is now sixteen (although werewolves live longer than humans and age more slowly after development).
Werewolves are meant to start developing from age thirteen but it isn't unusual to have late bloomers like Astro, at least that's what the clan heads and Chief of clan hope is the case.
"Astro! Cmon move it, don't let get it pass you" Lucas his friend and age mate charged him as they bounded through the thick woods chasing after a deer with spears and knives in hands.
"It's gotta be one of the biggest deer I've ever seen plus it's too fast!" Astro called back as he dove to intercept the deer from turning and instead turned it towards the others.
They were five altogether on the hunt: Astro, Lucas (son of Lucio, the clan head who is next in line as Chief of clan as its being rotated among all clan heads), Leila (Lucas' betrothed, daughter of Freya the only female clan head), Sheila (Leila's twin sister who hopes to be betrothed to Astro once he develops because there can't be a betrothal without knowing what pole those to be betrothed are especially because those of like poles can't be betrothed in order to keep the cycle moving properly), and Keith third son, fifth child of the current Chief of clan.
All have developed except Astro, all four are all bipoles with the guys being werewolf and the ladies being fullwolf.
If Astro minds that he is the odd one out among his clique he doesn't show it at all and since in his own human form he has been discovered to be better than them all in human form.
He is faster and has more strength and super reflexes as well as agility that can't be compared to any of them while in human form.
This is the only reason he is able to join them for hunts because otherwise he won't be able to keep up.
Now as he intercepted the deer and took a jab at it with his spear the deer turned sharply back heading right where the others are.
Astro thanks to his keen eyesight as well could actually place them all.
He saw Keith already battling with the turn as the chase had gotten him riled up and he could hardly keep himself under control now and he started bounding on all fours towards the dear.
Lucas was coming in from above but in perfectly controlled werewolf form as he needed it to climb trees and leap from one tree to another.
Sheila was covering the back end a bit far away from the group crouching but still in human form as a trap should the deer head that way which was exactly what it did as it sighted Leila diving towards it, turning to a grey furred wolf midair jaws open wide.
She missed it by less than an inch and crashed into Keith who was just starting his own pounce.
The deer was now headed straight at Sheila seeing that path as the only escape route with Lucas in trail from the trees but he'd slowed when he checked on those who crashed to resume after he was sure they were okay.
Now Astro was hot on the pursuit, Lucas following from above but more suddenly than they'd expected a flash of white fur came into view and a snapping sound followed a snarl as Sheila in wolf form pounced and caught the deer right in the neck with her jaws crushing a few bones.
She stayed like that till the deer stopped trashing which wasn't long at all.
Astro got to her first and on seeing him, her tail started wagging in a furious blur but stopped as soon as Lucas joined followed by Keith and then Leila also in wolf form.
"Great work!" Lucas called as he and Keith reverted to human form, he was automatically the leader of the gang by rank.
"OK, that's a wrap guys, you girls can go on ahead, we'll meet you at the creek" (a place they chose as their checkpoint because it had water for them to wash up and a cave where they'd put their belongings) the ladies couldn't turn back because they'd be naked at the turn back to human.
So they headed away first and the guys followed more slowly as they had to gut the deer first then string it to a pole to be carried conveniently.
"Sshhhuusshh" Astro suddenly called midway to the creek, then he crouched and ordered the others to do so as well which they did.
"What is it?" Keith asked but Lucas held him and put a finger to his lip as a sign to stay silent.
Lucas knows well enough of Astros superior senses in human form and respects him for it.
Astro gestured to their right and held up two fingers meaning two presence had been detected.
Lucas immediately brought out his knife and had them crouch behind a huge tree each.
He knew if it were just an animal, Astros senses wouldn't be on such high alert
Keith now recognizing the danger also unsheathed his knife, they were on unmarked territory so anything could happen.
Lucas still had his eyes on Astro while Keith fixed his at the indicated direction.
Astro suddenly looked up and straight at Lucas with fear on his face and a slight shake of his head.
Lucas knew right then that meant trouble and most likely shapeshifters.
Sure enough two figures came into view, feline in nature, sleek and half turned, they seemed to be shapeshifters in werepanther form.
Standing on two legs a mix of paw, feet and claws with tails swishing and extended arms clawed black.
Their faces gave their gender; the first had a wicked curvy smile and longer hair braided into a single long braid, while the other had short cropped hair and a smirk on his face.
They stopped a few feet away from where the trio hid and the female raised her right hand as if inspecting her nails which were now claws.
"We know you're hiding behind those trees, and from your stench we also know you're wolves, your lot used to be so brave, I'm not sure how true that is in your case seeing as you're cowering behind trees" her smile broadened to show a wicked set of canines.
Keith stood and came into view knife clutched tightly, Lucas shook his head, he knew Keith was too hotheaded to let that insult slide, he started to realise Keith might cause more trouble for them if allowed to go out of control so he also stepped out knife sheathed and palms stretched sideways.
"We don't want any trouble, we're just passing through" Lucas stated.
The male gave out a sharp laugh and turned a full circle on the spot saying "wow, what a coincidence, so are we, but we're kinda getting hungry and its really difficult to catch anything in this area because they know how to evade and escape all too well".
The female placed her left hand on the males shoulder after he'd completed his turn and said "I'm sure you kids wouldn't mind sharing your catch, I know you truly don't want trouble" then she inspected her claws some more.
Astro still crouching behind the tree knew they hadn't detected him yet, he knew how to mask himself well enough which was easier considering the fact that the dead deer was with him and he also hadn't developed yet unlike his other two friends.
He also knew this duo are well older than they were and that Lucas would've figured that out as well but their only problem was Keith who wouldn't let any insult to him or his kind stand and would never tolerate such a request to share their catch, although when it comes to that, Lucas himself would never do that too.
Sure enough Keith stepped forward a bit more and spoke with venom dripping in his voice "How dare you?! Who do you think you are to make such demands and threat, our catch is rightfully ours because we worked hard for it and we'd never share with worthless scavengers such as yourselves who don't even know how to hunt properly".
Lucas closed his eyes as Keith was almost done with his statement knowing he'd called for a fight and this was one that they might not win knowing fully well what the circumstances are, those circumstances are clearly lost on Keith.
Astro saw Lucas start to calm his mind in a bid to concentrate and touch his werewolf form for a quick transformation and he could feel the menace emanating from the panthers on hearing the insult Keith issued them.
They readied themselves for battle, no more words would be exchange, Keith with his low tolerance made them lose that chance, now they'd have to fight a battle that wasn't sure they'd win.
Astro looked at his hands at his knife and at his side at his spear, this wasn't a battle for those kind of weapons but they could be the exact edge they need against the panthers especially since they were oblivious to his presence.
He heard a deep throaty growl come out from Keith and looked up to see Lucas as well in full transformation as the panthers started their attack each going for who was in front of them.
Lucas was in the path of the male and Keith the female, she rushed at Keith but was surprised by a tackle from her side from Lucas as he changed the battle sequence knowing that such surprise attacks are the only thing that could give them more winning chance.
Keith was as well sharp witted to know the lane Lucas was driving at as he also dove straight at the male werepanther with claws bearing down heavily.
The male was quick to regain his footing in time to partly block Keiths barrage but the side of his face was scratched and he quickly stepped backwards from Keith after the block failed.
Lucas and the female tumbled to a stop and already both were bleeding from multiple scratches as they'd been attacking each other all through the tackle and tumble, but now the surprise was over and the fight was about to start favouring the werepanthers.
But Lucas once again came through by bounding up to a tree and moved from tree to tree so fast he came up behind the female and dove at her as she was turning towards him, he succeeded in knocking the wind out of her and she gave a yowl as she landed hard on some rocks.
Her cry distracted her partner and Keith dove right in at the opportunity aiming at his feet as he least expected that and fell hard as well.
It was obvious the werepanthers had underestimated the young wolves as well but not anymore because as Lucas made to settle on the female panther, she swiped at him, backhanding him hard and he was thrown at a tree hitting his shoulder hard.
Keith as well pounced on the male but received an immediate jab at his lower jaw, throwing him off the male panther landing a few feet from Astro.
The male panther had hit his head and blood was streaming down the other side of his face.
He came for Keith with speed, landing right on top of him, he raised his hand high in the air claws fully extended.
Astro was already on the move spear in hand because he knew such a blow would take Keiths life should it land.
An ear piercing shriek filled the air, Lucas and the female werepanther stopped amidst grappling as they looked towards the direction of the deathly sound only to see the male werepanther on top of Keith with a spear fully piercing through his side the tip coming out of the other side and Astro holding the shaft.
In the blink of an eye the female panther jumped off Lucas and sped towards the trio tangle.
Keith saw her coming and quickly wiggled out from under the male and tried to get a frozen Astro out of the way but was unsuccessful as she got there and flung Astro away who crashed on a tree, hit his head a bit and a strong thin branch pierced his left shoulder all the way through.
The female panther hugged her partner to herself wailing and at a loss on what to do to help her partner who was just moments away from dying.
Keith and Lucas hurriedly arose a dazed Astro and ushered themselves speedily out of there but not before Keith slung the deer along thinking if they didn't take it along it'll all have been for nothing.
As they were leaving Astro glanced back still dazed and seeing a bit out of focus but he saw her face clearly, he saw the rage and menace directed at him from her glare and could almost hear her swearing she'd find him and make him pay.
He lost focus again and had to rely on Lucas to support part of his weight as they ran to where the ladies were waiting for them.............
Hope you enjoyed the first chapter, please let me know what you feel by commenting and support me by liking and also review each chapter... thanks... More to come... ✌🏼