Hope Springs

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Chapter 32

“We have to gather more information first,” Max said and I nodded. “But I’m not sure exactly how we should go about that. I don’t know who to put in the groups or where to look for information. But once we find the information I was thinking that we could set up a perimeter to ensure that no Rogues can escape and try to launch a surprise attack."

I frowned. There seemed to be a lot of unknowns in that. “How many groups do you want to look for information? Three?” He shrugged and I sighed. “Three it is then. So three groups of three then and you obviously want your best tracker and your fastest runners so....Rhea, Will and Keith in a group. Hadley, Josh and Leanne in another group and....Harper, Sydney and...Um....I don’t know who the third one would be, but there are your groups who you want to gather information.”

I bit my lip in thought. That was how we could get information but until we actually got the information I didn’t think that we would be able to form a good plan. Sure, we could form a plan based on what we suspected but until we got information the plan would be a tentative one at best.

“Until we actually get information I guess we should just train,” I finally said, causing Max to look at me.

“Okay. We’ll train and gather information, bide our time.” Max answered and I nodded.

Biding our time seemed like the best way to go. It would allow us to get as prepared as we could and to make sure that the pack members who couldn’t find would be able to. Max let out a sharp whistle and all movement of the pack halted and they stared in our direction.

“We have come up with a plan. We’ll be setting up a perimeter so that no Rogues can sneak up and surprise us.” He started before listing off seven names, and those seven headed out into the woods to establish a boundary. “We have also decided that we are going to try to gather as much information as we can and will be sending out three groups. You’ll observe for three days. Rhea, Will and Keith will be the first group. Hadley, Josh and Leanne the second group. Harper, Sydney and Dawn the third group.”

Those nine also headed out soon and Max continued, “For the next three days we will be training and coming up with a tentative plan for battle. Trinity will be leading one of the groups for training and I will be leading the other.

“All females above the age of sixteen will train under Trinity and all males above the age of sixteen will train with me. Let’s get started.”

I stared at my group nervously. Most of them seemed to be a little older than me and I didn’t want them to not listen just because I was younger and somewhat inexperienced. To start off training I decided that we could go on a run around the boundary that had been set up. The boundary was at least four miles and I thought that doing a four mile run would be a nice warm-up.

No one complained and we had set off. There was no talking as we ran, only the sound of our labored breathing and the pounding of our feet against the forest floor. We successfully finished one lap, arriving back at the tents and cabin sixteen minutes later. I then led us in a few complex stretches and after that I decided that doing some other exercises wouldn’t hurt.

We did forty push-ups, thirty squats, fifteen lunges, sixty crunches and a two minute plank. After doing two more sets I finally decided that we could now begin combat training. My body was slicked with sweat and I pushed my hair away from my face.

“First we’ll be fighting in human form. Try not to draw blood or injure anyone too severely,” I said, “After about a half hour we’ll switch to fighting in wolf form.”

Most of the girls nodded but a few looked a little angry. They didn’t want to do it my way, the way that I thought was best and the thought was a little frustrating. Still, they didn’t disobey and instead paired up and did what I had instructed. I myself, was fighting a girl a little younger than me. She didn’t have much experience fighting so most of my time was filled with helping her correct the mistakes she had made and teaching her new moves.

I landed a solid hit to her shoulder and she stumbled back a step before throwing a punch at me which I dodged. I caught her other fist in my hand and flipped her over my shoulder. She hit the ground with a thud and got to her feet breathing heavily.

“When you’re being flipped try to somehow unbalance your opponent,” I said, “And get to your feet as quickly as you can, the longer you are on the floor the easier it will be to break your ribs or hurt you.”

She nodded and got back into a fighting stance but I shook my head. She frowned at me for a few moments and brushed her coppery hair over her shoulder.

“Shift. We’ll be fighting in wolf form for thirty minutes and then after that we’ll jog the perimeter again to cool down.” I said and all the girls shifted.

I shifted and as soon as that had happened the girl who I had been helping lunged at me. I danced out of the way, taking my own lunge at her and nipping lightly at her shoulder. I didn’t want to hurt her. I locked my jaws around her paw and she whined, trying to pull her paw out of my grip but I just gripped down on it harder.

At this angle, if I jerked my head I could break your paw which will put you at a disadvantage, I told her, How do you think you can get out of this? Without hurting yourself anymore than necessary.

She studied the positions that our bodies were in and fell onto her side, I stepped closer to her and she kicked out with her back legs, her paws batting at my belly. I knew that she wasn’t doing it as hard as she could, this was more of a learning tool for her.

I stepped away from her and she climbed back to her feet, lunging at me and trying to go for my neck. I slammed my shoulder into her chest sending her sprawling on the ground and she quickly got back to her feet making another lunge. I snarled and headbutted her in the chest again before leaping towards her and nipping at her flank.

Try not to be as predictable as you are, I said, If you keep lunging enemies will know what to expect and you’ll be at a disadvantage.

We continued fighting and each time she got better and better and I felt proud of her and myself. I was proud of her because when there was a fight she wouldn’t be at a disadvantage and she would do fairly well. I was proud of myself because I had successfully taught her and she had listened to me.

“Good job,” Max said and we all halted in our actions. I turned my head to meet his eyes and he smiled at me, heading over and resting a hand on my head. “Take a cool off jog and then come back here for refreshments. Trin, I need to talk to you.”

I shifted and he wrapped an arm around my waist, guiding me into the house. We headed into the kitchen and he filled a glass with water and handed it to me. I took a small sip of the water and stared at him. He stepped in front of me and placed his hands on the counter so that I was trapped in.

But I didn’t feel trapped.

I felt safe.

“You did a good job,” He murmured leaning closer to me and briefly rubbing our noses together. “I noticed that you were helping Sydney’s sister, Lyla. That was nice of you.”

“She was struggling, I couldn’t just leave her to struggle and she didn’t have a partner,” I answered, taking another sip of water. “I felt like I should help her and it wasn’t like it was in vain. She learned a lot.”

“I know, I saw.” Max answered, “You’ll make a really good Luna. You are a really good Luna.”

I smiled and opened my mouth to reply but he leaned closer capturing my lips with his and I closed my eyes. He circled an arm around my waist and lifted me onto the counter and with his other hand he plucked the cup out of my grasp, setting it somewhere. I didn’t care where.

I wrapped my legs around his waist, holding him close to me as his lips parted mine and the kiss intensified. I gave a quiet moan, tangling my hands in his hair and straining to get closer to him. A pleased growl rumbled from his chest and he once again picked me up. He carried me up the stairs with very little difficulty and headed to the room where we had slept last night.

He laid me down on the bed, settling himself over me and kissed down my neck and to my mark. He sucked at the mark and I moaned, arching up towards him and he squeezed my waist. He leaned away from me, his electric blue eyes staring at me and my own wolf rose to the surface.

I wrapped my arms around his neck and pulled him back down. We would worry about the battle later. Unfortunately, we were interrupted by an incessant knocking on the door and Max growled, reluctantly climbing off of me and heading towards the door and opening it.

“What?” He growled.

“One of the groups are back,” A voice said, and I recognized it as Lyla’s. “They want to see you.”

Why were they back so early? Had something happened?
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