Cherished Lady: Part 2

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12- Dalton West

My wolf was excited. He always enjoyed going for a run but we had the added benefit of Artemis joining us and the beast was practically beaming.

I’ve been wanting to run with her ever since she first shifted but Lord Fancy-pants was against it. Said it wasn’t worth the risk, but I could see it taking a toll on Artemis over time. She needed this almost as much as I wanted it.

I took Artemis to the woods near the barracks. It was only a couple hundred acres but it would do for now. This land was permanently set aside for the use of the palace staff and residents to have a place nearby to run. This early in the morning it should be empty as wolves liked to run at night the most.

We walked a few hundred yards in together until we reached a large fallen log. It was a notable land marker to find and with the inside hallowed out, a great place to store clothes.

Once we reached it I turned to Artemis looking at her confidently. I knew she was nervous so I hoped my extra bravado gave her the nerve she needed to do this.

“This will be home base for us.” I said placing my hand on the long. “If we ever get separated come here.”

“We’re going to separate?” Artemis almost whispered.

“Nah. We’ll stick together. These woods are empty in the morning so we shouldn’ run into any trouble but it’s just a good practice to have a home base on the off chance we do.” Artemis nodded her head with a sigh releasing some of the tension she held. With that settled it was time to shift.

Without any preamble I grabbed the neck of my shirt and pulled it up and off with a giant smile. Artemis gave a startled shriek and spun herself away from me. I couldn’t help but chuckle at her modesty.

“Come on Artie. You and I used to share a bath tub when we were little.”

“When we were 4!” She screeched over her shoulder. “It’s a bit different now! You could have warned me.” Yeah I could of, but I didn’t.

“What do you expect would happen? Clothes shred during a shift if you keep them on. I don’t think you wanted us walking back naked.”

“Fair enough but I’m going behind that tree.” She turned to give me a pointed look. “No peaking.” Oh I wanted to, but I could never break her trust like that. She walked off behind the tree she indicated to and once she was out of sight I finished stripping my clothes before calling my wolf forward who was only to eager to come out.

I shook the fur of my wolf feeling the muscles stretch and shift. I was already a big wolf to begin with but the extra training in the royal guard had strengthened me even more.

Cautiously I trotted to the tree where Artemis was. I wasn’t going to peak but I wanted to be close after she shifted. Her wolf still had too much control of her. The first couple of times she shifted the beast took control and Lord Edmon and I were playing a game of cat and mouse trying to keep her in his private courtyard. She had gotten better after a while but I wanted to be cautious.

My wolf gave a soft bark, calling out to her. A small white wolf with green eyes poked it’s head out from behind holding a bundle of clothes in it’s mouth. Green eyes was good. That meant Artemis was in control. As long as they don’t go lavender we should be fine. Artemis warily walked over to the fallen log and placed her clothes inside. Then turned towards me narrowing her eyes.

...you’re...staring, She struggled to talk through the mind link.

I can’t help it you’re so small! Artemis let out a huff of air at my comment.

...not ...small

Oh yes you are. And so very cute. Like a little puppy. That earned me a low growl. It was adorable. Yeah, that’s not helping with your cuteness factor.

My wolf got inpatient then and bowed his front legs before barking at Artemis. He wanted to play. Artemis looked as us cautiously as we bounced around her trying to get her to join. It took a minute but her wolf started to chase and snap playfully after us.

We spent the next hour running through the woods, chasing each other as we went. I showed Artemis the spring that ran through the woods and cackled when my wolf splashed her. Her wolf splashed back which led to a full blown water fight. Afterward we laid in the sun letting it warm our pelts.

Artemis was beautiful. Her wolf always moved in smooth graceful movements compared to my wolf clunking around. Even without the white coat she would be considered a treasure. I was happy to have the opportunity just to sit with her and admire her.

...Thank you she purred through the bond. Run....nice.

I’m glad you liked it. We should make sure we do it every so often. The more you run around in your wolf, the more connected you’ll be. Artemis nodded her head rather than responding through the mind link.

We stayed a few more minute before her wolf stood up.

Time go back....duties. She was right. We both had responsibilities today. I stood up and padded toward her. Once I got close she jumped away. A little confused I took a step forward at which she bounced back again. I tilted my head confused at what she was doing. Her wolf gave a playful smirk before darting into the trees.
A race then.

My wolf jumped at the opportunity to chase her. Quickly we were able to catch up with her. Once we were close to her back haunches, my wolf let out a playful bark. Artemis looked back and answered with a low howl before bursting with more speed. Whoa. She was fast!

I pushed my wolf forward but he was not a sprinter. No matter how much we pushed Artemis was still able to steadily pull away.

Hold up Artie! I spoke with a chuckle. The girl was still dashing away. Come on! I get it you win. Pull up. The she wolf continued to ignore me. Artie wait we need to stick together. She was soon out of sight having successfully sped off away from me. That’s when I began to panic

Artie stop! I can’t see you. We need to stay together. Now my wolf began to frantically search around him. Following her scent I sprinted through the woods looking for any sign of her. Lord Fancy-pants was going to kill me if he found out.

For several minutes I called through the mind link hoping to get a response. I was about to head to the tree trunk to look for her there when my wolf was stopped with a sudden pain in my head followed by a desperate shout.

Dalton! It was Artemis and she was scared.

Artie where are you? I was bombarded with a bunch of jumbled thoughts that made no sense. I caught glimpses of random bushes and trees. None of it was useful.

Artie you need to concentrate. Think clear thoughts. I know it’s scary but I need to know where you are and I’ll come help. I waited several minutes hoping for a clue or sign of where she may be. I was about to start blindly searching again when I felt an image pop into my head.

It was Artemis. She was at the fallen log and she wasn’t alone. Two large wolves were in front of her. One of them had a warm red coat. The other was a dirty muddy brown, with red eyes. Rogue!

The rogue wolf was growling at Artemis while the red wolf just stared in shock. My wolf threw himself in their direction. It took only seconds to catch up.

Without stopping I leapt over Artemis and landed between her and the other wolves. Drool fell from my lips as my wolf bared it’s teeth prepared to protect his Luna. Both wolves turned their focus on me. I turned my head and shouted at Artemis.

Run!
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