Ancient Wolves - Prophecy of the Ruins

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Chapter 30

“We will only stay here for a little longer before leaving. You are probably uncomfortable and in pain,” Gunnar said, observing his people.

That was true. I really wanted to leave right now.

From the other side of the clearing, Tyra with Svea on her arm walked towards us. They didn’t quite reach us before Svea wiggled out of her mother’s arms and approached me cautiously.

I watched her, wondering if she had realized who I was yet. Young wolves have issues differentiating between the different energy and smell of the forms. For older wolves, it’s clear as day, but not for younger ones.

She reached me and sniffed the air. I laid down from my sitting position, ignoring the stinging pain in my bones. I wouldn’t want her to feel intimidated by me. The smaller I seemed, the better. She moved closer, sniffed again, and licked my snout hesitantly.

I nudged her little face in response. She let out a small bark, dropped to the floor, and snuggled against me.

“You’re Amalia,” she said, her voice soft and childlike. I had almost forgotten what the little girl looked like as a human, but hearing her voice made me remember her pigtails and how she hid behind Gunnar.

I placed my head on top of my paws and nodded.

“Why are you a wolf, aren’t you a human?”

I chuckled. “No, I’m an ancient wolf, too. But I can’t turn back into a human right now. I’m stuck.”

She jumped up, her ears perking up. “You’re like me then!”

I nudged her in the side. “You could say that.”

Gunnar stepped next to me, and I sat up looking at him, hoping we would leave. “Tyra said she would go home with you for the night. I have to stay here and bid farewell to everyone. This could take a long time, and I don’t want you to wait for me.”

I glanced at Tyra, feeling bad for cutting her evening short.

She smiled. “I know what you are thinking, and I don’t mind. I have to prepare for our departure tomorrow, anyway.”

“Try to stay out of the eyes of the humans, and if they spot you, we can only hope they will think you are a dog. Luckily, you are tiny, so it might be all fine.”

I growled at him, making him laugh. “Don’t take it personally.”

I rolled my eyes and huffed. I didn’t want to be confused with a dog. Not that I have anything against them, but I’m an ancient wolf. A magical being.

I understood his point, though, and he wasn’t wrong. Better to be confused with a dog than to start a commotion because people think a wolf got lost in the park.

“Around this time there are barely any people around, so I wouldn’t worry too much,” Tyra said.

Gunnar gave her a quick hug. “See you later.”

He nodded at me and headed back into the crowd. The mood seemed to brighten when he returned to them, happy their alpha was spending time with the pack. He must be very respected if they sought his presence so much.

“Okay, let’s go,” Tyra said and walked past me into the forest. Svea followed her, and I tagged along. My body ached with every step, but I didn’t want to slow them down.

Svea enjoyed her time jumping around the forest but never moving too far away from us. It made me a bit nervous to see her distracted like that, worried she might get lost. But Tyra didn’t seem concerned. She never even looked around to check if she was still there. Or maybe she trusted me to keep an eye on her.

It wasn’t until we reached the road when she picked her up. “I know you are a bit roughed up, but I would still try to reach the bungalow quickly. You think you can manage?”

I nodded but didn’t expect she would be race walking as if she wanted to enter the Olympics. My wolf wasn’t happy about this developing at all either, complaining about the pain until we finally reached the bungalow.

Tyra pushed open the door, and I fell to the floor in the living room, taking deep breaths. My left hind leg pulsated in pain, but I couldn’t see any open wounds. I wasn’t sure if that was a good thing or not.

Tyra placed Svea on the floor next to me. “Sorry about this. I hope you aren’t in too much pain.”

I threw her a pointed look. She frowned. “Cedric should probably look at you.”

Svea cuddled up beside me, and I let her have her way. In a way, she was comforting me. My wolf especially enjoyed the closeness of another wolf. She was starving for some sort of interaction with her kind.

It took a while before my breathing even out and the pain got more tolerable. In the back of my mind, I could feel my wolf drifting off to sleep. It also lifted the heavy thoughts she had been sharing with me the entire time, making me feel less anxious.

“Amalia, you have all your stuff packed already, right?” Tyra asked.

I lifted my head and nodded.

“We are going to pick that up later and take it with us.”

I looked at her, my mind racing. What does she mean they are taking it with them? What was their plan? I wish she would explain what was going on, but she didn’t. I sighed and dropped my head back on my paws. It would be great if communicating with her would be easier than this. But I still couldn’t get a hold of my human form.

I didn’t know how much time had passed when Tyra entered the living room again, with Cedric right behind her.

“Good evening, Amalia,” he greeted me with a smile.

I nodded, struggling to sit up. I didn’t want to look like a vulnerable mess, but I didn’t have enough energy to stay upright.

“Not sure what happened in the woods, but she seems quite roughed up,” Tyra said, picking up the sleeping Svea.

Cedric placed a bag on the floor next to me and crouched down, keeping his distance.

“I would like to check your injuries. Is that okay with you?” He asked.

It surprised me he even asked, but that made me appreciate the question even more. I nodded, and he leaned forward, staring into my eyes.

He smiled. “This might feel a bit uncomfortable, but that’s normal. Just keep looking at me.”

I felt as if he was staring into my soul, and I sighed in relief when he dropped his gaze and opened his bag.

“You don’t seem to have major injuries. The muscle in your leg seems to have ruptured, and you have a few broken ribs. It should heal relatively fast. I would avoid battling with an alpha for a while though,” he said, and winked.

I was taken aback by his lightheartedness. Shouldn’t he feel offended because I acted disrespectfully towards his alpha? Especially because he is a beta.

“I hope you don’t worry too much about what happened. It has been a while since Gunnar had to put in an effort like this, and I believe he enjoyed the challenge. He would have enjoyed it more under better circumstances. But most females in our pack don’t even dare to look him in the eyes sometimes, so it must have been a nice fresh wind.” Cedric laughed, rummaging in his bag. “Ah, there it is.”

He pulled out a little orange pill bottle and opened it with a pop, placing five pills on the floor. “These pills should ease the pain quickly.”

I eyed them with a mixture of curiosity and fear. I knew his ointment worked before and it didn’t hurt me, but taking unknown pills was on another level. What if this was all a plot to get rid of me?

My wolf stirred awake by my discomfort, coming to the surface and observing the situation. Heat crawled through my body, and a growl bubbled up in my throat.

Cedric lowered his hands and smiled. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to upset you. These pills are homemade, like the ointment I gave you. There aren’t any dangerous ingredients in it, it’s all natural. That and maybe a bit of magic.”

He wiggled his eyebrows. It looked ridiculous, and I snorted.

“I wouldn’t dare to kill off my alpha’s new friend. I value my life too much for that.”

My wolf retreated into her corner, trusting Cedric to be honest about his words. I sniffed the pills, not picking up any scent, and with one big swipe of my tongue, I picked them up and swallowed them.

“You should feel a lot better by tomorrow already,” Cedric said, closing his bag. “I will be on my way now. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

I watched him leave, regretting I couldn’t thank him. I had to remember to do that later.

“I’m glad you aren’t seriously injured. Gunnar sometimes forgets how big and strong he is. I hope he didn’t overdo it?” Tyra asked, sitting down on the floor next to me, her back leaning on the wall.

I shook my head. I was sure Gunnar probably held back a lot.

“I’m glad. He cares about you. We all do. I don’t know if you know, but back in the days, our pack had a few connections with yours. Your grandfather gave part of your territory to our pack. He wanted to reduce the territory because it had gotten too large for the number of wolves in the pack. Aloysius’s father was the pack leader during that time. I think it was your grandfather’s last duty before he gave up his title and handed it to his son,” Tyra said. My ears perked up at that. That wasn’t something I heard of before.

“We might even have met during that, but you were too young then. I was still a child, too. But in hindsight, you aren’t a stranger to us. Not as much as you think you are. It saddens me to know that no one in your pack is left.”

I shuffled closer to her and rested my head on her leg. She smiled and brushed through my fur. Usually, I didn’t like being petted by a human, but the slow motions of her fingers calmed me.

“The pack leaders even considered an alliance, something similar to what we have with a few packs now. It’s always reassuring to have more allies than enemies. Plenty of packs out there are looking out for more power and area to rule,” she said. “Did you know the larger the territory, the stronger the wolves are? Because with the larger territory, the chance of getting attacked is higher, too. Honestly, sometimes it feels as if we are still stuck in medieval times.”

I let out a puff of air. I had to agree with her. It would be nice if it wasn’t like that though, but power-hungry people seem to be everywhere.

“Well, anyway, the alliance didn’t form in the end. Your father decided against it and cut all contact a few years after he became the alpha. We still don’t know why. But we weren’t the only pack he lost touch with. It almost seemed like he wanted to isolate your pack. When we heard about the incident with your pack, we were all shocked.”

She wasn’t wrong about that. I couldn’t remember having much contact with wolves outside of my pack, and we didn’t act like a wolf pack a lot, either. Most of the time we did things as humans, and only occasionally went for a run as a pack. I learned how to fight as a human and how to build a camp, but I probably missed out on a lot of things ancient wolves usually concern themselves with.

She glanced at me, her hand stopping. “We didn’t expect that someone would be still alive. But it made sense why your scent felt so familiar to me. It was just as Bertram said, people who knew your signature would recognize you. But it was unbelievable.”

Hearing Bertram’s name stirred me up again. I wish I could show him what I was capable of.

“I hope Bertram’s behavior didn’t give you the wrong impression of our pack. Not everyone is like him. I hope you can feel welcome while you are with us,” she said and smiled, brushing through my fur again.

I doubt that was in my hands, but it almost sounded as if she wanted me to stay at their place for a while. It would also explain the question about my packed stuff. I wasn’t sure how to feel about that, but it didn’t sit well with me. They decided on something without asking me first. They shouldn’t do that.

“I’m curious to get to know you better and I know Gunnar thinks the same.” She carefully lifted my head off her leg and got up. “We should head to bed now. We have an early morning tomorrow.”

She picked up Svea again and pulled her close to her chest. “Try to get some sleep, too. Good night, Amalia.”

I looked after her, trying to process all the things she told me. Meeting them might help me find out more about the pack’s history and the other aspects of being an ancient wolf. Maybe they can help me learn about the things my pack didn’t want to teach me. And that at least felt pretty exciting, all things considered.

Staying with them will only be temporary after all. I could do that, even if I had to see Bertram every day. At least that is what I tried to convince myself of.

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