Infinity woke up to see her mate prodding her with his nose. He couldn’t quite get over the fact that she had mated with someone else before they became mates. She couldn’t blame him. She had loved Thing Two, only to find out he didn’t care for her.
“Yes Speckle?” She murmured.
“Otterblaze attacked Doenight again, my love.” He whispered in her ear before stalking off. It had been three moons since Alarick and Echo had died. If she could be half of the Alpha female that Echo was, she would be blessed. She jumped down from the rock that supported her den above it and walked into the nursery. Otterblaze cannoned into her. She stopped him from jumping at her daughter.
Otterblaze had come to them shortly after Echo had died. She growled at her daughter when Doenight tried to jump on Otterblaze. She couldn’t wait until Otterblaze or Doenight was out of the nursery. It would be more peaceful. She padded over to Silver who had come to the nursery soon after getting pregnant.
“Are you okay?” Infinity murmured. Silver looked at her.
“I should ask you. I’ve had pups before. You just had your first three.” Silver laughed. Tigerheart looked up and glared at her mother playfully and looked back at her youngest living spawn, Slide, as he ran around with some of the other Omegas. He had gotten his rank recently and was quite happy with it, if not happy altogether after the death of his sister. Whistle had been kidnapped by a pack and killed, they had found her dead body at the border. Slide and Tigerheart are now slowly on the mend. That just meant Tigerheart guarded her only living spawn with much more ferocity. Leopardthroat sat down between Infinity’s front paws. She looked down at her son with fondness. He was her only son that wasn’t wild. Shadepounce walked over and pushed his way between her front legs as well. Doenight came soon after him. Foxdawn barked a laugh.
“You look like you’ve got your paws full! Or legs!” Foxdawn was like an exact replica of her mother, Echo. Infinity growled at her, trying to stifle her laugh.
“Come pups. Let’s go see Speckle.” She whispered to her pups. Shadepounce shook his head.
“No thanks. I rather play with Otterblaze. Thanks though.” He said before pouncing on Otterblaze. Doenight just shook her head and walked over to Foxdawn to talk to her. Leopardthroat nodded and walked with Infinity to Speckle.
“Hey Infinity. Hello Leopardhthroat.” Speckle said, turning away for a moment from Leopardwolf. Leopardthroat walked over to Leopardwolf. Infinity laughed mentally when she remembered how she chose Leopardthroat’s name. Leopardwolf had been walking by and Leopardthroat had asked Infinity if he was his father. So came the prefix Leopard. It sure made Speckle uncomfortable to call Leopardwolf over in case Leopardthroat came running as well. Speckle got up and said something to his Beta.
“I want him found and tracked down! I don’t care how long it takes. Find him and the female wolf he was with!” Speckle growled before stalking off. Leopardwolf sighed and turned to Infinity.
“Taleswapper ran off with a female wolf. Iridis saw him. Apparently Taleswapper found himself a mate.” Leopardwolf explained.
“Ah. I’m going to go talk to Iridis. This isn’t good.” She said before turning to her pup. “Go back with your siblings. I’ll be back soon. I need to go talk to someone.” Leopardthroat nodded before running to the nursery. Infinity stalked over to Iridis. This was a serious matter. All of the sudden Infinity felt puppy fur brush her foreleg.
“What are you doing?” Lakefeather asked. Infinity looked at her.
“What does it look like?” Infinity asked the curious pup. Lakefeather shrugged and walked over to Foxdawn. Infinity sighed. It was rare when ever Lakefeather talked to her. Lakefeather had dangerous ambitions to become Alpha. Without another Alpha at her side. Infinity met up with Iridis.
“What’s this I hear about Taleswapper?” She asked sweetly. Iridis swung around his eyes wide in fear. Infinity berated herself. Both Alphas coming up to him in one day. No wonder he looked so scared. Echo or Luna would have known what to do. Infinity snuck a look at Jace. Both her siblings had died shortly after her parents. There were so many deaths in the pack. She turned back to Iridis.
“I’m not going to hurt you or anything. It’s just that I’m the alpha and I’d like to know more about wolves in my pack. Like why Taleswapper ran away. And why are the Betas staying in a crowd. Things like that.” Infinity tried to explain, but Iridis’s tail still went between his legs. Infinity sighed and left him alone. She would talk to Jace later. She most likely knew. She saw Jace press themself against Mina. Infinity smiled. It wasn’t a secret that Jace and Mina loved each other. Sky came tumbling out with all her pups crowding around her. Like Infinity and Grace, Sky had three pups. One of her pups had been challenging Speckle and kept trying which is why Sky NEVER left her pups alone with Infinity and Speckle. Dusk ran away from her mother and over to Cast.
“HI. WHAT ARE WE DOING TODAY?!?!?!?!?!?!” Cast flattened her ears as Dusk yelled.
“How about not getting me deaf?” Cast muttered and she walked into the nursery. Sky ran over to pick Dusk up just as another one of her pups ran over to Speckle and the other just stayed put. Sky had an exasperated look on her face. Infinity ran over and picked up the one running to Speckle. Sky flicked her tail in a thank you, and walked over to the nursery. Infinity went to the pup staying put and put her tail on its shoulders, still holding the “alpha pup”. She heard what Sky said.
“Please watch them Tigerheart! They’re being a pain!” Sky begged. She heard Tigerheart growl but respond.
“I’ll watch them for now!” Tigerheart snarled. Infinity made a mental note to have Speckle go talk to Tigerheart later. Sky came back out and licked Infinity’s forehead.
“Thank you so much, love.” Sky cooed to Infinity. When Infinity first came to the pack, Sky had been her foster mother. The affection still hadn’t quite worn off. But Infinity didn’t mind.Infinity nodded and walked out of camp. She loved her pack, yes. But all the wolves crowding around was stifling. She found her mate out there staring hard at the stream. She walked up to him carefully.
“Is something wrong?” Infinity asked quietly. Speckle jerked his head up to her.
“It’s too small in there. I think we need to give over some wolves or just make the dens bigger… Ugh. I don’t even know. I wish Gryphon or Alarick were here!” Speckle growled. Infinity sympathized.
“We could always expand the camp. To make more room. Then we could make the dens bigger. We could al-” Infinity got cut off by Speckle.
“Enough. Just… enough. I have enough on my plate. You saying EXACTLY what our Betas said is driving me nuts! I’m just one wolf!” Speckle stormed off. Infinity looked at her paws. She hated it when Speckle was angry with her. She felt a tongue lick her muzzle. When she looked at where it came from, it was her pups. She laughed and licked all of them on the head.
“Don’t fear Mother. Everything will turn out.” Shadepounce said. Doenight licked her muzzle and then Leopardthroat. Next thing Infinity knew her pups had pounced on her and she was being licked over and over again. She playfully growled at them and they barked at her. Infinity made another mental note to spend the rest of the day tomorrow. Speckle came trotting out with Lakefeather and all the other wolves except the queens and her. She snarled in Speckle’s ear as he passed by her.
“You will regret this tomorrow.” She threatened, her lips curled. Speckle tossed his head and the hunting patrol passed them. When Mina and Jace passed Infinity they stopped and stayed behind.
“Speckle’s planning to go after Taleswapper on the hunting patrol. He’s going to find him and drag him back so he can kill him in front of the pack.” Jace told her quickly before running off with the patrol again. Infinity stayed put. She couldn’t believe it. Speckle was going to attack Taleswapper just for following his heart. She prayed for Taleswapper’s sake that Speckle never found him.
“W-Why w-w-would Speckle d-d-do that t-to Taleswapper Mother?” Doenight stuttered. Infinity stared at her pups in alarm. She hadn’t meant to let them hear that. She herded her pups into the nursery and spun to face the queens.
“Speckle’s going to attack Taleswapper. Keep all the pups in here!” She whispered urgently before running to catch up with the patrol. She grabbed Lakefeather by Lakefeather’s scruff.
“Don’t take pups on this stupid mission with you, you monster!” Infinity snarled at Speckle again, before running back to camp. Tigerheart was running around calling Lakefeather’s name. Tigerheart breathed a sigh of relief when she saw Lakefeather in Infinity’s mouth. She grabbed Lakefeather and dragged her to the nursery, squeezing in after. Infinity grabbed Sky and Silver.
‘Take care of all the pups.” She ordered Foxdawn and Tigerheart. She brought the ferocious queens to the entrance with her.
“If they come back with Taleswapper, don’t let them enter.” She barked. There was going to be no death tonight. And if Speckle attacked her. At least it wouldn’t be Taleswapper. They were NOT going to let Speckle destroy the pack one by one.
Speckle returned late at night. The queens searched through the pack but there was no Taleswapper. Infinity breathed a sigh of relief. She nodded to Sky and Silver and they ran back to the nursery. She stood to the side of the entrance and watched the wolves pass through. Speckle came in last with his head held proud, but Infinity could see through that.
“Are you okay?” Infinity asked. Speckle shook his head and walked into his den. Infinity watched him, and laid down in the middle of the camp. Speckle came out his fur groomed to perfection and every wolf slid out of their dens including the queens. Infinity could hear the squealing of playful pups. Speckle sat down and Infinity joined him.
“Tonight is the full moon! We honor our dead and feast!” Speckle called out. All the wolves looked at the moon.
“We ask that the dead grant us another plentiful month, and forgive us for not being able to save them. Let the relatives call out the dead’s name!” Speckle nodded to hs betas first. Leopardwolf raised his head and called out the name of his mother.
“Sieara!” Jace followed soon after.
“Gryphon! Luna! Shame! Kodak!” She called.
“Alarick! Echo!” Foxdawn yelled, her voice cracking with emotion.
“Whistle!” Slide and Tigerheart cried. Both wolves broke down and laid next to each other. At last Iridis called out his father’s name.
“Max!” He cried out. Leopard howled mournfully because his mother was Max’s half-sister. Iridis curved his head as his forehead met with Leopardwolf. All the mourners curved their heads, and the wolves who didn’t lose loved ones bent their head. After a few moments Speckle raised his head once more.
“We thank our ancestors for giving us a bountiful meal!” Speckle called and two Omegas brought a few deer, rabbits, and squirrels. They each took a bite by rank and every wolf got to take three bites when at last both Speckle and Infinity finished off the meat. Soon after everyone had finished grooming, Speckle threw his head back and let out a deep throaty howl. Infinity joined in. Then the Betas, Queens, Omegas, and from inside the nursery the pups joined in. The whole pack had joined the howl. It sounded like music with the deep howls, the howls in the middle, and the high pitch of the pup’s howls. The pack howled until there was no more air left in the wolves lungs. What the pack didn’t notice is somewhere far far far away, Taleswapper howled for his old pack.
Infinity woke up in the morning and padded out of the nursery to stretch and get a drink. She met Speckle by the stream that ran along one side of the camp.
“I’m sorry about yesterday, Infinity.” Speckle said before turning to her. Infinity nodded and lapped up some water. Speckle turned back to the stream. Infinity pressed herself up against her mate.
“I love you, and I always will.” She whispered in his . ear before walking away. Her sons and daughter tumbled out to meet her and she rolled over on her back and her pups pounced on her. Mina laughed as she walked by, carefully avoiding Hope. Doenight sat down on Infinity’s chest.
“I have conquered this mountain!” She yipped.
“Not for long!” Shadepounce bowled into her. Leopardthroat laughed and climbed on Infinity.
“You have left your territory deserted and the great and powerful Leopardthroat has conquered it from both evil tyrants!” Leopardthroat called. Infinity flipped over and stood up.
“I doubt that you can climb this mountain!” She called as she started to run around. Her pups giggled in delight and chased her, throwing threats at “the mountain”. Infinity circled back around and started to chase her pups. More pups started to race out of the nursery, joining the game. Dusk, Cast, Doenight, Lakefeather, Atara, and Grace’s unnamed daughter raced one way so Infinity went the other way, only to run into Shadepounce, Leopardthroat, and both of Sky’s sons. All ten pups jumped on her, trapping her to the ground.
“With teamwork, we have all conquered the mountain!” One of Sky’s sons called. “I am the alpha male and Lakefeather is the alpha female!” Infinity laughed and wiggled away. Tigerheart, Sky, Silver, Grace, and Foxdawn ran out to back her up. All the pups laughed.
“There are more mountains to conquer!” The pups squealed in delight and all the pups and queens raced around. The Omegas joined the pups side and the Betas joined the Queen’s side. Speckle joined both sides and the pack ran around playing Mountain. By the end the day every wolf was exhausted. All the pups tackled their parents and friends laughing, and the grown wolves growled playfully before going in their dens to groom the grit and dirt out of their fur. Shadepounce, Doenight, and Leopardthroat ran over and thanked her.
“Thank you so much for playing with us Mother!” The other pups barked in agreement. Infinity laughed again.
“My pleasure!” She barked before going to her mates den. Speckle looked at her and pounced on her, his nose twitching in laughter. She pushed him off of her.
“Get off you big lump!” She playfully growled. Speckle chuckled and let her get up. She licked his muzzle. There was still excitement in his eyes.
“That was the most fun I’ve had in forever!” He barked. Infinity nestled her nose in his fur.
He was right. That was the most fun in forever. But Infinity felt off. While everyone was playing there was only one wolf that didn’t join in. She walked up to Otterblaze, who was sitting in the clearing staring out of the camp.
“Are you okay Otterblaze?” Infinity asked quietly. Otterblaze didn’t say anything. He just kept staring out of the camp silently. Infinity stood up and licked his ear before walking off. She went to her pups.
“Is everything okay with Otterblaze?” She asked them. Doenight stared at her paws, Shadepounce stared at the sky, and Leopardthroat stared at the ground. Infinity sat down.
“What’s going on?” She inquired. Leopardthroat ran to the nursery, whining with Doenight behind him. She stared at her oldest pup. Shadepounce stared into Infinity’s eyes.
“Um… after the full moon ceremony… Otterblaze walked out of the nursery. When Doenight followed him… since she had darker fur y’know… she said he was quietly calling out names to the moon. We confronted him after yesterday and… he…” Sahdepounce paused and then broke, running after his siblings. Infinity sat there for a little bit. He was calling names to the moon. Which means he was calling for dead relatives. Infinity walked over to Speckle, with and idea in her brain. One for all the pups.
“Speckle?” She called before entering the den. Speckle looked up.
“Yes?” He murmured. Infinity sat down.
“It’s come to my attention that the pups are… bored. What if we had a daycare thing. Each day the queens can send the pups, that they choose of course, to the daycare and a wolf can watch it. This way the pups aren’t under our paws. Also the pups could see pack life more, for when they get their ranks. Just an idea.” Infinity spoke. Speckle tilted his head, thinking about it.
“It sounds like a great idea Infinity. But I can’t spare any Omegas or Betas for this. I’m very sorry.” Speckle replied. Infinity scratched behind her ear.
“I could run it. It would give me a chance to spend more time with Shadepounce, Doenight, and Leopardthroat.” Infinity declared. Speckle nodded, giving her his approval. Infinity licked his cheek and trotted out. She couldn’t wait to tell her pups. After eating, Infinity reconvened with the queens. When she told them about her idea, everyone was ecstatic. Everyone except Sky.
“My pups are crazy. No wolf will want to watch them. Not even you Infinity!” Sky whimpered. Infinity nosed Sky’s head up.
“If you want then, you can help me.” Infinity planned. Sky nodded immediately after. It was settled.
Infinity settled down to sleep, excited for her idea to come to life.
When the sun came up, Infinity jumped up. Her pups squealed in protest and went back to sleep. She raced out, her tail wagging in excitement. This would be the first time the daycare would start. Speckle cantered to the middle and stretched, after acknowledging her with a nod. Infinity nodded back to him and Speckle let out a howl, calling for a pack meeting. One by one the wolves walked out of their dens.
“Your alpha female has found a solution to the pups underfoot,” Speckle began when all the wolves had gathered. Some wolves barked in agreement. “So we will have a daycare. We will need to build a big enough secluded area to have the pups to be watched and played with in.” Speckle finished. The Omegas went to go grab branches and the Betas search for a spot. The pups toppled out excitedly with the queens. Shadepounce shambled over to Infinity.
“Please ignore what I told you about Otterblaze. I was lying so you wouldn’t keep asking us.” Shadepounce yipped. Infinity whirled to face him.
“What? You should never lie Shadepounce!” Infinity snapped. “I’m worried about Otterblaze. Something that series is wrong!” Shadepounce crouched with his tail between his legs. “Tell Sky you won’t be in the daycare. I’m going to ask Foxdawn if she can watch you.” Shadepounce gaped at her before stomping off to Sky. Infinity sighed. Having pups and making sure everything was fair, is hard. Sky came wandering over.
“Um… I was thinking… since it’s the first day and all… what if… all pups were allowed to be here… just asking…” Sky rambled. Infinity sighed. Is this what being alpha meant? Having wolves and yourself question every decision you make? Infinity just nodded and went to go apologize to Shadepounce.
Infinity ran over to Sky after apologizing to Shadepounce.
“I’m so sorry, but do you think you could get Foxdawn to watch the pups with you right now. I need some fresh air.” Infinity gulped. Sky nodded sympathetically and walked over to tell Foxdawn. Infinity leaped out of the camp. She inhaled the air as calmly as she could. It hurt being a mother and an alpha. She licked her chest fur a couple of times. She felt a paw swipe at her foreleg. Infinity looked to see where the paw came from and saw one of Sky’s sons, Fernspots.
“Hello Fernspots. Aren’t you supposed to be with your mother?” Infinity quizzed. Fernspots rolled his eyes.
“Mother is always smothering us. I wanted a chance to be alone without her lingering behind me every second. Surely you can understand. She was your foster mother.” Fernspots groaned. It was true. Infinity did sympathize. Sky did seem to mother her pups a bit too much. But granted she had a reason. Her pups did have a tendency to “wander” off. Infinity stood up.
“C’mon. This is the first day of the daycare.” Infinity murmured. Both her and Fernspots, reluctantly for Fernspots, went back to the camp. Sky came running over, her fur bristling.
“Fernspots! I’m SO sorry Infinity!” Sky cried as she licked Fernspot’s ear carefully. Infinity sat down.
“It’s no problem. Seriously.” Infinity soothed Sky.
Everyone in the pack was always so jumpy. Will it be this way?
(TO BE CONTINUED!)
Okay everyone… I know this took a super long time but…. I’ve been busy. So… yeah.