The branch cracked and fell to the ground, splintering and sending bark flying. A light grey and cream-colored wolf stepped around it, sniffing it.
“Will this be good enough?” the cream female asked.
“Looks good, Coral. Nice job spotting it.” the grey male, Shell, nodded in approval. “C’mon, let’s haul it.”
Each wolf grabbed an end of the branch in their jaws and picked it up, then carried it over and leaned it against the triangular-shaped structure they already had.
“This was a great idea, Shell,” Coral purred, smiling. “Who else would have thought to make our own shelter out of branches?”
“They’re so much easier to work with than rocks,” Shell replied, nodding. “Thanks.”
Coral smiled admiringly at him.
“Actually… I wanted to talk to you about something.” Shell shifted his paws in the grass. “You see, I- I want to move on with my life. I want to build a pack and have more companionship. I want to be a leader, you know?”
Coral grinned. “Of course, Shell! And you want me to help?”
“Well, I-” Shell stammered, meeting her eyes, “Coral, I think we-”
“-should do this together!” Coral’s leaf green eyes sparkled and her tongue lolled out of her smile. “I’d be happy to help! It’ll be so much fun, just us starting a whole new dynasty.”
Shell forced a small smile. “Of course.”
“Oh, look! There’s a wolf!” Coral whispered.
She shifted the leaves of the bush slightly, and Shell peeked out. They had successfully gotten three wolves to join their pack- Mackerel, Sofe, and Arole. This would be the fourth and final wolf he needed, as he didn’t need a very large pack to start off with. Sofe and Mackerel were mates, and hopefully this female would mate with Arole if they could hit it off.
Shell sighed a little. He wished Coral would mate with Arole, because as much as she was crushing on him, he had no love for her. She was too peppy and clingy for him- always hanging off his shoulder, asking too many questions, and the like. She had followed him around since puppyhood before their pack fell apart when they were young and he had to take her under his wing to help her survive. Since then she had clung to him.
“Well, are you gonna go?” Coral whispered.
Shell gulped, coming back to the present, and nodded. He stood up from behind the bush and called out to the female. “Hello?”
She turned around, and he nearly keeled over in surprise.
She had soft, sleek white fur and bright blue eyes. Her muzzle was short and curved, and ended in a nice round point. She smiled softly.
“Hi,” she said.
Shell almost swooned. Her voice was smooth and gentle, like honey flowing from a bee’s nest. “Hi,” he breathed.
“I’m Seia.” she raised an eyebrow slightly, but the smile didn’t leave her lips.
“Shell.” the fur on his back flattened nervously, and his tail swished by his back legs. “I was wondering if you’d like to join my pack.”
“Are you the alpha?” Seia asked, her sparkling blue eyes widening innocently.
“Yeah.” Shell’s heart fluttered inside his chest.
“Well, then.” Seia’s smile curved mischievously, and she ran her tail along his shoulder blade onto his chin. “I don’t see why not.”
Shell pressed his nose to Seia’s, her face half concealed in the shadow of the den. Her eyes fluttered closed with his and he could feel her breath against his chin. Shell relished the moment, remembering the others like it in the past moon. The two of them would sneak away at moon high every other night to be together.
Shell flipped her gently onto her back, and she rolled so she was on top, pinning him with her legs and nose. She licked his muzzle, her breath gently caressing his nose and her soft fur brushing his.
“I love you,” Shell breathed relishingly.
“I love you more,” Seia sighed back, brushing her nose with his.
“I used to love you!”
Shell gasped, nearly sending Seia flying into the grass. He whipped his head to the side. Trembling from head to paw, stood Coral.
“Why are you here?” Shell gasped, crawling to his paws as Seia got off him, a surprised look on her face. “You’re supposed to be asleep!”
“I thought I would come help you hunt, since that’s where you said you were going!” Coral shrieked. “But I guess you’ve been sneaking off to love this vixen!” her back was a coiled wire and her eyes were lit up in flame through the tears.
“Don’t you dare call her a vixen,” Shell snarled, his fur bushed up and his claws gleaming in the moonlight. “Come on. We’ll discuss this in private.” he moved towards her and led her into their den.
“What the heck is wrong with you?” Coral screeched when they arrived.
Shell rolled his eyes in annoyance. “You never knew, Coral?”
Suddenly, quick as a flash, he whipped his front paw around and sank his claws into her chest. Warm blood pooled around his toes, sinking into his fur, and he slowly lowered her to the ground.
Coral’s eyes went wide, and her breathing became harsh and labored. He laid her down on her back, his claws still in her chest until it rose no more.
“You had the nerve to do it?”
Shell whipped around but relaxed in relief. Seia smiled gently and came towards him, twisting her body around his and laying him down opposite from Coral. She pressed her nose to his, eyes wide and mischievous, and smiled again.
“I did it for you.” Shell closed his eyes, ready for another kissing session, but it didn’t come. He felt a throb in his chest and twitched slightly, coughing a little.
“Something wrong?” Seia asked, eyes wide and innocent.
Froth bubbled at Shell’s lips as a memory flashed in his mind- drinking from the bowl that Seia gave him earlier that day. He moved his lips but couldn’t form words, couldn’t breathe, as his body began to shake violently on its own will for a few seconds. Then he was still, eyes wide and glassy, his lips wet with froth and slightly open.
Seia’s mouth curled into a frown and she brushed his cheek with a claw. “I did it for you.”