Subject: 4 - JEN
Posted on: 2023-01-22 05:55:38 UTC

As soon as Luna told me to run, I had transformed into a horse and left. The tree leaves rustled in the wind, the light rays always shifting, but I had no time to enjoy the scenery. I had to keep going.

When I knew I was going to be safe, I had stopped & grazed on the grass before turning back human, and rested for a while.

I started to wonder about Luna. Had she escaped, or was she caught?

Maybe I shouldn't dwell on that too long.

I got up and started walking in a random direction. I wandered about, looking for subtle clues that provided clear evidence that Luna had escaped.

Eventually, I came across a footprint. It looked fresh, but it was too small to be Luna's footprint--it looked more like a pup's footprint.

Hmm, a pup. There was a pack nearby, but I couldn't be sure if it was the Omega Pack.

I stepped forward--and found no ground beneath my foot.

I slipped, lost my footing, and fell down the sloped shaft.

Half of my brain, the logical side, thought that the shaft I was sliding down could lead me to the Omega Pack.

On the other hand, the primitive half of my brain was thinking OH NO THE WORLD IS ENDING I'M GOING TO DIE!

About two seconds later, the shaft ended abruptly, and I shot forward into a pile of straw. Or, at least it felt like straw. It was pitch-black in here.

In the darkness, I heard a gruff voice say, "It's the shifter. But without her escort."

"You mean Luna?" said another voice. This one sounded friendlier than the first one, and it was feminine, unlike the first voice, which was male.

I heard the first voice say, "Yeah, I know. She could be eavesdropping on our conversation. I don't want that."

"But--" protested Voice Two.

Something hit the back of my head, and I blacked out.

When I regained consciousness, I looked around. I appeared to be in some sort of vast cave, dimly lit by what appeared to be glowing worms. There were multiple tunnels branching off from the cave, leading to who knows where. The cave was barren at the moment except for me and the glowing worms.

I tried to shift my body into a more comfortable position, before I realized that my hands were tied behind my back. I attempted to shape-shift into a wolf, a cat, a rabbit. Nothing happened.

I started worrying about what happened to my powers. Maybe I could only shape-shift a certain number of times every week. Maybe my powers required an object to work.

An object.

But what object?

My mind ran through my memory of things that I was wearing when I went out into the wilderness.

The clothes on my back--still there. Not enchanted. Shoes--still there. Not enchanted. My bead bracelet--fell off during the flight from the Shadow. Not enchanted.

My moonstone earring…

It's gone. I can't see it, but I don't feel its familiar weight pulling on my ear.

So where is it?

There was only one answer.

The wolves took it away while I was unconscious…

My mind snapped back to reality just as a wolf emerged from one of the tunnels. Her fur was a pale creamy color, her eyes chocolate brown.

The wolf trotted over to me.

"Where is my earring?" I demanded.

She shook her head. "I don't know. It's probably in the treasury."

I recognized the wolf's voice--the same voice as the female wolf in the dark cave.

I asked, "Who are you?"

"Me? I'm a nobody, from a family of nobodies."

"No, be honest," I said.

The wolf looked uncomfortable.

"My name is Einia. I'm the scribe of the Omega Pack. Someone tells me to put something on the record, I do it. Someone tells me to write a letter to a faraway relative for them, I do it."

"Who was that other wolf in the dark room?" I asked.

"The other wolf… that was Grimpaw, the spy." Einia gulped. "He can turn invisible. He could be watching us at this very moment."

As if on cue, the voice of Grimpaw said, "Yes, I am."

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