Chapter 1: A Challenge You Say?
Horses galloped against the harsh wind, the riders were yelling incoherent words as they chased after a dark shadow.
“It’s getting away!” the smallest of them charged even faster, until the horse reached the outskirts of the forest. The dark creature was long gone.
The little one eyed the tall trees and the ominous chill the woods released. Shivering, and slowly backing away, the little one turned and re-grouped with the rest.
Taking off the long green scarf that covered their entire head, it revealed a fair face of a young girl, with hazel brown eyes, which matched her light brown hair. Trotting towards the person who appeared to be the leader, she spoke in a disappointed whisper, “We lost it again. The townspeople aren’t going to take it too well like the last time.”
The leader took of his hood, revealing short chocolate hair, spiking out in every direction. He raised one gloved hand to lower his scarf so he could speak clearly,
“ I know Pidge, but we’ve got to go back. The forest is too dangerous a place to be, especially during the night. And besides, I heard Hunk’s stomach growling like a lion, even through all that noise!”
“Hey, we haven’t even, like, AT ALL today, so of course I’m hungry!” the final member countered. He was much larger than both of his team mates. He hair was such a dark shade of brown, it was hard to tell whether it was black or not. Their leader, Lance, merely chuckled, before putting his hood back on.
“Let’s go before it gets too dark.”
As the trio galloped back to their town, the dark creature watched them, hidden amongst the thicket of the forest.
It began to rain as they rode back, and by the time they had reached the town, they were drenched. Lance jumped off from his horse and the others followed suit. They tied the reins to a wooden pole and entered a small tavern called the Altean Haven.
It was lively compared to the rest of the world, people dancing and clapping to the loud music which could make a person deaf.
Drunk men sat in the corner of the room, gawking at the pretty women who would in turn slap them across the face if there were any wandering hands. Of course there were drunk women as well, teasing any man or woman who walked passed them. The bartender, however, looked anything but festive but the moment he saw the three walk in, he became ecstatic.
“Hellooo young lads and lady! What may I do for you all this fine evening?” he greeted cheerfully as they sat down in front of the bar.
“Hey Coran!” the tanned boy replied happily, “ Uh, I guess a whole roast boar for Hunk, some cough feed for Pidge, whatever that is-”
“I said COFFEE, Lance, C-O-F-F-E-E”.
“Seriously? Nah man, try the ginger ale instead”
“Ugh! That’s disgusting!”
“But coffee hasn’t even been made!” Hunk butted in.
“Shush Hunk” Pidge whispered , “Coffee is always there… In my gut."
Coran laughed heartily and said, “I’ll see what I can do, and what about you lance?”
“I’ll take the usual."
With that, Coran made an over-dramatic bow and walked into the kitchen.
It was always nice to meet those kids, after all, he was indebted to them ever since they saved his niece from being killed by a Strigoi.
Meanwhile, a girl in her late teens, walked down the stairs from her room, to the tavern. She had a cloth tied around her head, with her snow white hair fixed firmly into a bun. She wore a plain blue dress with a brown sash across her waist. Hearing the laughter and the voices of her heroes and heroine, she immediately ran down to meet them.
“Hello my friends!” she said with a song in her voice.
“Allura! I didn’t know you came back from the main city!” Hunk exclaimed, leaning forward for a hug.
“Yes, it was beautiful! I met such a wonderful friend as well, and I think all of you would’ve liked her,” she said, settling herself in between Pidge and Lance.
“Oh really?” Lance flirtatiously wiggled his eyebrows, “May I perhaps get a name?”
Allura gave him an unimpressed face before continuing, “Her name is Shay, she's the daughter of the Inn keeper."
Before Lance could say anything, the door burst open.
“OI! ‘Ave any of you seen those monster hunters?” a tall sleazily man entered the room, accompanied by a girl who was about Allura’s age.
“That would be us,” Lance rose from his seat, wiping imaginary dust off of his shoulders. “What do you want?”
The man gave a sly grin, “ I hear yer goin after that wolf that’s been killing off the animals.”
“Yeah, so?” Lance looked at him haughtily.
“The name’s Rolo," he reached out a hand which Lance shook by the most unfriendliest means.
“And WHO is she~” Lance eyed the pretty lady.
“None o’ yer business,” Rolo growled.
Hunk and Pidge side glanced at each other. This wasn’t going to end well.
“Anyway,” he continued, “ I just wanted to tell you to BACK off. The wolf’s MINE. There’s a big bounty that the King’s wife is willing to pay for it, and I’LL be the one collecting it.”
Lance smirked. “Is that a challenge, Rowley?”
“His name’s Rolo, Lance,” Pidge corrected with a sigh.
Rolo eyed Lance maliciously, “Better watch out, Lance. Come onto my hunting range, and I won’t hesitate.”
And with that, he left, followed by the unknown girl.
The tavern immediately went back into it’s joyous frenzy as though nothing had happened.
Pidge looked at Lance doubtfully, while the latter looked at Hunk.
“You know what this means guys?” he smiled a little too brightly.
“That we won’t be sleeping or eating well enough to suffice our bodies needs for the next few weeks as we’ll be hunting down that godforsaken wolf which that Rolo guy is going after as well JUST to prove him wrong and that to never underestimate the Monster Huntin’ Gang (which is a terrible name, I mean seriously, you just put the initials of our last names!) and to get the money and fame?”
“You took the words right out of my mouth Pidge. Let’s go hunt that beast and shove the fact that we ARE THE BEST up Riley’s nose!!” Lance cheered, throwing his arms in the air.
Little did Lance know what laid in store for him in the future...
The boy’s eyes widened in disbelief, and his grip around Lance’s neck loosened.
Lance stared deep into the boy’s eyes and held the boy’s arms.
The boy said in a wary voice, “Who are you?”
“I’m Lance, and you’re right here in my arms.”
After a warm meal and some entertainment from the pet mice Allura had trained, the trio bid adieu to Coran and Allura. Untying their horses from the post, they walked up the hill where a lone cottage stood. The walls were covered in ivy and the fence around it was in wreck and ruin. But it was home, and it was warm. There was a little garden at the back of the house where Hunk and Pidge would be seen planting, or harvesting the fruit of their labour. Just beside the garden was the training space Lance had made for the team. The cottage was well-sized and had a welcoming aura to it. They all slept in the same room. In total, there were 5 rooms in the cottage, the bedroom, where all of them would sleep in. Pidge’s study room, where she would always over work herself during quests and missions. The basement, where Hunk and Pidge would tinker and create various machines which Lance could not understand. There was the kitchen, which was tiny, but enough for Hunk to cook in. And then there was Lance’s room. This was the room in which he always had an instrument to play with, a song to sing. Pidge and Hunk loved listening to Lance’s voice.
Lance opened the door for the two behind him, allowing them to enter first.
“After you m’dears,” he jokingly said.
Pidge rolled her eyes while Hunk laughed. Pidge decided that it was best to sleep immediately as they would be waking up at the crack of dawn. Lance looked at her with an astonished face.
“Pidge? Sleep? I must be going crazy! Honestly, we’re the ones who should be telling YOU that!”
It had been a long time since the candlelight left the room. Lance lay awake, staring up at the ceiling. He tossed and turned and tossed and turned. Before tossing and turning once more.
Suddenly, there was a crash from the garden. Lance shot up from his bed, quickly wearing his boots and with one swift motion, he expertly placed the ocean blue scarf around his face. He wanted to wake the other two, but they were tired from chasing the wolf for such a long time.
Grabbing his bow and arrow, he crept towards the back door, listening.
He heard footsteps. They were gentle ones, ones that try not to make a sound. Carefully, he opened the door and peered through the crack.
It wasn’t unusual for thieves or vengeful defeated opponents to break in and try to slit their throats.
He did not expect to see this.
This was something Lance had only heard from stories. But there it was, in the garden stood a beast. Part wolf, part man. Without thinking, Lance reached for his arrows and aimed straight for the beast's head.
Then the beast turned. It had beautiful gray-ish violet eyes which glowed in the light of the moon.
Stunned, Lance could only watch this mysterious creature. Regaining some sense of mind, he leaned in for a better look, but it backfired.
The door creaked and the creature immediately realized that it was not alone. Dropping down on all fours, it darted from the garden and jumped over the fence.
“Wait!” Lance called after it. He chased after the beast without a second thought, jumping onto his horse, he kicked the sides and it galloped after the beast. It was dark, but Lance knew the place like the back of his hand. Tearing after the beast. All he could see now was it’s silhouette.
The horse stopped so suddenly, Lance nearly fell off.
“Woah! Easy Kaltenecker,” he cooed, patting the horses head. The great forest was in front of him. Everything seemed more silent, Lance knew he had to go back home, but he felt a strange… connection? He wanted to follow the beast.
He got off the horse and held its reins, “C’mon Kaltenecker, it’s okay,” whispering kind words into the horses ears, he led it into the forest.
Was this the worst decision Lance ever made? Not really, but it was in the Top Ten. Only being in the forest for a few seconds, he already felt lost. It was a strange place, there were glowing plants everywhere, and Lance swore he saw a mouse with 3 tails scurrying past him.
Kaltenecker stood up, neighing loudly before galloping out of the forest.
“Kaltenecker!” Lance called after the horse, but it was no use. Feeling more alone than ever, Lance sat down re-evaluating his life choices.
There were definitely wolves nearby, but Lance couldn’t help but wonder if it was the same beast.
It was dark, but the bright plant illuminated nearly the entire clearing. It was as though he was surrounded by colorful candles.
A twig snapped behind him, in a flash, he grabbed his bow and arrow and aimed it at the source of the sound.
Bright violet eyes met his own striking blue ones, and for a moment, everything seemed at peace. Then the beast pounced on him.
What happened next was like a blur of fuzziness and glowing eyes. Lance was on his back, arrows and bow scattered across the ground. The beast pinned him down, growling, “Why did you follow me!? Humans never come to the forest!”
Lance looked up at him, flabbergasted. The beast had a face that was far away from the ‘beast’ section. It was human, and it was one of the most intriguing faces Lance had ever seen.
“Answer me!” the boy shouted, his eyes filled with malice. His claws wrapped themselves around his neck with the intent to kill.
The boy’s eyes widened in disbelief, and his grip around Lance’s neck loosened.
Lance stared deep into the boy’s eyes and held the boy’s arms.
The boy said in a wary voice, “Who are you?”
“I’m Lance, and you’re right here in my arms.”
Hope you liked the chapter, there’s a lot of thing I feel are missing in this chapter but overall, I’m happy with how it came out (and yes, there’s a Princess Mononoke reference here ) but of course, I may update this chapter in the future. Thanks for reading! Love ya'll <3
Cursing under his breath, the man walked around the outskirts of the forest. A crossbow in one and and in the other, a map.
The man smirked knowingly. The wolf was in there, but then another sound followed. The neighing of a horse.
What the hell was that?
Out of nowhere, a horse sprang from the thicket of the forest. The forest that no living creature from the outside could enter. It galloped away into the distance before it disappeared from sight. Shocked from its sudden appearance, the most he could do was let out a small whistle. Regaining his state of mind, he turned his attention back to the forest.
"Didn't that horse belong to one of those hunters?" A voice spoke behind him. Without looking back, he shrugged.
"The kid's in my hunting range, and I warned him. Well, at least I can get two birds with one stone."
Slinging the crossbow across his back, he flashed the lantern at the map for the umpteenth time. Glancing back to the girl behind him, making sure she was there. The girl gave a reassuring smile, and placed her hand on his shoulder. There was a silent understanding between the two, deciding that it would be best to go back home.
The mans attention immediately went back to the forest. He squinted, as though it would help him see into the forest better. That's strange, he thought.
That's definitely not the same wolf.
"Rolo, it's time to go," the girl's voice was stern.
"Sure thing Nyma".
Packing up the last few items that lay scattered around, Rolo jumped onto his horse before stretching out to help Nyma get on. She wrapped her arms tightly around his waist as they started off to home.
At the same time elsewhere, a woman grasped onto her cloak. She coughed and let out a raspy breath as she walked towards a tall door covered in silver plating. Using all her strength, she pushed it open. Inside was an empty desk and bookshelves as tall as trees. A man walked proudly in front of her, "Let me turn on the lamps, Mother".
The man lifted up his hands, cupping them over his mouth. He inhaled deeply and exhaled slowly, emitting a small flame. Smiling, he opened his hands to reveal the flames, allowing them to get bigger and bigger. He then spread his arms out, the flames separated and filled in the lamps all over the room. The once dark room was now enveloped in warm light. The woman gave a nod of appreciation before reaching out for a book.
The title was 'Mystical Remedies for the Unknown'. Flipping the pages, you could tell that she had opened the book a countless number of times.
"I'm running out of time, my son," she whispered. Her son looked at her solemnly, his white hair glowing in the light.
"I want you to take this book, read it my child and find this beast. Otherwise, I will die."
"Get away from me!!" The boy yelped, tripping over his own tail. Lance approached him steadily, as though he was nearing an injured rabbit.
"It's okay, I'm not going to hurt you," he said, coming closer and closer. The boy looked at him with uncertainty. This strange human was so.. different. Instead of trying to kill him, he was doing something else. Something the boy couldn't understand. That made him more afraid of this strange man. He quickly scanned his surroundings, backing away from the human as he did so. His position made this more difficult, he had fallen on the ground because he tripped on his own damn tail, and was dragging himself to move away.
He felt a smooth object colliding into his hand. A rock. Without further ado, he threw the rock with all his strength at the human.
It was a perfect hit. The man dropped to the ground almost instantly, face first and spread-eagled. The boy sighed with relief. Then his ears perked up and turned to the direction of another human's voice.
"I swear, the moment I see him, I'll wring his bloody neck!"
"Calm down Pidge, he may have uh y'know, gone to the tavern to uh... Mingle?"
The boy looked at the unconscious human in front of him. Getting onto all fours, he walked around the human.
What was his name again? Oh yeah, Lance.
Circling Lance, he sniffed for any foreign object so that may cause harm to the forest. This human, smelt different than the rest. Usually humans stank of rotten corpses or decaying trash.
This one smelt like... A scent from a far away memory. It was on the tip of his tongue, but alas, he had no clue what it was, but it was familiar. The boy flinched when the human let out a groan. Perking his ears upwards, he came closer once more. This Lance was regaining consciousness. Not knowing what to do, the boy panicked and smacked Lance's head once more with the rock.
Lance didn't move. The boy let out another long sigh. What was he going to do? He didn't want to kill Lance, he couldn't leave him here either (his friends would end up eating the human) and he most definitely couldn't bring him home. That would result in a total war zone.
Well, I guess one night won't kill me.
"Ugh, my head," Lance groaned, rubbing his forehead. Wait. WHAT. Lance looked around, everything seemed the same.
Was that all a dream? No, it definitely happened.
He got out of bed, looking around for Pidge and Hunk. As he made his way towards the garden, he heard Pidge curse loudly.
“Bloody hell! This thing’s acting like a complete dickhead! It’s not even twitching when I bloody put the screw in the bloody twat! And...”
Lance quickly escaped into the garden. Rule number one, never come across an angry gremlin.
Oh thank goodness, it’s Hunk.
Hunk was tending to his plants, humming slightly out of tune, but it was still pretty sweet. Taking the weeds carefully one by one, he hadn’t noticed Lance creeping up behind him.
“Hey buddy, what ‘cha doing?”
Hunk let out a scream, throwing whatever weeds he had in his hands into the air.
It was hard to believe that this man, no, this boy had killed monsters ranging from dwarves to giants.
“Lance, what the hell?” Hunk scolded, “Wait, Lance!? You’re awake!! Pidge come up, Lance has awoken from his slumber!”
Lance looked confused.
“How long have I been asleep?”
Hunk turned back to look at Lance, “Lance. It’s noon”.
Bewildered, Lance realized that everything that had happened was in fact, real.
Pidge kicked open the door, still grumbling. She then saw Lance and her face lit up. “Lance! Good to see you on your feet.”
“What happened?” Lance asked.
Pidge looked at him, cocked her head sideways, “I think you should be telling us that.”
Hunk then explained to Lance that after they had come back from a fruitless search for him, Lance was already in bed. How he got there however, they had no idea. Lance then relayed his entire experience with the (very beautiful) wolf boy.
“Hmm, I only thought those creatures existed in fairy tales,” Pidge folded her arms. They had seated themselves in Pidge’s study, all on a cushion each that Lance had made for them.
“Who knew one was actually in our own forest!” Hunk exclaimed.
“Well, there’s a good chance that somebody may have already found them, just they kinda, uh, y’know...died,” Lance left that last word linger for a bit.
Hunk banged his hands on the table, “You know what this means!? Lance, you’re the first person to ever survive the forest!”
Lance shrugged, as though it were nothing, then Pidge said, “But who brought you back if you don’t remember what happened after wolf boy fell over?”
“And then he said that I was beautiful, and he cradled me in his arms, and that his name was Lance and, and-”
“Woah, Keith, calm down, we haven’t even eaten our morning meal yet!” the older one patted the youngling on the head. He gazed from the hill they rested in, from there, one could see the entire town. The warmth of the Sun fell upon the forest, a soft breeze blew as well.
Shiro couldn't help it, he was slowly leaving into his day dreams.
“Shiro, are you listening to me? Shiro!”
“Of course I am Keith, now, what happened next?” He smiled, coming back to reality. He hadn’t seen Keith get this excited in a very long time.
“He walked closer to me, but I hit his head with a rock and knocked him out,” Keith muttered sheepishly.
“You hit him, with a rock?”
“I panicked, okay!?”
“Oh my god,” he cackled, clutching his sides and rolling on the soft turquoise grass.
“It was in the heat of the moment!”
"Whatever you say, Keith," he said, wiping the tears from his eyes.
Have no fear, Shiro's here!
And yes, all these images are made by me <3
He stared in surprise.
The boy said, “I’m Lance, nice to meet you.”
And that was what blew him away.
Tapping his quill impatiently on his desk, he ran his fingers through his hair in frustration.
How do I say, “I disliked your daughter Amelia from the bottom of my heart”, in the most polite and formal way? He thought.
Deciding it was best to put the blank scroll aside, he stared at at the untouched bottle of ink beside him. Picking it up gently, he swirled the liquid until it changed color. It changed color again and again until eventually he got bored.
Getting up from his grand chair, he examined his office like he always did every day. Paintings adorned the walls of portraits of his ancestors. He stopped when he reached the portrait of his parents, there was a golden plate on the bottom of the painting, where words had been engraved: Emperor Zarkon and Queen Honerva.
He looked closely at the portrait of the unsmiling faces of his parents.
It’s funny, he thought, paintings of people are always so gloomy and depressing to capture.
Right next to that portrait was his very own face. The golden plate said: Prince Lotor, Heir to the Throne of the Glorious Altean-Glara Empire.
Unlike his parents, Lotor’s face glowed with happiness. The painting was the first start for Lotor’s plans to change the way the Empire was ruled. His hair was pulled into an elegant ponytail and he wore a deep indigo waist-coat decorated in priceless jewels, with a coat of a soft sky blue hue. His teeth shined brightly in the painting.
Admiring it for a while, Lotor began to walk again. He reached his bookshelf, full of his personal favorites he had specifically chosen himself from the castle’s enormous library. His shelf was big enough as it was. He picked out a few books and skimmed through the pages before resuming once more. There was a a balcony that was closed off by a glass door with beautiful designs on them. The glass door was hidden by a slightly transparent curtain that was a light shade of violet.
Thus ending his tour around his office, he seated himself on his luxurious chair, letting out a deep sigh.
Then came a knock on his door.
“Your Majesty, it is I, Dorris,” a young girl spoke.
“Come in, come in.”
A petite girl with golden blonde hair entered the room, bowing towards Lotor and spoke only when Lotor gave the signal to do so.
“Your Highness, the Dukes of the Eastern and Western Valleys have arrived with their heirs.”
“Already?” Lotor pouted slightly, “I completely forgot about the possible brides that were arriving.”He stretched his arms out, letting out a groan.
“Well, your Highness, you look like you’ve just woken up! Look at yourself, you’re
a mess!” Dorris teased, folding her arms. Lotor grinned at her, scratching the back of his neck, pushing a few long strands of hair that fell onto his face.
“I suppose you’re right, old friend. I’ll go get ready, meanwhile, tell the court jester to entertain them.”
“Uuuugggghhhhh,” Lotor sank into his chair, dramatically throwing his arms out in the air. Dorris chuckled as she placed his dinner in front of him: A grand roast duck with delectable vegetables, and dark red wine. As she poured the wine into his goblet, she asked, “I’m guessing it was a bad day?”
“Of course! All of them were like clones Dorris, CLONES! They all said the same things, laughed the same way, walked the same way, looked the same as well, (although one was a boy) and I couldn’t even have a decent conversation with any of them because the Dukes kept sticking their noses in,” he took a large gulp of the wine before gracefully eating his meal.
“Quite a shocker, eh?” Dorris wiggled her eyebrows, filling up his wine again.
“Indeed it was, if only I could meet the person who I know I could truly love,” Lotor sighed, dreaming about such a person.
“I’m sure you will your Majesty, but may have to wait a bit before that person shows up. Until then, you’ll just have to keep meeting suitors like those,” she made a face of utter digust, making Lotor laugh.
The door opened. Two soldiers came walking in.
“Prince Lotor, the Queen summons you.”
Lotor gave a look of appreciation to Dorris before following the guards out.
He entered the dimly lit room, the only light coming from oddly colored candles.
In the center of the room was a grand bed, with it’s curtain and drapes hanging in an untidy way.
In the bed lay a sickly and pale woman, with long gray hair and sunken eyes.
“My child,” came a weak groan.
“Yes, Mother,” Lotor got on his knees and held his mother’s outstretched hand.
“You must go, now. The book is with you, find the cure and save me, my child.”
With pained eyes, he nodded. The woman gasped for air and her eyes became unfocused and she began speaking in mumbles and words that didn’t sound sane.
“B-book.. Lotor.. Wo-w-wolf, the wolf’s tears, blood, Zarkon, save...”
Lotor slowly got up and covered his mother gently with the silk blankets.
Packing up the items he needed, he walked over to the cage in his mother’s room. A strange bird and cat-like creature lay there, jumping when Lotor opened the cage.
“Go the the Four Winds, Kova, and tell them to ride south to the town of Arus. I have a little wolf to hunt.”
Releasing the creature out the window, Lotor watched it fly away.
He walked out of the castle, Dorris caught him, “Where are you going?”
“To the south. I have already informed the guards, and their loyalty will not waver, even thought the Queen is in a… bad situation at the moment.”
Dorris gave him a concerned look, “Beware of Throk, he seems to be acting a bit suspicious lately.”
“Thank you Dorris, you take care as well.”
He waved at her, before running toward the Royal Stables.
Jumping onto his best horse, he rode towards the south.
Stay strong Mother, I’ll make sure you won’t die.
Seven days, seven nights. Finally he had reached Arus. The town with the forest of monsters. The prince covered his head with his hood, making sure no one would realize who he was. Looking at all the signs, he finally found the one place the Four Winds would be in. And sure enough, they were.
Zethrid roared as she munched down the entire boar as Ezor cheered her on. Acxa looked at them with a face that a mother would have when regretting having their child. Narti merely stared into space.
Lotor walked up to them before Ezor cried, “Loo-loo? Loo-loo!!”
She jumped up and hugged him, “It’s been soooo long!”
Lotor’s hood fell off, he quickly pulled in back on in a frantic manner before scolding Ezor, “What did I tell about keeping it low? We can’t let the people know who we are.” Acxa got up and shook hands with Lotor.
“It’s good to see you again, Lo- Lucas,” she corrected herself, aware that people were watching them. Zethrid grabbed Lotor into a bone crunching hug as a way of saying ‘Hello’. Narti merely stared.
Lotor smiled gently, as he sat on a wooden stool.
“Let me begin by saying that-”
The door crashed open, causing a mop and a bucket to fall over.
“Heeellllloooooooo Coran!” a tanned boy wearing an ocean blue scarf marched in, accompanied by a brown haired boy and an even darker haired boy.
The boy jumped into his seat, that was very close to Lotor’s. Lotor stared at him in a pleasant surprise.
The boy was very good looking.
Realizing he was being gawked at, the boy turned his head, facing Lotor.
“Can I help you?” he cocked his head to the side.
“Uhh...I’m new here,” was all that Lotor could muster up.
He stared in surprise that the boy had spoken to him.
“Really?” the boy asked. Then he stretched his hand out.
The boy said, “I’m Lance, nice to meet you.”
Lotor was speechless.
Lance’s smile was beautiful, and that was what blew him away.
Lotor has arrived!! Finally an update, sorry for the delay, I've been quite busy these days.
Anyways, thanks again for reading <3
Chapter 5: Welcome Home
Things start heating up.
It had been a week since he met the fascinating creature. Lance spent restless nights thinking about the boy, and when he did fall asleep, he’d end up dreaming about the wolf boy. Pidge had been grumbling one morning that he even spoke in his sleep about the boy. This probably explained why there were so many pillows and cushions on top of him when he woke up.
What was his name? Where is he now?
Those questions popped up frequently in Lance’s train of thought. He wanted to go back to the forest to find the boy. Immediately reacting to Lance’s insane idea, Hunk had put his arms into a large ‘X’ and Pidge merely looked at him in a face that said, No, just...no.
Sometimes, Lance would just lie in bed for hours at a stretch, forgetting about all other trivial matters, such as Rolo, eating, hunting and whatnot. Hunk got worried when this happened and often brought in little snacks and games to entertain Lance. Pidge would invent adorable trinkets and machines that would bring a smile to Lance’s face. All of this happened in a short span of seven days.
Finally, when the new week started, Lance decided to head down to the Altean Haven to visit Coran and Allura.
Marching down the hill, tailed by Hunk and Pidge, Lance promptly kicked open the tavern doors once he reached.
“Heeellllloooooooo Coran!” He strode into the tavern, Pidge straightened her glasses and Hunk licked his lips at the smell of the delicious food that was cooking. Lance looked for his usual seat, the one that literally everyone knew was his. Instead, he saw a cloaked figure on his chair. Sitting on the seat next to his golden throne, he gave the stranger a disapproving stare. Realizing that the figure was staring at him too, Lance spoke more politely that he would have preferred.
“Can I help you?” He cocked his head to the side.
“Uhh...I’m new here,” the stranger blurted out, seeming a bit startled at the sudden conversation.
“Really?” Lance raised a questionable eyebrow. Then he stretched his hand out.
Welp, guess I’ll have to be nice, he thought. Wholeheartedly, he said, “I’m Lance, nice to meet you.”
Lance smiled. In the inside of his mind, he panicked a bit when the stranger didn’t say anything for a long time.
“You okay there, bud?” Lance asked, peering under the strangers cloak to see him better. The stranger flinched back, clearly uncomfortable.
“Sorry about that,” Lance laughed uncertainly, “I’ll leave you alone then.”
“Oh no! Please, my name is Lucas,” he smoothly lifted Lance’s hand to his face and pecked it with his lips. Ezor swooned at Lotor’s act of affection and Zethrid choked on her boar. Acxa let out a little gasp of surprise. Narti clapped cheerfully, giggling slightly.
Whatever food that was in Hunk’s mouth was no longer there as his jaw dropped so low; it nearly touched the ground. Pidge scrunched up her nose in utter disgust and surprise. Becoming a little afraid at the long silence, Lotor asked in a concerned voice, “My good sir, are you alright?”
Revealing a seductive smirk on his face, he flirtatiously moved an inch closer to Lotor.
“Never been better, love. Would you like anything to drink?”
Eagerly, Lotor was about to agree when Acxa cleared her throat and grabbed his shoulder. Disappointed he shook his head at Lance, and got up to leave.
“Oh, alright then,” Lance said dubiously, watching the strangers leave the tavern, shutting the door behind them. Drooping his shoulders, Lance pouted and fiddled with his drink.
“You do know that he could’ve been an Elite. Right?” Pidge gazed at Lance with a face that looked far too familiar. It was a face that meant: Lance. NO. He’s dangerous.
Lance gave an inaudible answer as he lay face down on on the table, and Coran looked at him sympathetically as he cleaned the mugs with a cream colored cloth.
“Another one gone, huh? Don’t worry m’lad. I’m sure it’ll turn out fine, who knows? You never know who you’re gonna land up with. Look at me! I never tied the knot, no siree! I was born a bachelor, and I was meant to stay that way. No woman in lonely ol’ Coran’s life, but you know, one time there was a lady so fine I thought she would be the one for me and...”
Pidge, Hunk and Lance then had to endure an entire afternoon of Coran’s rambling and complains. By the time they got back, it was already very dark, and far too late for any wolf hunting.
“I need sleeeeeeeep,” Hunk cried, nearly collapsing on the doorstep.
Pidge yawned so wide Lance swore he could’ve fit his foot in Pidge’s mouth.
“I think we all do, Coran sure can talk!” Lance opened the door for Pidge and Hunk to tumble into. He watched them drop onto their beds with a snigger. Grabbing two blankets from the floor, slowly he wrapped them on the two little babies.
“Thanks Lance,” Pidge mumbled before falling asleep.
“No problem,” Lance said before picking up the lantern which had lit up the bedroom, now leaving the room to fill with the darkness of the night.
Lance sauntered towards his room, the walls were covered in paintings, musical pieces, cushions and knitting needles scattered across the wooden floor.
Today, it was a little argument he fought against himself. Picking up a wooden object, fit with string tightly attached to the wood with a hole inside the center of it’s large base. Lance stared at the strange instrument with a sense of pride. He had spent a year making this instrument, he put his blood, sweat and tears into it. And he called it a ‘guitar’. Remembering the impressed expression Pidge wore and the fascinated eyes of Hunk when they had finally seen the finished result put a smile of Lance’s face.
Adjusting the strings, Lance strummed a few chords slowly. After giving the needed adjustments, he began to strum chords together to form a melody. A small lullaby for Pidge and Hunk.
Lance let his mind wander off from there, he started to think about the forest, the wolf boy. He stopped playing once he heard snores emitting from the other room. Setting the guitar aside, he lay on the soft multi-colored cushions on his back, blankly staring at the ceiling.
The forest was safer than I thought it would be...One more try wouldn’t do me any harm, right? Or do I just listen to the guys...hmmm.
Blowing out the light from the lantern, he skulked out to the garden, where the horses were kept. Without making a single noise, he wrapped his scarf tightly around his head to fight against the cold, bitter wind.
“Hey Kaltenecker, hope you won’t leave me again buddy,” he whispered as he perched himself upon the horse. The horse let out a grunt in protest, causing Lance to chuckle softly. Noiselessly, they trotted out of the garden and down the hill.
Lance gazed up at the gigantic forest trees that loomed over him. Leading Kaltecker with a reassuring hand, for the second time in his life, he willingly entered the forest.
This time the forest looked nothing like the other night. At the moment, the trees glowed a bright blue, with dazzling yellow fireflies dancing around.
Lance flicked his head instantly to the direction from where it came from, before being tackled onto the ground. This time, however, Kaltenecker did not show any signs of fear. Instead, she began to chew on the tufts of aquamarine grass below her hooves.
“You came back!”
Lance gulped. It’s him.
The wolf boy realized what he had just done and instinctively jumped back, on all fours and changed the entire tone of his voice, “You came back.”
Prowling around Lance, the boy bared his fangs and growled, “Why? To kill me for my blood? My tears!?”
Lance was so confused, “Excuse me?”
The boy then perked his ears up and sat on his hind legs. Tilting his head to the side like a dog, he inquired, “So you, don’t want my blood?”
“Uh, no? I… I wanted to see you again. I’m not quite sure why, but I wanted to,” Lance cringed at his reason, he sounded extremely shady.
The boy glare at Lance with complete distrust. Shaking his head from side to side, he scratched behind his ear before answering.
“You’re still a human. Human’s lie.”
“That’s true, it’s just a human trait I suppose,” Lance sighed. This boy truly was beautiful.
Lance looked into the boy’s eyes, and the boy didn’t budge. So they stayed like that for a few minutes, before Lance muttered something about the wolf acting sort of creepy.
“It’s not like we meet werewolves on a daily basis, y’know?” Lance put his head down, and plucked out some grass out. The ground started to ooze out a strange liquid, one that was a glowing white. Throwing it aside quickly, scared at what the ooze may do to himself, he accidentally threw it at the boy.
“I’m not a werewolf,” the boy corrected in a huff, annoyed at the grass’s liquid stuck into his hair, “I’m just, a wolf.”
“So wait, this is your only form?”
“And you’re not a werewolf.”
“Just a wolf?”
“But you have a human face.”
With furrowed eyebrows, Lance opened his mouth to say words that never ended up being said. He lifted his finger up to prove a point, but that was never said either. Worried that the human was throwing a fit, the boy prodded him with a stick.
“I’m so confused,” he finally burst out. The boy flinched in surprise.
Lance continued, “You’re a boy but you’re also a wolf, but you’re not a werewolf.”
“Good Lord,” Lance fell on his back, the grass surprisingly soft.
Lazily, he lifted his head to see the boy, “Who are you, really?”
The boy hesitated, not knowing what to answer.
“What’s your name, at least tell me that much.”
“It’s...Keith. My name’s Keith.”
“Okay, so you’re Keith from now on, okay? Not a werewolf, not a part wolf part boy part whatever else it is you are. Just Keith.”
“Ah...Okay? So you’re Lance. Not a human, not a hunter. Just Lance?”
“Pretty much,” he laughed, and Keith laughed too.
Then there was a silence. Lance put his head back down on the grass. Looking up at the starry night sky, and thinking about his past.
“Aargh! What are you doing?” Lance rolled away in a frantic manner from Keith, who had been sniffing Lance’s head far too close for comfort.
“You smell weird.”
“Why thank you for your observation,” Lance ruffled his hair with one hand, his legs crossed and the other hand balancing himself on the ground.
“You smell like sweet peas,” Keith stated. Lance raised his eyebrows.
“Sweet peas? Like the flower or actual peas?”
“The flower. It’s weird.”
Lance looked curiously for Keith to continue, but he didn’t. Keith rose, leaving crushed grass on the area where he had sat. Keith walked over to Kaltenecker, who didn’t seem to take notice of Keith.
“This is a strange creature. What were they called again?”
“Horses?” Lance answered.
“Ah yes, the hornless unicorns,” Keith said while examining Kaltenecker from all angles.
Lance got up quickly too, fearing that Keith may have gotten the urge to eat his horse. Keith turned to look back at Lance. As he came close to Keith, Lance eyed Keith from head to toe. Keith’s hair was far too long and stuck out at odd angles. Far too long for Lance’s liking, he had fangs the poked out every now and then. His legs were like that of a wolf’s but his hands were completely human, except of course, for the insane tufts of hair. He had also realized that Keith was not naked, but wore a worn out pair of trousers that had became shorts over the years.
Keith side glanced at Lance warily, stepping away from him whenever he got too close.
What am I supposed to do now? He thought. He knew Lance would return, and their first meeting was...strange. He felt so flustered around Lance at that time, and he still felt the same.
Should I tell him to leave or to stay? Shiro, I could really use your help right now.
A howl erupted far off into the forest.
Keith made the motion to leave before-
“There’s more of you?” With hope in his eyes, Keith sighed.
“Bring your hornless unicorn, and follow me.”
A bright smile made its way onto Lance’s face as he got Kaltenecker ready.
Lance was hit with more than several branches and twigs. He had seen the most bizarre creatures such as birds with two heads and a snakes tail; three-tailed mice; cats the size of ants.
It was insane.
Then they reached a clearing in the forest. There was a hill that lead to a grand cave, so deep you couldn’t see the end of it. Whistling in awe, Lance jumped off of Kaltenecker, and stood next to Keith.
Keith howled in a beautiful voice, and before Lance knew what was happening, he was surrounded by tonnes of other part wolf part man part whatever creatures. He would have screamed if Keith wasn’t with him. There were tall wolves, buff wolves tiny wolves and one very attractive wolf who strode towards them.
“Keith! Who is this? Did you-You brought a human!” He exclaimed.
All the other wolves made noises of disapproval and anger.
“Shiro, hear me out, he’s not like the rest of them!”
“That’s exactly what Antok said, and look what happened to him,” a wolf reproached.
There were whispers corresponding between each wolf. Shiro walked close to Lance.
“State your name.”
“Uh, Lance. Lance McClain.”
Shiro’s eyes widened. Everyone went quiet. Even Keith looked at him with eyes so huge they were about to pop out.
“A McClain,” the voices whispered.
An incredibly buff wolf who towered over everyone walked towards Lance , he had an obvious limp, but the authority of a leader.
Chapter 6: Bloody Hell
“You’re fucking Prince Lotor.”
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Lance’s face was blank.
“Excuse me?” Stepping away slowly, Lance looked up at the looming figure above him. Although his legs were shivering, he put on a brave face but everyone could smell the fear.
“Take him to the cave.”
Lance was led into the cave by an unfazed Keith while the rest of the wolves grouped together. The cave was dark, and it only got darker as they walked further in. Then all of a sudden it was so bright Lance had to squint to adjust his eyes to the light. The cave was lit by the thousands of shining gemstones that were embedded onto the walls.
“What-where,” Lance started before pausing with a sigh.
“You want an explanation, I assume?” Keith said in a consoling voice.
“Of course, genius!” Lance threw his hands in the air for extra effect, before dropping on the ground, which was very, very hard.
“The McClain lineage,” Keith began , “Saved us all.”
“What?” Lance stared at Keith as he sat down as well. Keith looked back.
“The Royal Family have killed a countless number of our kind, just to live for a few years longer. Soon enough, they had slaughtered nearly every wolf in the kingdom. Only our pack was left.”
“I still don’t understand what this has to do with my family.”
“Your family grew this forest. This forest was created by your family to protect us,” Keith sighed out of relief as he was done. Lance was utterly stunned, too shocked to say anything.
“I can’t believe it, I’m talking to a McClain!” Keith cried in admiration, “No wonder the forest didn’t kill you, it knew of your blood!”
Lance stared at Keith, “M-my family? Created this forest? How the bloody hell did they manage that!? And when!?”
He yelled at Keith, who had not heard a word Lance had said as he was still in awes at how he befriended a McClain.
“Huh? Sorry, I didn’t hear you.”
“Aargh!” Lance groaned in frustration, crossing his arms so tightly around his chest he was practically hugging himself. After five minutes of contemplation on whether to throw a tantrum or to deal with it like Pidge, he spoke.
“Okay, okay. First question, how did they manage that?”
Keith looked at him sadly, “I’m sorry, but I don’t really know...”
Lance inched closer to Keith, “So, is it important that, I’m here?”
Keith cheered up, “Yes! Very much so, you see, the McClains disappeared after the creation of the forest. There was no town before, but after the forest came to life, the town began to construct as well. Our pack never heard from the McClains again. But now, here you are!”
“But I never even knew any of this bull. I don't even know what kind of creature you are,” Lance complained.
Keith opened his mouth to speak, but was cut off by the sound of approaching footsteps.
The sun shone brightly, warming up the room. The little birds tweeted and the rooster crowed. Pidge woke up, rubbing her eyes whilst reaching for her glasses.
Peering over to see Lance’s bed. It was untouched.
“He’s gone. Again!” Pidge was one hundred percent done. Lance had a shit ton of explaining to do. Hunk woke up with a start, yelling slightly.
“And do NOT say he went to mingle, Hunk,” Pidge put up a finger to silence Hunk.
“Well, he took Kaltenecker,” Hunk confirmed for the umpteenth time. Pidge ran her fingers through her hair.
Lance is such a dickhead.
As they prepared to go to town, Pidge adjusted her goggles and Hunk tied his headband tightly. Riding into town, they immediately went to Coran’s tavern.
“Have you seen Lance?” Hunk burst in.
Coran looked up from his customer to greet Hunk, “Not at all, Hunk m’boy. Did anything happen?”
“No,” Pidge sighed. She then spotted that same person Lance had flirted with the previous day.
“You!” She called, gaining their attention.
Hunk was hysterically going around to each person, asking the same question of where Lance was.
Pidge marched up to the strangers in deep purple cloaks.
“Remember Lance?” She asked in a matter-of-fact way. Lotor rose from his seat.
“Has anything happened to him? Has he been kidnapped?” He asked genuinely.
Whoa, this guys kinda weird, she thought.
Shaking her head, she looked up at the man who was at least twice her size, “No, at least, I think not. He’s just missing.”
Lotor seemed very interested in finding Lance. He even helped searching for Lance.
Suspicious, Hunk had thought throughout the entire search. Why was this Lucas so involved with Lance?
Keith looked back to see an eager Shiro walking briskly towards them.
“Kolivan wants to meet you, Lance,” Shiro said in a friendly tone, reaching a hand to help Lance up. Taking his hand, Lance brushed the dust off of him before following Shiro and Keith.
They walked out of the cave, and everything was sunny.
It’s already day time? Lance was shocked at how fast the time went by, but he didn’t even feel tired.
All the other wolves had gathered as well, and in the center, stood the same wolf that had a limp. So this was Kolivan.
Kolivan spoke is such a powerful voice that it could even make Lance shut up.
“So, McClain. It has definitely been a while since we’ve met.”
Lance observed that Kolivan was in fact, blind.
He continued, “You must be confused, I’m sure you must have questions.”
“Um, actually yes, yes I do,” Lance stammered.
“How did my family manage to create this place?”
“They weren’t humans. It’s as simple as that.”
Keith gasped in surprise. No wonder he smells like that.
Lance was getting more and more confused with each new fact.
He wasn’t human?
“Then what am I?”
“You’re a human. Well, partly.”
“You’re just like you’re father, Federico. Always asking questions.”
Before Lance could ask, Kolivan walked past Lance into the cave.
“It is too late right now. Come back when we’re awake. Or rather, when you usually go to sleep.”
And with that, he left into the cave, followed by the rest.
“Wait, I-I have so many questions,” Lance whined. Keith poked his shoulder.
“I’ll drop you back.”
Reluctantly, Lance went back to Kaltenecker. Shiro gave a small wave, before he too disappeared into the darkness of the cave. Lance waved back. His head felt heavy as he rode back, Keith occasionally asking if he was alright. Reaching the outskirts of the forest, Keith said, “I’m sorry but I can’t go any further. Just travel straight and you’ll be out.”
“You should know that I can’t go straight,” Lance winked before galloping out of sight. Keith went back home more confused on what Lance meant. Is he going to get lost then?
Knocking on the door of the cottage, Lance felt more awake than ever, including the fact he hadn’t slept the whole night. No one opened the door. He turned the knob, realizing that it wasn’t locked. He opened the door and crept in quietly. There were voices erupting from the kitchen. People were chatting and laughing.
Pidge was one.
Hunk was another.
But who was this last one?
Lance felt a bit dejected, Didn’t they realize I was gone?
Entering the kitchen, all the chatter stopped. All three heads turned to Lance,
and then he was tackled for the second time.
“Where were you, you little git!” Pidge scolded, hugging Lance so tight he couldn’t breathe. Hunk was crying hysterically as he hugged Lance.
“We thought it happened again!” Hunk sobbed.
The last person to reach Lance was the last person Lance had expected.
“Lance!” Lotor said cheerfully, “I’m so happy to see that you’re fine!”
“Thanks, but… Why exactly are you here?” Lance asked curtly.
Lotor smiled and said, “I was devastated to hear you had gone missing, so I helped your dear friends.”
Lance looked at Pidge doubtfully. Pidge straightened her glasses before saying, “He was in the tavern during our search. He helped us a lot.”
Hunk nodded, “And he makes top-notch tea!”
Lotor chuckled slightly, eyes wandering over to Lance’s own.
“Thanks Lucas, that was really kind of you. Usually no one even cares.”
Lotor patted Lance’s shoulder kindly, “It was the least I could do. After all, you were the first person to welcome me here.”
Lance smiled, and Lotor looked down shyly. Pidge was grinning impishly and Hunk was still hugging Lance.
“I should take my leave now. Fare thee well, my friends.” Lotor pushed his hair out of his face, before bowing with his left hand behind his back, and his right diagonally across his chest.
There was a dreadfully long silence. Lotor looked at all three shocked faces.
“Is something the matter? Is there anything on my face?” He asked worriedly. The silence was creeping him out.
Pidge was the first one to speak.
“Only one person in the entire kingdom, does that bow.”
Lance gasped, pointing at Lotor.
“You’re fucking Prince Lotor.”
A little boy was crying, sitting under a tree with an enormous trunk. He rubbed his eyes, wiping each tear away, only for more to flow.
“Mama! Mama! Papa!” He cried. Clutching his knees to his chest, he rocked himself, sobbing.
The little boy looked up with a tear stained and snot filled face. A boy about his age stood before him.
“You look sad,” the other boy sat beside him.
He nodded, still crying, “I want Mama.”
The other boy got up so suddenly, he startled the little boy. The other boy placed his hands on his hips and looked forward with eyes filled with determination.
“Don’t worry! I’ll find her,” he said, getting ready to leave.
A hand stopped him.
“No, don’t go,” the little boy cried. The other boy sat next to him once more.
“How about both of us go instead?” He suggested. The little boy simply nodded in agreement. So both boys set off in the quest to find ‘Mama’.
The other boy seemed to know where to go, but had to wait as the little boy took quite some time climbing over fallen trees and jumping over streams. They reached a place where there were no trees. Only a meadow of pretty blue flowers. The little boy shrieked in delight, running towards the flowers. The other boy pranced along as well. The other boy played with the little boy and rolled in the flowers. Finally lying down on their backs. They gazed up at the starry sky.
The little boy stretched his hand out towards the sky, “One day, I want to catch a star.”
The other boy looked at him curiously, “Why?”
“So I can light up any darkness,” the little boy said without any hesitation, “And no one’s is scared when I’m with them.”
The other looked back up at the sky. He got up and banged his fist on his chest.
“I’ll help! I’ll help you catch a star!”
The little boy’s face lit up in delight.
He hugged the other boy, “Then we’ll be partners! We’ll always be together!”
The other boy hugged back slowly, “Yeah! And then- Hey! Don’t fall asleep!”
The little boy slept peacefully in the other boy’s arms. The other boy smiled at the little boy, and he too fell asleep.
“Lance! Lance! Where are you?” A woman’s voice echoed.
The little boy opened his eyes gently, face-to-face with the other boy.
“Mama?” He cried. The other boy also opened his eyes.
“Lance! It’s Mama! I’m here!”
The little boy ran to the source of the sound. Running through trees and streams, he reached his Mama.
“Oh thank God! You’re safe,” she smiled, enveloping him in a warm embrace.
She was about to lift him up when he ran back.
“One second, Mama!”
Reaching the meadow, he searched all over for the other boy.
“Where are you?” He yelled.
The other boy watched him from the shadows of the trees.
“Where’d you go?” The little boy cried, “Where are you?”
No response, the other boy began to cry as well. But he wasn’t allowed to go near the humans. The female human was too close for him to go back to the little boy.
“Don’t forget the promise!” The little boy screamed. He ripped out a bunch of the flowers from the ground, and ran back to his Mama.
“Lance! Why are you crying?”
“I lost him.”
“My friend,” he began to sob uncontrollably.
“Oh Lance. Come here,” she carried him back home.
Noticing the flowers clutched in his hand, she exclaimed, “Lance!”
“Where did you find such beautiful sweet peas?”
I wonder who that boy was?
Chapter 8: Long Ago
Lotor’s eyes shot wide open. He rubbed his forehead with a tremendous amount of force, but it was no use, his head kept throbbing. Trying to recollect his memories, putting bits and pieces together as he focused his vision. A tavern. He was in a tavern. There were drunk men and women laying asleep on the ground and the entrance was slightly ajar, allowing a tiny bit of light to seep in.
How did he get there? He himself wasn’t too sure. The only thing he could remember was when the three hunters figured out he was the Prince. Oh! If only he hadn’t slipped up and made a gesture only the Prince would do. Stupid, stupid, stupid!
His train of thought was interrupted by a small groan emitted from a person who had been lying next to him.
“Aaah!” Lotor screamed in utter shock, jumping a few paces away from the boy. From Lance. He felt his entire face getting hot.
Did we? Last night….oh my God.
Lotor watched as Lance sat up slowly and relaxed, not having a care in the world. His eyes caught Lotor, and smiling he said, “Heh, rough night huh? I didn’t think the Prince was such a lightweight.”
Lotor blinked in confusion. So they hadn’t done that? Lance smacked a round object, that later revealed itself to be Hunk’s belly.
“Five more minughs...” Hunk mumbled softly, turning away from Lance as though not facing him would make him disappear. Lance gave another smack, earning a loud, “Ow!” from the larger man.
The loud sound caused the Pidge to wake up screaming and grabbing out a dagger, glancing around to see if there was any danger. However, Lotor was paying attention to none of these events. He concentrated harder than ever, rubbing his temples and furrowing his brows. Jerking his head backwards, he looked up at the ceiling. Lance frowned, “Is something wrong?”
“I remember what happened,” Lotor muttered, still staring at the ceiling as though it owed him money.
“You’re fucking Prince Lotor.”
Before Lotor could say anything, all the hunters began making noises a baby crow made when it was hungry.
It wasn’t very pleasant to the ears. Lotor attempted to calm them down, but if he came too close they’d get even louder. After a full ten minutes, they had collected themselves and began shooting him with questions.
“YOU’RE THE FUCKING PRINCE!”
“How-what-why are you here? Oh my Gods, this is scary.”
“Is it true you have every book ever made!?”
“OH MY FUCKING GOD. YOU’RE THE PRINCE!?”
“How’s the food at the Palace? I’m sure it must be amaaazing~”
“Do you know MAGIC? They say the Royal Family knows all about this stuff and I personally think that-”
“Oooh my Gods. You’re the Prince.”
Bombarded by questions, Lotor didn’t quite know what to do. Firstly, his cover was blown. Secondly, he feared for his life if Acxa ever came to know about it.
“Yes,” he began, shutting up the others completely, “I am Prince Lotor, but please, don’t spread the word.”
They all nodded silently, Lotor continued, “I was sent here because I have a mission to accomplish.”
Lance ran towards the door, “Okay, okay! Enough details! You’re the bloody prince! We all need to get a drink! Your treat, your Majesty.”
Lance gave a mock bow before running down the hill. Lotor turned to face Pidge and Hunk, both gave a shrug in response.
* * *
Upon reaching the tavern, all of them forgetting to mount on their horses, they arrived breathlessly. Tumbling into his seat, Lance exclaimed, “Coran! Gimme a Brandy! The finest ya got.”
Coran raised an eyebrow, “No, Lance, you’re only 20.”
Lance pouted and whined and pouted and whined until eventually, Coran just gave up and gave a glass that, Lance pointed out, was incredibly small. Coran had asked Lotor if he would like one as well, to which of course, Lotor agreed to in order to look strong.
Pidge and Hunk managed to sneak in a few shots as well, mostly due to the amount of whining Lance had done in order to make them drink it.
By the next fifteen minutes, everyone in the tavern was drunk, and it was only early evening. They relentlessly pestered Coran for more alcohol, and managed to steal an entire bottle. As the night proceeded, Pidge, Hunk and Lotor were very,very far from being sober. They were the most drunk and unstable people in the room, and that was pretty impressive.
Pidge began to sing in the loudest volume possible, literally screaming into the mop. Twirling with it as though Pidge was dancing with the love of her life, before tossing it away with a face of total hatred. The term ‘tossing’ would be incorrect. She hurled it as far away from her as possible, knocking out the two men in front of her.
Hunk was laughing insanely on the ground for no reason whatsoever and whoever tried to calm him down was flirtatiously attacked. If you pulled away he’d just continue laughing, and then start sobbing.
Lotor went ballistic. His speed went up by a thousand notches, and so did his volume. He began to yell angrily in a language no one could quite understand. He asked a man a question in said language, swore when he got no answer and started one of the biggest tavern fights ever. Coran watched as the tavern went down in flames, metaphorically speaking that is.
Once the whirlwind of fists was over, nearly everyone dropped to the ground and slept. Lance was the only sober person in the room, and he was thankful that he had only taken one sip. Deciding whether to stay or to leave, Lance finally shrugged and jumped on the human pile.
Lotor tiredly glanced up at him, smiled and said, “You’re very pretty, you know?”
Then he closed his eyes. Lance chuckled slowly, “Thanks.”
Lotor continued gazing up at the ceiling.
“What did you say?” Hunk scratched his head and rubbing his eyes at the same time. Pidge yawned and flopped back on the hardwood ground, banging her head while doing so. Lance sighed at the state his team was in, and pondered what would have happened if he wasn’t there.
Lotor shook his head, “It’s nothing.”
He turned to face Lance, who already had a cheeky smile plastered across his face.
Lotor was escorted home by the trio, much to his disdain. They walked away from the busy streets of the town, going more to the vacant boundaries. Trudging along the sand and gravel, past the cottages and mansions and inns, they reached a tiny cottage, which was quite a distance away from the town.
Lotor thanked them wholeheartedly and bid the farewell as they turned back to their own home.
Lance yawned as he stretched his long arms, nearly whacking Pidge in the face. As they entered the town once more, they decided to take a little detour and headed to the local bakery. Hunk was the one who initiated it by stating they hadn’t had their breakfast as of yet.
“Madam Elizabeth! Five loaves of the finest bread,” Lance said in his best Royal accent. The elderly lady giggled in short gasps of laughter, before handing him a basket of baked goodness. Hunk reached out to give her one of his famous bear-hugs. Pidge thanked her with an obligatory bow.
“Oh, anything for you boys,” the woman said in a sweet tune, “after all, you did save Mr. Edmund from those terrible elves!”
She gestured towards the old cat that lay beside her feet. Pidge straightened her glasses before whispering, “It was actually you we were saving.”
They waved the elderly women goodbye before embarking their hundredth tour around the town. But from then on, Pidge was acting different.
“Pidge?” Hunk looked worriedly at the little gremlin.
“What?” Pidge said more rudely than intended.
“I think we need to talk,” Lance said, putting on his best mom face.
Pidge gave a long, frustrated sigh.
---this scene takes place during the night the hunters and the Prince went to drink---
The cave was empty except for two brothers. The rest of the Clan had gone out on their usual patrols around the forest. One boy was sitting at the entrance of the cave, staring into space while the other was ranting about something.
“Keith! You haven’t eaten a single thing since yesterday,” Shiro scolded, noticing Keith’s yet again full plate. Shiro looked sympathetically at Keith, “You’re not listening, are you?”
Realizing he was talking to stone, Shiro sat next to Keith, putting his hand on the other’s shoulder. Jumping slightly, Keith jerked his head to face Shiro. His tail drooped and his shoulder sagged.
“Shiro,” he began, “I’ve been having strange dreams lately.”
Shiro gave a smile that urged Keith to continue.
“Actually, it’s a recurring dream. When I was a pup, I had helped a human boy reach the outskirts of the forest, I never knew his name.”
Shiro tilted his head, “I remember you telling me when we were younger, but why are you saying that now?”
Keith looked back in front into space, “I’ve been having dreams of that memory. All of a sudden it’s coming back to me. A little human child, me as a pup, running through a meadow of sweet peas. We fell asleep, and when I woke up, his mother had come to rescue him.”
Shiro nodded, taking in the information he had heard many, many years ago.
Keith spoke again, “I had promised him I would help him catch the stars. I never forgot.”
Turning to face Shiro once more, Keith said, “I think it’s a sign.”
“I don’t know, but I just...feel it.”
---back to the present---
Opening the door for Pidge and Hunk like any other day, Lance promptly shut the
door and was accompanied by Hunk when they told Pidge, “Talk.”
Pidge shifted her eyes to look at every corner of the room.
“Rooms are rather fascinating, aren’t they?” Pidge blurted out awkwardly.
They had seated Pidge upon the stool in the kitchen, blocking the door in case of a likely escape. Crossing both arms, Hunk and Lance raised their eyebrows.
“Spit it out Pidge, what’s bothering you?” They queried in unison.
Pidge rolled her eyes, observing every crack of wood on the floor.
I guess there’s no escaping this.
“Alright, alright,” Pidge began. Lance and Hunk were all ears, “Hunk, remember when Lotor mistook me for a boy?”
“And Mrs. Elizabeth as well, along with countless of other people. And other people like Coran, Allura, you guys and...myself call me a woman.”
Lance had a feeling he knew where this conversation was heading.
“I-I don’t really feel very comfortable w-when people specify me in a category as female or male. I feel like I don’t really have a specific gender so I-”
Lance interrupted, “You’re non-binary.”
“What’s that?” Hunk asked.
Pidge looked up at Lance, who had a blank face.
“There’s a word for that?”
Keith ran in circles, coming to a part of the forest he had never seen before. He reached a crystal clear lake, and a bunch of gigantic pine trees loomed over him.
The lake gave a misty blue aura, and he felt as though light was emitting from it. There were sweet peas scattered all over the place, and fireflies danced.
“Keith,” came a soothing voice. Keith shook his head, his fur rising and his teeth bared.
“Who’s there?” He growled.
A little boy walked over to him, “Don’t you remember?”
Keith was taken aback. He reached a hand to touch the boy’s face when a swarm of fireflies covered the boy.
“No!” Keith yelled, lunging into the fireflies. Arms went around him in a tight embrace, but he realized that it couldn’t have been the child’s hands. These hands were far too long. He smelt the scent of sweet peas, it was much stronger and his eyes caught a glimpse of an ocean blue cloth waving in the wind. He looked up. There was a human hugging him. He had a kind face, tanned skin and
chocolate brown hair. His blue eyes pierced into Keith’s own and there was a small smile on his face.
“You’re him,” Keith cried, “It’s you.”
Keith woke up with raspy breathes.
I found you.
Chapter 9: Missing
Quick question, would you guys like to see how their outfits are?
I'll make pictures if you do want them!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The hustle and bustle of the town was normal during the afternoon. In one corner of the far end of the borders of the town, through the window, one could see Lotor being interrogated by four fierce women.
In another corner, much closer to the town, was a tiny, run-down cottage situated on a hill. Through this one’s window, Pidge was hugging Lance and Hunk, all of them in a blissful silence. And in the third corner, which was settled in the middle of the town itself, stood a slim building.
The stone walls were falling apart, the yellow paint had chipped off a long time ago. Windows that looked more like teary faces stuck awkwardly into the walls.
Through one of these sad-looking windows, a thin, tall man was sitting on a wooden stool. He seemed to be cleaning a weapon of some sort, a mixture between a crossbow and pistol. He had a silk cloth in one hand, intricately running it in a smooth motion across the strange weapon.
The room was small, and had an eerie sensation around it. Clearly, no one had slept in the bed as there were no creases on the sheets and it had a thick layer of dust upon it. Rolo blew on the weapon, giving the final touching in its cleansing. His eyes traveled down to the rickety floor, where a pair of lifeless eyes stared up at him. Setting his weapon aside on the small desk in front of him, he wiped his hands with a towel.
A fair young girl walked into the room. Her face was red and her eyes puffy, it appeared she had been crying earlier. Rolo smiled up at her, indicating an outstretched hand. She hugged him gently, stroking his hair as he wrapped one arm around her. He turned his head over to the body of the wolf that lay on the ground.
“We spent a month tracking these fuckin’ beasts, and we ended up trailing the wrong one,” he said in a sudden outburst. Nyma wiped her eyes, placing both arms on his cheeks. He stared deep into her eyes.
“Rolo, stop being so hard on yourself. We make mistakes, we’ll just have to try harder next time.”
Caressing the side of her face, while twirling her golden locks between his fingers, he gave her another smile, before she leaned in for a kiss.
A few days had passed after the harrowing experience of watching his teammates getting seriously drunk with the fucking Prince, as well as Pidge revealing that they were non-binary, which was a term Lance had made up on the spot.
Lance woke up earlier than usual that morning. Hunk snored like an ogre and Pidge shifted their positions every five minutes or so. Lance’s eyes traced over every single crack in the ceiling, without a thought passing through his mind. Suddenly, he saw Keith’s face. He shot up, back straight, with hopeful eyes searching the room. Realizing he had imagined it all, he let out a sigh, which Pidge had noticed, was becoming more and more frequent.
By the time the other two had woken up, Lance could be heard strumming away on his creation in his tiny abode. Hunk tied his headband fixedly upon his head and made his way into the kitchen.
Bumping into a few objects on his way there, Hunk finally made it to the wooden bowl that held fresh clean water. He washed his face with a few quick splashes before turning around to get some ingredients for breakfast. Although in his way to the food cabinet, was a boy with the most peculiar ears, sitting on top of the table cross-legged. It looked exactly like a dog’s ears.
“Good mornin’,” he mumbled sleepily to the stranger with a tail.
Then the realization hit him like a rock.
His eyes popped open. He looked back at the boy, blinked his eyes twice, and then screamed. This caused the boy’s ears to pull back and he screamed as well. Pidge sprang from their mattress, not bothering to even wear their shoes. Only in their white night gown, Pidge raced to the kitchen, gripping a sharp silver dagger in their right hand. The music stopped playing and was followed by the loud thuds of Lance’s feet running towards the kitchen.
Hunk held a frying pan as his only defense, his legs shivering in fear. Pidge and Lance clashed into each other the moment both were about to enter the room, Pidge darting from the left and Lance coming from straight across from his room.
Holding the ladle of the frying pan with both hands dripping with sweat, Hunk approached the boy, slowly.
Then Lance hopped into the room, clutching his left foot in his hands.
“Keith!?” With wide eyes, Lance hopped over to where Hunk stood.
“Who?” Pidge appeared out of nowhere, still keeping the dagger ready.
Keith perked his ears up once he saw Lance. He jumped off the table top, coming closer. Lance walked over to Keith, putting an arm around his shoulder.
“This is the wolf-boy I told you about!”
“How did you even know his name? You said you didn’t know!” Hunk eyed Keith with a suspicious look.
“Oh crumpets,” Lance breathed, “I forgot to tell you guys.”
Keith kept trying to interrupt, opening his mouth, but he never got a chance. He then had to endure a lengthy illustration of how Lance discovered he was not as human as he had thought he was.
After much explaining, gasps from Hunk and wide eyes from Pidge, Lance finally finished talking. Then Keith was attacked with questions from two very curious humans, thankfully Lance protected him. He acted as a human shield and told the two that Keith wasn’t very comfortable around humans, yet.
Keith nearly forgot what he had come for.
“Lance, we need your help,” he said in a pleading tone. Lance leaned down slightly to indicate that he was listening.
“Ulaz hasn’t come back for days, you remember him right?”
“Uh, he was the chief, right?”
“No, he was the one who spoke of Antok.”
Lance had no clue who Ulaz was but allowed Keith to continue.
“We think he’s been captured,” Keith was beginning to have a tinge of panic in his voice.
“Well, there’s only one thing to do then,” Lance declared, “We must find him!”
Pidge crossed their arms, “Aren’t you a smart bloke?”
“C’mon M.H.G! We’ve got work to do!” Lance made a dramatic exit out the kitchen door, followed by an uncertain Keith and an even more uncertain Hunk.
Pidge yelled after Lance, “You don’t even have your manky trousers on for God’s sake!”
this happens once Lance, Pidge and Hunk drop Lotor to his home.
Acxa’s eyebrow twitched menacingly, her eyes following Lotor. Beads of nonexistent sweat poured from Lotor’s forehead as he unwrapped the cloth that had a loaf bread bundled up inside. Narti and Ezor both remained silent, but Zethrid spoke for all of them when she asked, “Where the bloody hell were you last night?”
Collecting himself, he straightened his back and spoke in a matter-of-fact tone.
“What business may it be to you? Don’t forget that I am still the Prince," was what he thought he had said. In reality, what he had actually told them was the total truth.
“I went drinking,” he shot back. The ladies all had expressions of horror.
“You-went-what?” Acxa said in a slow growl.
“Drinking,” Lotor said without missing a beat.
Well, all that can be said for the following events was that Zethrid put Lotor into a headlock as Ezor threw flowers in the air. Acxa kept repeating how dangerous it was, as she knew that Lotor was very weak to alcohol. Narti tried to be intimidating by staring at Lotor, although he knew she didn’t know where she was looking as she ended up staring at a houseplant. The whole time, Lotor pondered on how these women were the most feared assassins in the kingdom.
After all the havoc, they decided it would be best to get some sleep as for the next few days, they’d be hunting in the forest. Lotor lay in his bed, fingers interlaced, his thoughts of his ill mother gave him a guilty feeling. He wasn’t quite sure why though. He then changed his thoughts and directed them to Lance.
Lotor didn’t know how to feel around the boy. He had only met him, and he hardly even knew what he liked and disliked... but he felt and urge to touch him, to kiss him, to call him, “Mine.”
He felt his face getting hot and he covered his face with his blanket.
How can I even think of something so erotic!?
The following morning, Lotor tried everything he could to remove the memory of a shirtless Lance in his bed. He even considered gouging out his brain with the very spoon he held in his hands.
Acxa brought him back to reality by stating that they needed to begin their hunt as soon as possible. Ezor observed that Lotor didn’t seem to be acting normal. Narti gave him a knowing smirk, making him feel rather uneasy.
Back to the present
Lance, Pidge and Hunk ran down the hill to town. Keith had to stay as the townspeople would obviously try to kill him if they saw him. The trio literally looked in every nook and corner of the town, prior to Lance’s instructions. Soon, they reached a lanky building, covered in an off-yellow paint that was chipping away with age. Lance made a finger gun on which his chin rested. His hair blew in different directions, opposing the gust of wind sweeping past. Pidge reached panting, bending down with their hands grasping their knees. Hunk was the last to arrive, complaining on why Lance had to be born with such abnormally long legs.
Let’s try this place,” Lance reached for the door’s handle. Hunk let out another groan and Pidge muttered something about Lance acting like a love-struck puppy. Lance replied by saying, “Oh the irony.”
There was hardly anyone living in there. They could smell the age of the building. The damp floors, the poorly maintained walls and lobby. The wood of the stairs was rotting due to the leaks that had never been fixed. All the rooms had doors left ajar, and none were occupied. However, when they reached the third floor, they heard voices.
“Rolo,” came a girl’s voice.
Lance grit his teeth in malice. The trio hid by the corner of the hallway that led down to the stairs. Pidge tugged at Lance’s shirt that he had rolled up absentmindedly during their search. Lance did not respond.
“We can’t just leave, Rolo,” she begged.
“Look Nyma, we’re bounty hunters. That’s what we do. Besides, we got the wrong age,” Rolo replied nonchalantly, and he could be heard packing various objects.
“But there’s a body!” She spoke louder than she expected.
“Don’t worry, I’ve read all about these monsters. A few days after their death, they’ll be nothing but dust. It’ll be a’ight Nyma, trust me.”
There was a silence after that. Lance figured that it was best to hide, as they were completely exposed. Quietly, they made their way to the second floor and entered an empty room.
Hunk whispered into Lance’s ear, “That was really risky mate, like, really risky.”
Pidge gave a Lance a painful pinch as punishment for not listening, much to Lance’s dismay. Footsteps could be heard, descending to the lobby. Then a slamming of a door.
They waited for great amount of time. Finally deciding that the coast was clear, they made their way back up to check the rooms.
They never expected anything really, even after hearing the conversation between the bounty hunters. Creeping into the rooms one after the other, they arrived at a room that had recently been occupied: The bounty hunters’ room.
The trio entered warily, before Pidge let out a frightened gasp.
On the ground lay a lifeless body, eyes bulging out in terror. Lance recognized him immediately from the night at the forest which felt like ages ago. It was Ulaz, and he was dead.
Keith waited anxiously in the cottage, but they only arrived in the early evening. Until then, Keith explored the house. First was the kitchen. He didn’t quite remember how he had got in the cottage in the first place. The clan hadn’t specifically asked Keith to get help from Lance. In fact, they didn’t ask at all, but for some reason, Keith felt that Lance would be able to help them.
The kitchen was a rather tiny place, and he wondered they had all fit in here so snugly. There was a door that was securely locked, which led to the garden the large man tended to work on with much effort. Two cabinets were stationed near the corner of the room, where Keith had sniffed around. Mostly vegetarian ingredients, and some spices. He left the kitchen and walked into a room with three large rectangular objects. This room had scattered clothes all over the floor and the two windows. One that was on the slanted roof, allowing the sunlight at a certain angle, and one that allowed him to see the horse stable. Curious to see what the rectangular objects were, he sat on the one that smelt strongly of Lance. The object was soft, and it bent when he sat on it. It was comfy nonetheless.
He then found a flight of stairs, which he later discovered, was called ‘the Basement’. The second he saw the items in the Basement, he turned around. It was one of those, things that humans made. It was disgusting.
Climbing back up the stairs, he sniffed. A room was releasing strong fumes of sweet peas. Incidentally, one of the many things he discovered were that Lance’s friends did not smell like rotten trash either. The small human smelt of peanuts and the large man smelt of… domestic dogs.
As he exited from the Basement, he heard a knock on the door. It wasn’t them.
“Is anyone here? It’s me, Allura.”
Allura? He thought.
The one Shiro talks about?
Shallura comin' right at ya
Chapter 10: Seven Days
Lance finds out more about his past.
Keith didn't know what to do. Open the door? No, she'd faint, or worse she'd kill him.
Hiding was the best option. However, the Basement smelt of oil, and it hurt his nose. He made a break for it to the kitchen the second he heard the sound of the front door open. Silently, he crawled into the cabinet and closed it. He listened.
“Lance? Pidge? Hunk? Anyone?” She called out. Allura set down a basket full of gifts she had bought from her most recent travels. Dusting off the pollen that had clung onto her dress from when she walked up the hill, Allura heard her stomach growl.
“Oh dear,” she spoke to herself, “I might as well help myself as I wait.”
Keith figured out that this Allura was probably a close ally to the trio, as she entered the house with no hesitation and the fact that she was raiding their food.
Wait. I’M HERE.
His heart began to beat faster as she approached loser. He backed up all the way to the corner of the cabinet, as though that would make him less visible.
Allura strolled towards the kitchen, and once she reached there, she reached for the slice of bread in a little basket Lance had made. She bent down to open the cabinet door, her fingers on the knob.
Keith could hear her breathing. He knew that her hand was on the knob, and he knew this was the end. The only thing he could do now was to either accept his face or to fight till the bitter end.
The cabinet swung open.
Keith held his breath and stared at Allura.
Allura merely grabbed a jar of homemade jam Hunk had whipped up and she shut the door. Keith blinked, something seemed a bit off.
Allura rose up and set the bread on a tiny wooden plate. The twisted open the jar which opened with a pop, before she deadpanned. She bent down and opened the cabinet once more.
Lance gazed sadly at the body, a once magnificent creature which was now slowly decaying. Pidge had examined the rest of the room but there was really nothing else to see.
“How will we get the body back?” Hunk asked aloud. That was a good question, Lance had no clue. Pidge piped in, “I have an idea.”
Hunk went down to the weaver’s stall, where he bought a large carpet. Lance thought it was disrespectful to Ulaz but Pidge insisted it was the safest they could do. It would be rather strange to see three people carrying the dead body of a wolf. They rolled the body snugly in a large woven carpet which had floral patterns decorated all over it. Hunk lifted one end and Lance lifted the other. Pidge tried to help by holding onto the middle but it just made the journey more difficult. People shot curious glances as they carried the carpet back home. It took much longer than expected.
Allura yelled. Allura screamed.
Keith screamed. Keith yelled.
Allura moved first, she ran out of the kitchen, probably to call for help. Keith had no choice but to chase after her. To his surprise, she hadn’t run away. She held an old silver sword. He began feeling slightly weak, being exposed to the silver.
“Who are you,” Allura scornfully spoke, not a sign of friendliness in her voice.
Keith open his mouth to speak when Allura exclaimed, “ Don’t answer that! I know exactly what you are.”
She continued speaking, never lowering or letting her guard down.
“You’re a beast. A wolf. I’d never forget.”
There was a gap and Keith instantly filled, “I don’t-”
“Quiet,” She hissed, “Your kind killed my father. I’m not letting you go so easily.”
Lowering his ears, Keith gradually sat down, knowing that it was be useless to fight. They were in the hallway. Keith wished that the trio would arrive faster, before Allura did anything rash. He could smell the fear emitting from her, but she put on such a brave face that it was hard to tell.
Lance’s foot kicked the door open, startling both Allura and Keith.
“Allura? Fancy seeing you here m’lady- Wait what are you doing!?” His face transcended from a flirtatious demeanor to a horrified one. He was still holding the carpet with both hands, so his back was facing them as he spoke.
Pidge walked in without any emotion on their face. Allura was a bit stunned, so Pidge took advantage by taking the sword out of Allura’s loosened grip.
Keith got up much to Allura’s horror, and he dashed towards the carpet.
They all sat in Pidge’s study. The silence loomed over them, Allura wanted to ask about the wolf. They all knew one had killed her father, so why were they so unfazed by this boy? Lance broke the silence.
“So...Allura,” he fiddled with his scarf nervously, “I see you’ve met Keith.”
Keith was too shaken by the death of his comrade to say anything. Allura gave a skeptical look at Keith, “Yes. As you can tell, it’s not very pleasant.”
This was an awkward situation, one had lost a member of his Clan and the other met the probable relative of the wolf who killed her father. The air was tense.
“How do I get the body back?” Keith spoke so softly, it was hard to make out what he was saying. All the attention went back to Keith, who was still in shock.
Lance put his arm around Keith’s shoulder, trying to console him.
“I’ll help you,” he frowned his eyebrows sympathetically, “I’ll carry him through horseback.”
Pidge and Hunk weren’t quite comfortable with allowing Lance to go back into the forest, and Allura was very confused. There would be a lot of explaining to do.
So they waited for a few hours, until it got awfully dark. Lance put on his cloak and covered his face. He hauled Ulaz over on Kaltenecker, before mounting himself. Keith stuck close-by as they made their way to the forest. Pidge, Hunk and Allura watched them leave from the doorstep.
As they passed the outskirts of the forest, they were confronted by a wolf.
“Keith! Where have you been you insolent youngling, the whole Clan has been searching all over,” he pulled Keith by the ear before noticing Lance was there as well, “And you’ve brought the McClain.”
“Thace, this is serious,” Keith struggled to pry away from Thace’s grip, “It’s Ulaz.”
Thace let go of Keith and began to sniff. He walked over to the back of the horse before his eyes widened at the sight of his comrade, “Ulaz?”
Lance was seated in between Keith and his really good-looking brother Shiro in the meeting of the Clan. Kolivan stood in the middle of the ring of wolves, which looked smaller than the last time Lance had been here.
“It is a sad day for all,” Kolivan began, “As one of our greatest warriors has fallen.”
All the wolves looked down with sorrow. Kolivan continued, “Ulaz was one of the bravest wolves of our Clan, and I say with much grief that he will be greatly missed. However, he is not the first of us to be killed nor is he the last. A war is starting my friends, and this is only the flicker of the flame. So, here’s to Ulaz, may we send him to the heavens with our prayers.”
One by one, each of the wolves rose and let out a melancholy howl. Lance stood in respect as Shiro and Keith howled with tears streaming down their faces. They laid the body on the top of a hill that faced opposite of the cave. The forest was a cool blue hue like the last time, except this time, there was an air of sadness enveloping around them. As the body touched the grass, the plants wrapped itself around it in a slow, gentle motion. Soon enough, the body had disappeared into the earth.
“McClain, follow me. We have much to discuss,” Kolivan said as he walked back to the cave. Lance glanced at Keith with a doubtful expression as though he was asking, Me? Does he mean me?
Keith nodded, and he whispered, “Do as he says.”
He realized the rest of the Clan stopped following them and simply watched as he entered the cave with Kolivan. The cave was brighter than the last time, and Kolivan stated that the cave lights up even more when a wolf has fallen.
The cave was like a maze, first they turned left, then they turned right, then again left then again right. It gave Lance a major headache. At long last they had arrived at their destination. It was Kolivan’s lair. It had all sorts of things Lance had only heard of from fables. Jars full of various remedies such as Siren’s Fin, Gremlin Eye, and there were various types of weapons as well. Staffs, wands and such. Lance examined the room in awe. Kolivan sat on cushion, the oddly lit candles cast an intimidating shadow over his face. He gestured Lance to sit on the cushion in front of him. Nervously, Lance sat down, back straight, hands gripping his ankles with such strength that it probably left a bruise.
“You had questions, yes?” Kolivan started the conversation.
“Uh, um yes.”
“Go on ahead, we have time.”
“What exactly am I?” Lance cringed at his question.
“It’s hard to say, you see, your ancestors had the habit to fall in love with beasts and monsters. Sometimes it would be a Mermaid, a Nymph, Vampires and so on. In short, the McClain lineage was known to fall in love with beasts. So you’re hardly human in my point of view.
Lance blinked. So his ancestors got busy with all kinds of monsters, huh?
As he was about to ask the next question, Kolivan added, “But they all knew how to control magic, it was a talent that was passed on from generation to generation. However, you’re parents were killed, correct?”
“How did you-”
“I know far more that you’d expect child,” Kolivan lifted up a glass sphere and offered it to Lance, who was too astounded to say anything. He took the sphere mindlessly, and merely held it in his palms.
Lance gave a small nod. The Beast of Gévaudan was a tale he’d hear from time to time, it was of an abnormally large wolf who had terrorized all the kingdoms. The Beast escaped from a neighboring kingdom to the Altean-Galra Empire, and killed at least two hundred people. It ripped their throats out, leaving a bloody trail. Thankfully, it had recently been shot by a hunter named Jean Chastel.
“That beast came to this town, a long time ago,” he reached for a little scroll that was in a crate nearby, he unrolled it, revealing a painting of the Beast, “It killed your parents.”
“What?” Lance furrowed his eyebrows, feeling a rage that hadn’t been there before.
“You wouldn’t have remembered. Your parents, Federico and Maria saved you by locking you in the cellar, so the intoxicating fumes of the wine would hide your scent. They used the most powerful spells they could to kill the Beast. Sadly, they weren’t able to defeat it.”
A painful silence lingered in the room. Lance wanted to scream, he wanted to cry. Maybe both, all he knew now was that his parents died protecting him.
Kolivan stood up and made his way to the passage out but he stopped just as he left the corner.
“The magic is still within you.”
Lance turned around so quickly he felt a sharp pain, but he didn’t care.
Kolivan had left. Lance sprinted after him, going through each route, following the footprints imprinted on the dirt. A blast of cold air rushed into his face, he was outside now and the rest of the wolves had assembled into the earlier ring.
Kolivan stood in the middle once more, and boomed with his ever powerful voice,
“Ulaz had by no doubt been killed by a hunter, however, the identity is still unknown, howeve-”
Lance interrupted, “I know who it was, it was a bounty hunter named Rolo.”
Whispers broke out instantly, Kolivan raised a hand to silence them.
“If it was the bounty hunter, then this means the witch has run out of the elixir.”
The whispers became even louder now. Kolivan had a strained expression. As though he were in pain.
Puzzled, Lance asked, “Witch? Elixir?”
Keith popped out of nowhere, right beside Lance who let out a tiny yelp.
“The witch Haggar. Every century, she sends out hunters to kill us, just because we’re what she needs to make an elixir that grants her another hundred years to live,” he said with a vicious growl in his voice with his eyes filled with fury.
“Hanger?” Lance made a quizzical face which caused Keith’s glare to soften slightly.
Shiro appeared out of thin air as well, standing on the other side of Lance. “Haggar,” he corrected, “Also known as Queen Honerva.”
“Wait wait wait wait, hold up,” Lance held out his index finger, pointing it at Shiro, “Are you telling me that our Queen is a psychotic witch?”
Keith shrugged, “Pretty much.”
Lance let his jaw drop, Does Lotor know about this? Was his first thought.
He realized that everything was once again silent. Kolivan was good at shutting people up.
“Please, calm down. Let us think rationally,” he said, “We now that the elixir has either run out or is nearly empty.”
“We hardly have any younglings,” a wolf blurted out, before covering her mouth as to what she said.
All the wolves looked at her with remorseful and shocked eyes. Keith lowered his head. Lance would later learn why such a simple statement made everyone behave this way.
Kolivan suddenly called Lance’s name.
“Yes?” Lance stood, alert.
“You must stay here.”
“You do enjoy saying that word a lot, child,” Kolivan raised an eyebrow, resuming his earlier demand, “Return home and tell your comrades that you shall be here for seven nights and seven days.”
Before Lance could ask another question, Keith and Shiro had already hauled him on top of Kaltenecker.
“I’ll be waiting by the outskirts,” Keith said to Lance with a smile, which nearly cause Lance to fall off the sadle.
Just going along with the flow, Lance made his way back home.
Galloping against the wind, pounding upon the grass and the stone, he arrived at last.
There was a light from the bedroom window, indicating that they were home.
Jumping off of Kaltenecker, he kicked open the front door, “I’m hooome!”
Pidge came out in their nightgown, holding a candle, “We were wondering when you’d show up.”
Hunk held out a plate of snacks and ruffling up Lance’s hair. Lance laughed, but stopped once he saw Allura as well.
“Allura? What are you doing here?” He asked incredulously, noting the fact that she too was in her night gown.
“I wanted to stay here as Uncle Coran has gone out of town for a week,” she smiled, “How was the forest? Is it like they say it is?”
“Woah hold your horses my dear princess!” Lance flailed his arms for an extra effect. He sighed, and his shoulders dropped.
“Look, I have to go back. I’m needed there for a week,” he explained, resulting in more questions and protests.
“I don’t know why, but they asked me to stay,” he reasoned, “Don’t worry you guys! It’s me you’re talking about, Lance McClain, the best archer in the world,” he said, wiping off imaginary dust from his shoulders. Pidge raised a skeptical eyebrow whilst Hunk gave the most suspicious look ever.
“Is this because of Keit-”
“No!” Lance retorted, “No!”
Allura gave a sarcastic grin, “Sure thing Lance.
After packing up all the necessary items he would need into a neat little box, Lance gave the gang a hug each before strapping the load onto Kaltenecker.
Galloping back into the forest, Lance was assaulted from above by Keith, who had jumped on him. Falling off Kaltenecker, Lance hit the surprisingly soft ground. Keith cackled away with laughter, “You should’ve seen the look on your face!”
Shiro appeared from the shadows, smiling at the happiness of his brother; it was something he had missed. Pulling the reins, Lance followed Keith and Shiro back to the cave or rather the Den. It always seemed to be a different route everytime Lance came, as if the Den was changing its location. The forest had changed into a light sunshine yellow hue now, and the fireflies light was cherry red.
Reaching the Den, Lance was given his own room.
“Wow, how big is this place?” He asked in awe.
Shiro shrugged, “Not quite sure, they just appear.”
Dropping the load on the ground, Lance felt his bed that he’d be using for the next seven days. It wasn’t like a normal bed, more like a squishy ball of water that never burst out. It was very comfortable though. The room had nothing else except for the bed however, it did have a mirror.
“Like the room?” Keith leaned his shoulder against the entrance of Lance’s room. Lance smiled cheekily, “What? You wanna share it?”
Keith took a step back, flustered and surprised.
“Oh shut up,” he replied.
Lance sprang up from his bed and swaggered towards Keith, “Well, you’ll be seeing me for the next seven nights, so you’re going to have to get used to it.”
He winked flirtatiously, making Keith even redder.
Oh God, He thought, How am I going to get used to this guy.
This spikey hair, and tanned skin. Not to mention those gorgeous blue eyes.
Stop it brain.
Do I...like him?
Seriously though, do you guys want to see their outfits?
Also when, "Pidge raised a skeptical eyebrow whilst Hunk gave the most suspicious look ever." Hunks face looked something like the Not Sure If Meme
Chapter 11: LOTOR'S DESIGN
I'll be posting chapters like these to show their outfits!
I hope you like them, I worked hard on this guy.
So behold, the design of Lotor in Wolf Hunt!
Please tell me if you'd actually like to see more :)
Chapter 12: Stars
“Are you alright? You were screaming.”
Lance stared at Keith, stunned.
“Stars..,” Lance murmured.
"Like the room?” Keith leaned his shoulder against the entrance of Lance’s room.
Lance smiled cheekily, “What? You wanna share it?”
Keith took a step back, flustered and surprised.
“Oh shut up,” he replied.
Lance sprang up from his bed and swaggered towards Keith, “Well, you’ll be seeing me for the next seven nights, so you’re going to have to get used to it.”
He winked flirtatiously, making Keith even redder.
Oh God, He thought, How am I going to get used to this guy.
His eyes were fixed on the target before him. His fangs as sharp as knives shined in the moonlight. He had claws that could break a mans’ skull and eyes as cold as ice. He mustered enough strength into his hind legs, ready to attack. His raven black hair had raised to make himself appear larger, and ears were lowered.
Keith sprang with all his strength from behind the bushes, before hurling himself into Lance. Headbutting the human to the ground, they tumbled down the hill with turquoise grass.
“Keith! Oof! Ow! Aaaah!” Lance screamed in terror at each bump. Keith kept turning and twisting, making the two look like a blur of oddly mixed colors.
Rolling off a little ledge on the hill made them fly high in the sky, before they dropped onto the pile of leaves abruptly.
“Uugghh,” Lance had fallen flat on his face, whereas Keith had landed on all fours. Dusting of the dirt off his fur, Keith checked to see if Lance was okay.
“Are you alright Lance? Are you hurt?” His voice was coated with worry.
Lance signaled a thumbs-up, and then letting it drop into the ground immediately.
“If that’s the case,” Keith bit his lip to hold back the laughter, but he failed miserably, “Bwahahahahahahaha! The look on YOUR FACE! Hahahaha! You were so scared, you looked as pale as the moon! God that was hilarious!”
Clutching his sides, Keith was shaking maniacally with laughter, even having to sit down to calm himself.
“Jesus, Keith,” Lance rolled over on his side, resting his face on his right arm and his left arm rested on his hip. Keith continued to laugh as Lance released an exasperated sigh. Then an idea struck him. He waited until Keith had relaxed a bit, but whenever it did seem so, Keith would cackle with laughter once more.
Finally Keith was satisfied laughing at Lance's expense, and gave Lance a smile that made his heart skip a beat. He shook his head to get rid of the image and began to act out his plan.
“Oh Keith,” he sighed remorsefully.
Keith tilted his head in puzzlement, with a look that said: Shouldn’t you be in pain?
Lance continued, “Do you really love me that much?”
“What!? No! Why would you even say that?” Keith retorted a bit too quickly. He felt his has heating up. As Keith rambled furiously, not making a bit of sense, Lance was recollecting his conversation he had with Kolivan before Keith tackled him.
The first morning had gone by and Lance had slept rather peacefully, though the morning was quite short for the wolves. It would take him a while to get used to their schedule as his morning would mean the wolves’ night. Kolivan had called Lance back to his lair.
Left, right, left, right, Lance repeated mentally, until he reached Kolivan’s lair. It was the same as it was the last time.
Kolivan had already seated himself and hearing Lance’s footsteps, he spoke, “ You took your time child.”
Lance looked at the floor embarrassed, even though Kolivan couldn’t see, Lance still felt that those eyes pierced into his soul every time.
Sitting down on the cushion without a word, he listened intently as Kolivan explained why he had asked -more like demanded- Lance to stay.
“You recall that your ancestors were all mages, correct?”
Lance was about to answer but Kolivan merely pressed on, “ I’m asking you to stay because I think that you still have the magic in you. The day your parents died was the day you were to be taught your first lesson. However, unfortunate events led to you not learning about your past at all. Even so, I have decided that I will train you to hone your skills in your magic, like your parents before you. Today, you are free to do whatever you want. That will be all, Lance. You may be excused.”
Lance couldn’t help but blurt out, “How do you know all this? How are you so calm!?”
Kolivan stared at Lance, who had gulped at his own outburst.
“After all these years of losing my vision, child, I have learnt to speak with the forest. There are many things, unimaginable things that cannot be spoken. What you see is merely a mask.”
And without further ado, Kolivan had managed to take Lance, who still had a thousand more questions, back outside.
Keith had stopped speaking, which caught Lance’s attention. He carried out with his plan, “Of course you love me, I mean, why else would you keep jumping on me? Is it animal instinct, or are you just happy to see me?”
He gave another one of those flirtatious winks which Keith despised yet liked so very much.
Huffing as he jumped up from the ground, Keith gave Lance an offended glare before exclaiming something in a foreign language angrily and walked away from Lance.
“Hey hey hey hey! I was just joking,” Lance swiftly got on his feet and chased after Keith, who had surprisingly long strides for such short legs. Grabbing a hold of his shoulder, Keith turned so quickly Lance thought he would have bitten him. Immediately retracting his hand, he laughed awkwardly as Keith had smoke pouring out of his ears.
“What?” Keith growled, pulling his ears down as a sign of irritation. Lance held his arm up as a shield as he backed a few steps away. Keith turned his head back and started to walk once more. Lance somehow felt that it was no use talking to Keith at the current moment, so he watched dejectedly as he saw the raven haired boy vanish from sight. He climbed back up the hill, trying to ignore a few stares from the other wolves. But he felt lonely, so he decided to strike up a conversation with two girls who were sitting by the tree Lance had face-planted into when he rolled down the hill with Keith.
“Helloo there, ladies,” he pointed his fingers at them in a finger gun pose, in which the girls giggled at, “Would it be alright if I sat with such beautiful angels?”
They both nodded, giggling and blushing uncontrollably. Both of them moved a few inches so Lance could sit in between them. After getting comfortable enough, Lance introduced himself as it was courtesy, although they already knew.
Lance learnt three new things that day: One, there was a girl named Luna and a girl named Silvia. Two, Shiro was really scary. Three, like, really scary...at times.
* * *
Shiro watched his little brother storm away from the human from high up in trees above the two. Lance had stated the truth, and Keith was obviously too shy to admit it. Typical Keith, Shiro sighed indulgently.
He loved his little brother, but he knew how difficult Keith could get. Ever since they were pups, Keith would always be the rebellious wolf of the pack. Sometimes, he’d disappear without a word for three nights in a row, and would come back full of injuries. Shiro would always defend Keith though, tend to his wounds and give him encouraging words. Shiro was the only person Keith would trust with his life, and Shiro knew that. However, ever since the McClain had reappeared after many years, Shiro felt that he wasn’t the only one Keith truly loved anymore. Strictly speaking, their relationship was still quite rough, but with a little polishing, it’d be wondrous.
He noticed that the two below him had disappeared. Seeing that the coast was clear, he jumped off of the branch he had been clutching on to earlier. Landing on all fours, he realized that after their fight, Lance had decided to drop by on Silvia and Luna. He didn’t quite like the sound of that. Oh no siree.
You do not just flirt with my brother and then move on to other girls.
He ran up the hill at lightning speed, almost as though he teleported beside the human.
“Woah! Shiro,” Lance said in surprise. He looked to both sides and noticed that Silvia and Luna had vanished at the sudden appearance of Shiro.
Shiro gave a deathly sweet smile as he said, “I see that you and Keith had a little argument.”
He clasped his hands together, releasing an intimidating aura. Lance pressed his back against the tree trunk without thinking about it, feeling a chill down his spine.
Shiro realized how Lance was feeling and then felt slightly sheepish.
“Er, sorry about that Lance,” he said in an apologetic tone, rubbing the back of his neck awkwardly and standing even more awkwardly, “I shouldn’t have scared you.”
Lance relaxed a bit, and gestured Shiro to sit beside him. He was a little bewildered at the kind action as he sat next to the tanned boy.
Without thinking, he said, “ I saw both of you quarreling. Keith tends to overreact when it comes to sensitive topics, so don’t mind him.”
Lance tilted his head in confusion, “You were spying on us the whole time?”
“Uh, I suppose when you put that way it does sound strange. I was merely passing by at that time.”
Sighing as he slid down to the grass, Lance covered his face with his scarf as he complained to Shiro, already getting used to him, “ It was a joke, I just wanted to get back at him for attacking me!”
Shiro gave a small chuckle, “Keith’s never had a friend his own age before, and for wolves, it’s in the nature of a youngling to have the urge to play.”
Peeking out from an opening of his scarf, Lance raised a questionable eyebrow, “I highly doubt that.”
Shiro offered a sympathetic look to Lance, “Don’t worry, he just needs some time to calm down a bit.”
Lance didn’t see Keith until it was time for dinner, which was at sunrise. HE had spent the day redecorating and going on a tour of the wolves territory thanks to Shiro. It was all very interesting and Lance now knew where the bathroom was.
Lance was visibly tired and Shiro knew that it was difficult for him to stay awake, and told him to go rest.
“I’ll bring your food to your room,” he smiled reassuringly.
“Thanks Shiro,” Lance mumbled sleepily as he watched the rest of the wolves gather round. They were leaving to eat their dinner nearby a sacred pond that Shiro said looked different to each person. Lance walked the opposite direction and headed to the Den. Going through zig zags and up-downs which would be something Lance had to get used to. Finally reaching his room, which he had decorated the same day with his little nick-knacks he had brought from home. Pidge and Hunk strictly forbid him too, but he brought them anyway. Dropping onto his odd bed with the remaining energy he had left, Lance groaned groggily and fell asleep.
“Lance! Lance!” Pidge yelled out in the midst of the snowstorm. Lance paid no heed to their desperate cries. Hunk grabbed him by the hood of his fur coat, covering his eyes with his hand to protect them from the harsh snow.
“Lance, we have to wait for Pidge!” He shouted on top of the howling wind.
His voice cried in vain, for Lance did not bother to slow down. Lance continued to trudge across the deep, cold snow. He no longer felt Hunk’s hand on his hood.
Lance kept walking. That Strigoi wasn’t going to get away with Allura. Not on his watch.
Suddenly, Lance fell into a dark abyss, it didn’t feel like he was falling. Everything was black and there were voices. Pidge’s, Hunk’s, Allura’s, Coran’s, even Lotor’s
“You left us!” Pidge screamed.
“I thought of you like a brother but I guess I was wrong,” Hunk said in a voice full of disappointment.
“You’re never going to be a sharpshooter. You can’t even pass for a decent hunter,” Allura yelled in disgust.
“I always wonder why good men like Alfor die, but useless boys like you survive,” Coran spoke with words coated in malice.
“I pitied you, Lance. Why else would I speak to such a pathetic soul?” Lotor sneered.
Lance buried his head in his hands, nearly digging his nails into his skull.
Hot tears burned down his face like acid.
“No, no, no, no, no. No! NO!” Lance’s whispers turned into shouts of terror.
Then there was a bright light. It was warm and welcoming, and Lance realized he was no longer falling into the darkness. Slowly, he looked up from the sad crouched position he sat in. There was a silhouette. A silhouette of a small child.
Correction. A small wolf child.
“...Lance, I promise.”
It was a tiny whisper. He barely even heard it.
“Lance… I promise...,” the voice whispered again.
“Lance! Wake up!”
Lance’s eyes shot wide open and he fell off of his oddly shaped bed with a painful thud. He was drenched in cold sweat, and he felt icky all over. Keith hovered above him with a worried look.
“Are you alright? You were screaming.”
Lance stared at Keith, stunned.
“Stars..,” Lance murmured.
Keith’s ears perked up, and the food he held in his hands was set aside on the ground. Lance ran his fingers through his hair and started laughing.
Now Keith was really starting to get worried. He wanted to say something but he kept quiet until Lance looked more ‘stable’.
Keith had been arriving with the food that was to be sent for Lance’s dinner.
He’s tired Keith. Shiro had said.
But why should I go? Keith had complained. He still felt embarrassed after the little scene he made.
I think he’ll be happy to see you. Shiro chuckled as he left to speak to Thace.
Keith grumbled all the way up the hill, gripping onto the food with force. Then he heard Lance. He was screaming. He quickened his pace, but made sure the food never dropped. Upon reaching Lance’s room, he saw that the chocolate brown haired boy was asleep. But he was thrashing his long limbs around in a frantic frenzy, repeating the word ‘no’ over and over again like a mad man.
“Lance!” Keith had yelled in order to wake him up. He couldn’t come near because Lance was moving much too fast.
After calling ‘Lance’ for the fifth time, the human finally woke up. Keith’s heart faltered a little seeing such fear and distress upon the tanned boy’s face.
When he asked Lance if he was feeling well, Lance had replied with, “Stars.”
“What are you saying, Lance?” Keith asked, furrowing his eyebrows.
“You promised me you’d help me catch a star,” Lance smiled up at Keith with tears of joy pouring down his cheeks.
Chapter 13: //authors note
Hello there! I am incredibly sorry for my lack of updates, however, the next chapter will be out soon! Please do be patient and don't lose hope on me! I'm make up for it with a really lengthy chapter about the following days spent with Lance and Keith. There'll be more development between the two and short back stories for Hunk and Pidge. After I finish this story, I'll post the character designs for all of them, so until then, have faith!