"There just aren't enough resources!" Lucien announces to the crowd, the silence was filled with the buzz from the cicadas.
"The humans betrayed our ancestors long ago. They promised to cease exterminating our forests, our precious oak trees yet they continue to do so. They hung out grounds and take our food. No matter how much we fight them, we are the ones who end up defeated. Asher's pack attacked us out of desperation but this does not condone what they did. They were no friends to is. This has been a long time coming but we must leave."
The crowd collective gasps from the crowd and murmurs among each other afterward.
Celine holds her mate's hand, and adds pressure for comfort.
"But what of our dead?! They just buried my mate last night!" a hurt and angered woman shouts.
"We will have to leave them," Lucien responds sadly.
"Their spirits are with our ancestors in the moon. We will all die if we don't move soon."
The woman falls to her knees and sobs while others beside her hold her.
As much as Lucien is keeping a strong look, Celine knew it would be hard for him to say goodbye to Sylvie's grave.
From what Lucien had told her and her littermates about Slyvie, she was a kind woman who helped the pack in anyway she could. She remembers him having his eyes filled with distance and love as he talked about her. Lucien allowed her to converse with other packs and make treaties and agreements.
Packs long gone either wiped out or ran off by humans.
Slyvie died after her fourth name day and from all that Lucien described about her, all she could remember was her beautiful singing voice. Her voice was said to put people to tears with her songs. Thousands of years ago when she was scared, Sylvie would sing to her and when she and her littermates were restless, she would sing them lullabies to put them to sleep.She was said to have died of sickness. Months before her death, she was reported to have been hearing voices, telling her to do strange things. It was not unheard of to have this sickness from what Lucy has told her. When all the packs used to be one, a leader called Aemon suffered and died from madness. Celine wishes that she could miss her, but she never truly knew her.
"We will not be leaving now, but soon. I have already chosen who I want to scout possible places for us."
He locks eyes with a person in the crowd.
The boy appears ecstatic as he punched the air with glee. His Amber eyes were filled with mischief.
The girl looks up at their leader with astonishment and wonder.
The girl stares at Lucien with determination. Celine is utterly confused by this. Heather had just lost a mate and was hurt in the fight. She needed time to heal and mourn. Why was she going?
The boy appeared apathetic as he folded his arms. Guilt quickly builds up inside her. She had not talked to Ares after his fight with Edmund. Ares was not even in her worries after last night's battle. Ares had not been on her mind for a while. Edmund was not even looking his way. The boys were not even looking at each other and she could feel the tension. She hopes this journey will help them converse with one another.
Celine's heart rate speeds up when Lucien looks to her.
"Celine and Edmund. You are all going on this crucial mission for me. Make sure to pack and meet me by sunfall."
She and Edmund lock eyes.
"Lucien wants to do more breeding with me, I'll see you later," he promises.
Celine bobs her head and they unclasp their hands.
She went straight for Heather who appears to be standing in thought.
"Are you alright?" Celine asks as she hooks arms with her.
Heather flinched in alarm then relaxes when she realizes who it is.
"I'm fine, this mission will help me keep my mind off of..."
"But you're hurt!"
Heather shakes her head and points to the scratches.
"The bleeding stopped. Perhaps the ancestors want me to go on this mission, I don't want my fighting to go to waste because I'm moping around."
Heather gives her a forced smile.
"Are you sure?"
Heather gives her a nod before tucking a curl behind Celine's ear.
"Besides we have you protect us."
Before Celine could protest, Heather unwraps their arms and lightly pats her on the back.
"I have to get ready and so do you."
Heather pads to her cabin and Celine watches her with worry until she is out of sight.
"You can never have enough catnip!" Lucy chirps as she helps Celine pack.
"You don't need to carry much blackberries because those are the ones that go bad first. There are plenty of those around the forest. The same goes for dandelions, they don't go bad but they're not a crucial plant go pack. You can never have enough garlic and ginger."
Lucy closes the sack tightly and hands it to Celine.
"When you shift, make sure the bag is completely closed or else your supplies will be falling out.
Lucy gives her apprentice a serious look.
"If you fail to remember anything that I have taught you, save who you are able to save."
Celine takes the bag and gulls nervously. Before she realizes what she is doing, Celine is embracing her mentor. Lucy returns the hug with equal fierceness her chest is soaked with her apprentice's sobs.
Lucy lightly ruffles Celine's curly locks.
"It's okay to be scared, I did not know everything at your age. I did all I could to prepare you for this."
"But what if it's not enough??"
"You have to believe Celine, the ancestors are on your side. They will guide you on this journey as thru have guided you through many experiences."
Lucy caresses her cheek with her thumb.
"Make sure to pray to them at the oak tree before you leave. It will make you feel better."
Celine hopes her words ring true.