Chapter 9

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"We will leave early tomorrow and cover as much ground as possible." Alpha addresses the pack, "The bountiful meal brought buy our hunters will help us. The little food we will find will first go to Toshima, then Shiloh, then the females, then the males. We will move as a pack. Leave nobody more than a bark away, and stray no farther than that. That plain is unpredictable. It could be a frozen lake. Frozen lakes have weaknesses. Stick together." The dogs listen as Alpha continued his speech. The large harvest resting in their tummies from the doe the hunters brought down. "Does anyone have any objections or ideas?"
"Would there be another way around the plain? A safer way maybe." Caldyn questions.
"No. We must cross. It is far to wide to travel around." Tanner answers her.
"Tanner is right. We must cross." Toshima assures, "Everyone will be safe if we stick together and be brave."
"That is why we must all stick together. If someone goes to hunt, the pack goes to hunt." Alpha announces.
"Alpha?" Shiloh speaks politely, "What formation will we run with?"
"That is a good question, son. Does anyone have ideas on a formation?" Alpha speaks.
"We could run with the faster females leading." Alana smiles.
"That is actually a good idea." Tanner stands up, "What if the fastest females were leading the pack, keeping the pace steady, then the fastest males in the back. Then we could have the slowest females in the middles and the slowest males surrounding them. The leading females can keep the pace, while the flanking males would help with the stragglers." Tanner looks to the pack. All seem to be in agreement.
"Who are the fastest females and males, though? Who are the slowest?" Drayden gives Tanner a challenging look.
"Well i know that Alana is very fast. So are Caldyn, Camille, and Tamika. They could lead." Tanner glares back at Drayden. The fastest males in the group are Alpha, Paxton, Aiden, and myself."
"Um, Tanner, sir?" Jaxi shyly speaks up, "Oswald is a former racing dog. He is very fast." Jaxi lowers her head, respectfully.
"Good then he will flank with us." Tanner winks at her, making her perk up and wag her tail. "The rest of the females with run in a group in the middle, while the remaining males run in bordering lines around them."
"Everything is settled. Now, i know that it is only dusk, but everyone get some rest. Trust me, you will need it." Alpha ordered.
Tanner was making his way to Alana when Drayden cut in front of him, forcing Tanner to stop.
"You snake." Drayden snarled, "You know that im fast, how dare you deny me my right to flank."
"I never said that you were not fast, but you are not one of the fastest." Tanner spat at Drayden.
"You're letting the new dog flank! You don't even know if he is fast, he could run like a snail." Drayden barked.
"Drayden, listen to the words coming out of your mangy mouth. Look at the dog. His legs are long and built for running. I can tell that he is faster than you by just looking at him. Oswald will do fine." Tanner tries to walk around Drayden but Drayden steps in his path once more.
"I will get you back for this. Let me flank or you might endanger the safety of the pack."
"Drayden, if you do anything stupid the weight is on you." Tanner pushed him aside with a harsh nudge of his shoulder. Walking passed the spectating Toshima.
"Tanner?" she says, "You dont think that Drayden would kill any of us, do you?"
"No. Hes to much of a coward. Go to sleep, you will need it."
Tanner goes to Alana and nuzzles up against her, fallinv asleep as his head touches the ground.
(Tanner's POV)

I wake sooner than i could've wished. The sun hasnt risen yet, and I am still tired but once i begin to move i hope the feeling will go away.
"Alpha, we should do a count, to make sure that nobody is sleeping still." i hear Beta bark.
"Good idea, make the call." he replies, walking beside her.
"All dogs get into your assigned groups for a head count." she announces.
I go to the group of hunters and wait.
"A patrol dog is missing." Beta announces. The dogs look around the darkness. Everyone is quiet.
I run the names of the patrol dogs through my head.
A long slow howl is heard in the distance. One that could only be executed by a wolf. I stand alert, the pack looking at me. I know exactly who the missing dog is.

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