Chapter 4

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Chapter Dedicated to: Tigglezy

The dogs were crossing rugged terrain, mountains and rivers, all within the first day. Tanner knew that this job, of leading the pack, would be difficult.
"Slow to a halt, at this ridge up here. We'll rest here for the night." Tanner called to the pack. All the dogs, trained from birth to handle these conditions, sat there panting.
Alpha stood before the group and called an evening meeting. "We will do this every night." Alpha beckoned for the leaders of each rank to come and sit by him. "Talk amongst each other, while we discuss a few issues." Alpha and the others turned to the dogs next to him. The little group, consisting of Tanner, Aiden, Alana, and Paxton, the leaders.
"How shall we find food?" Aiden said, as the dogs were just settling, a distance away from the pack.
"We could set up hunting parties, take the patrol dogs. there is no need for patrol out here."
"But Alpha, who will make sure there is no danger around our camps?" Paxton nodded toward the pack.
"Soldiers could do it. I can assign two dogs at a time, to guard the edges of the camp, while the rest sleeps." Alana barked, proudly.
"How will the guards get rest?" Paxton nodded in.
"We will rotate. There are six dogs, of we rotate in as groups of two, then each dog will get enough rest."
"It is settled, soldiers will guard, and patrols will hunt." Alpha barked.
"Alpha, many patrols don't have the hunting experience." Tanner brought up, "Should we put one patrol dog to every hunter, then the hunters could train the patrol dogs more easily." All the dogs yipped in agreement.
"Yes, I do believe that would help. Let's make our way back to the pack, so we can finish the meeting there." Alpha ended.
The dogs trotted back to the group and gathered the pack into their assigned ranks.
"This is our first order of business." Beta's voice rang over the pack. "Tanner, tell them about the hunting plans.
Tanner cleared his throat, "We need food. Tonight we will assign all the patrol dogs to a hunter. One patrol to every one hunter. Over the next three days you should be trained well enough by then on hunting." Tanner looked toward Alana,
"Soldiers," she spoke up, "you will guard the pack at night, in groups of two. We will rotate three times. Each group guards for 3 hours. We will sleep the usual 9 hours. You must be strong, each of my soldiers will be getting 3 hours less of sleep. You can do it, I know, but it will be difficult." Alana looked to Alpha.
Alpha stood up a little taller, "Pack. Pack of the Northern Winds. We need to get as far as possible from the wolf pack as possible. We have one of them, making them want us even more. Taking on this threat is a difficult choice. Running from them does not make us weak. We will encounter other threats I understand that, but this one was just too much to fight off with force. We shall travel from the moment everyone is awake, until the moment when we find a temporary shelter for the night." Alpha paused, looking around the pack and pacing a few steps to the left. "We will not stop traveling, until we find a perfect permanent shelter. Soldiers you may go and rest while the hunters are out." He nodded, "Alana, go prepare your team." Alana trotted through the soldiers and beckoned them to follow. They conjoined at the cliffs edge, under an overhanging rock. They all curled up together and drifted to sleep as one.
Tanner led the hunters and patrols to the other edge of the temporary space, along the tree-line. "Hunters group to the right, patrols to the left." As the dogs gathered, Tanner started to split them up, "I will group you all into three groups. In these groups will be four dogs. Please step up when I call your name." Tanner looked around to all the dogs before him, "Demarco, I'm pairing you with Kodiak. Dallin and Caldyn, you will join them. Next will be Ava, you'll be partnered with Drayden, joining you will be Camille and Paxton. Aiden and Mace will be with Shiloh and I. Hunters it is your job to watch out for your partners, and teach them all they need to know. Get into your groups and move out. Meet back here in exactly 2 hours."
All the dogs trotted to their groups. Aiden and Mace made their way over to Tanner, with Shiloh happily trotting behind them.
"May I please say something, before we leave?" Shiloh's little voice sounded, his tongue lolling out of his mouth happily.
"What is it, Champ?" Tanner said, leaning down to Shiloh.
"Ever since I've been an actual member of the pack, other dogs still don't treat me like it. But now, now that I'm about to learn to hunt, with my dad's third in command leading me, it makes my insides fluttery because I'm not used to being recognized. And the fact that you even said my name is such an honor." Shiloh jumped up and licked Tanner on the cheek. Tanner bent down and play tackled the puppy, licking him all over. Shiloh giggled loudly.
"Ahem." The voice of Toshima interrupted the two, at play. "Alpha is allowing me to hunt, but I have to be in your group, and I'm not allowed to get in the way. I know how to hunt, so I could be a demonstration dummy, if it is your will." Toshima stood tall and sat before the group.
"You really don't understand the role of omega do you, Omega." Aiden growled at Toshima, reminding her to cringe.
"I am of a proud lineage. No matter how low in the ranks I stand, I would rather die then cringe to anyone." She glared at Aiden.
"Now now. I accept the will of Alpha, you may join the group, mother. Let's all move out."
"I'm ready to learn." Shiloh howled, happily.
The group of 5 dogs made their way to the East. They stopped after about 10 minutes into their run.
"I can smell that there is quite a bit of prey around this area. We'll start here."
After about 2 hours, Tanner had caught three rabbits, Shiloh caught one mole, Toshima had caught one weasel and a rabbit, Mace caught a dove, and Aiden caught two moles and a bird. They all started heading back when Toshima stopped dead in her tracks.
"What's wrong, Toshima?" Shiloh barked, notifying the others.
Toshima stood there, she looked down at her legs which were shaking.
"Mother, what is the problem." Tanner rushed to her.
She doubled over, throwing up on the ground in front of her. She yelped and fell to the ground, squirming slightly. The dogs were surrounding her as she twitched, whining from pain.
"Get her up. Put her on my back, I'm going to carry her back, hurry." Tanner was frantically ordering the other dogs. Mace and Aiden gently lifted Toshima onto Tanners withers. Immediately after they started to run as fast as they could toward the camp. They arrived in less than five minutes.
"Omega is hurt!" Shiloh shouted as loud as possible, waking the soldiers and startling Beta and Alpha, who were resting near the overhang.
"What happened?" Alana was there in less than a second. helping Toshima off of Tanner and to her feet. Toshima was still a little fuzzy eyed but she looked to e recovering.
"She just stopped, nobody saw what happened." Mace blurted.
"Toshima, are you alright, what happened?" Tanner was at her side supporting her from falling.
"I'm fine, I'm fine. Just let me rest." Toshima mumbled. Tanner and the frantic Alana helped Toshima to the shelter, Beta following close behind, and allowed her to lay down.
"There get some rest and we'll discuss this tomorrow." within a minute Toshima was fast asleep, laying on her side. Beta was watching her as she kept kicking toward her stomach. Beta cocked her head and looked toward the belly of Toshima in wonderment.
"What happened to her? Did anybody see?" She turned around to look toward the others who were gathered around. The other hunters were starting to get back with their game locked tight in their jaws, but dropping them into multiple piles when they noticed the commotion.
"Nobody saw, your son was the first to notice her unusual behaviour." Aiden spoke up.
"When I looked back she was just standing there trembling." Shiloh barked over the crowd of dogs.
"Interesting." Beta murmured, looking back toward Toshima. Her gaze drifted slowly to Toshima's stomach, again. "Everyone, leave Toshima alone. She needs rest." Beta trotted away, a smiling.

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