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WARNING: This story will contain DEATH, BLOOD, and a mild amount of GORE. If you don't like that kind of story, or you get upset easily, I suggest you DO NOT read this
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Welcome....

This story is for Coda, my grandparents departed dog.

Hello, reader.

This story is about Snow, a dog who lives in The Pack of Fallen Stars.

Ranks (ALL RANKS ARE CLOSED)

Alpha: The leader of the pack, he or she is the one that gets the most food at meals, and is to be treated with great respect

Beta: The deputy of the pack, always by his or her Alpha's side, occasionally a temporary leader

Healer: A very gentle dog, heals the pack when they are injured or sick

Trainers: They are Hunters, but temporarily are given the duty to train a Trainee for a certain amount of time

Assassins: One of the quietest in the pack, they are ordered by the Alpha or the Beta to secretly kill enemies

Spies: The sneakiest, their rank is to spy on the pack's enemies, and sometimes friends

Hunters: Most of the pack is in this rank, they hunt for the pack, and are respected greatly

Patrol Dogs: One or more joins a group of Hunters for hunting, they help hunt, but mostly scout the area for dangers

Trainees: The young, training dogs of the pack.

Elders: The eldest of the dogs, they have seen many battles, and pups enjoy hearing their stories

Queens: Nursing or expecting females, they will protect their pups with their life, so don't mess with them

Pups: The youngest of the pack, and according to some dogs, mean nothing until they are Trainees

Omega: The lowest of the pack, not treated with no respect anymore, but always the last to get fed

Prologue

"Pebble, she's beautiful! And look at her brother!" A large Doberman Pinscher said in amazement.

A gray Husky smiled up at her mate.

"Yes Riptide, they are." Pebble growled affectionally, licking her mate's nose. The couple smiled down at the two little balls of fur that were suckling, gripping on to Pebble for all they were worth. Suddenly, a beautiful Cocker Spaniel burst into the den.

"The Pack of Blood and War! They're here!" the new dog barked, looking panicked.

"Are you sure, Snapper?" Pebble gasped, poking her head out of the den. She withdrew suddenly, and Snapper had no need to answer. Riptide and Snapper hurtled out into the cold night air, barking a warning. Pebble stood at the entrance to the den, snarling at any Blood Dog that tried to attack. Suddenly, a giant dog leaped at Pebble. She was crushed, but soon wriggled out and nipped at the dog's hind legs. Pebble's opponent growled, but it was more with cold amusement than pain.

"You get away from Pebble! She's my sister!" A gray dog barked, biting down hard on the big dog's back. The dog laughed, then rolled over. Pebble's brother was quicker though, he ran out of the way, then delivered the killing blow. The Blood Dog collapsed, dead.

"We did-" Pebble's brother was cut short as a German Shepherd bit down on his neck, then disappeared into the battle.

Time seemed to stand still. Pebble rushed forward, but it was to late. Her brother's eyes were dulling over, his breathing was ragged with pain.

"Stone."

Pebble sobbed, cradling her brother's head.

"It's okay Pebble. Don't cry. We defeated the big dog, didn't we?" Stone said softly. "Just look at me before I die."

Pebble met his eyes, one last time, before Stone's head fell back, and his breathing stopped altogether. Pebble howled with anger and pain, a voice that was heard both by her pack, and the Pack of Blood and War. Both sides looked around nervously. The tension was broken when Pebble leapt into the battle, her frost colored irises blazing with revenge. Just as she thought her pack was winning, she noticed an Akita dog creeping off into the woods with two bundles of fur.

The pups.

Pebble rushed over to the dog, planning to rip his throat out, but then she realized something. The puppies weren't alive.

Pebble collapsed, not noticing when a large golden dog came and stood behind her, raising his right paw.

The last thing Pebble ever saw was her mate, collapsing onto the ground at the paws of an enemy dog, and Snapper, being crushed by the jaws of a Saint Bernard.

Her pack was lost.

Chapter One: Pup's Stories

"The only survivors were Creek and Pine, who ran away, never to be seen again. But secretly, they made a pack. This pack. The Pack of Fallen Stars, because the Spirit Dogs lead them here with a falling star!"

A group of pups huddled together, staring wide-eyed at an old Irish Wolfhound, named Raindrop.

"Did that all really happen?" a small white puppy squealed, bouncing around the den.

"Of course it happened! Although now the story has probably been mixed around and jumbled up after generations. What a question to ask, Fuzz!" Raindrop reproached. "Now, hustle off pups, I need to take a nap."

"B-but what if The Pack of Blood and War comes and EATS us?" a Rottweiler puppy stammered.

"Yip, do you think the Blood Dogs will just HAPPEN to wander across this jungle, make their way through all the dangers around here, and find the camp?" Raindrop said, cuffing the puppy across the muzzle.

"That story again? Raindrop, you'll give the pups nightmares!" A curly haired golden colored dog said, ducking into the den. She picked up the nearest pup, a golden colored dog like herself, and began to pick her way through all of the puppies.

"Nah, it's just history." Raindrop opposed, curling up to take a nap. The other dog, named Swift, lead the puppies outside, saying to them, "Don't worry, The Pack Of Blood And War won't come."

Fuzz, the white puppy, trailed behind them. She had heard the story of Pebble many times, and the Husky had become her hero. She had defended her pack, even when her brother was dead. Pebble had died a brave death, and Fuzz hoped she could be as wonderful as Pebble one day.

"Fuzz, come here! It's lunchtime!" A loud and amused growl came from another den, halfway across the clearing. Fuzz ran to her mother, but tripped over her own feet and came rolling to a stop at Sky's paws.

"Come here, your brother's already had some." Sky said. Fuzz ran to her mother's belly and began to suckle, savoring the warm milk.

"Are you coming Fuzz?" an annoyed voice broke into the peace.

"Beetle, give your sister a break." another voice said sternly. Two dogs came into view. One was a grown dog, a Schnauzer, and the other was a puppy. Not quite a Schnauzer, but close.

"Hi Dad! Hi Beetle!" Fuzz greeted her family. Fuzz's dad licked her muzzle, then turned to Sky.

"Beta says I'm being promoted."

Sky gasped. "That's great news, Bandit! What are you being promoted to? You're already a Hunter..."

"Spy!" Bandit answered.

Fuzz growled in happiness. Her father had been working up to Spy for moons now! He loved being a Hunter, but he was the sneakiest dog in the pack, and behind the pack's back, Sky had been saying Alpha must be blind to let him go unnoticed. Fuzz shivered. Alpha was a kind dog, but a scary one at times, especially to traitors and dogs who were disloyal.

"A Spy! You've worked so hard for this, dear!" Sky said happily, nuzzling her mate. Beetle made a gagging motion to Fuzz behind their parent's backs. Fuzz giggled. Her brother was her best friend, besides Yip, another of the pups. Sky turned at the sound of her pup's laughter.

"Don't laugh. You're father has worked very hard for this!" she chided, cuffing both Fuzz and Beetle on their ears. Her pups rolled over from the impact, and still giggling, ran outside.

"Dad'll get to have food sooner now, which means WE get to eat more!" Beetle crowed happily, running around on his little legs.

"You already eat too much!" Fuzz teased. Her brother laughed.

"I'm growing!" He protested, tackling Fuzz. Fuzz growled and leapt out of the way. The pair began a mini spar, nipping each other and rolling all around the clearing. Until suddenly, they rolled to the feet of a massive Saint Bernard. The dog growled in surprise, then laughed.

"Just when I thought I would have a peaceful afternoon. Hello, younguns, how are you kids today?" he asked.

"We're fine, Branch. And we're sorry we bumped in to you. It was an accident." Fuzz said, bowing down in respect.

"Oh don't worry about it. A Healer must always be kind to everyone. I'm not allowed to be mad at you." Branch said.

"You're never mad. It's not because of Healer's rules. It's because you're too nice to be angry." Beetle stated, curling up at Branch's paws.

"You're right about that, Beetle. I can't get mad at any of you pups. You're too darn cute." the Healer replied as Fuzz climbed onto his back, pulling at his fur.

"Tell us a story!" Fuzz begged settling herself. It was her favorite time of day. The sun had started to disappear, and almost always, there was a dog eager to tell them a story.

"Okay okay. So one day there was this pack, and the pack had a problem..."


*******************

"The foxes attacked! They tried to grab Lightning, but the sly dog was to quick for them. 'The Spirit Dogs are helping us! Lightning has come to save the day!' the pack howled. But the Earth Dog was jealous. She didn't want Lightning to be the center of attention, so she made him fall on one of her stones. His paw was hurt badly. Then Earth Dog leapt! She destroyed the foxes with a single swipe, and they fell like prey. There were no survivors. The pack was amazed. But the other Spirit Dogs decided that the Earth Dog had to be punished. They turned the foxes into stones, and Earth Dog thought it was a gift to her. But when she came close to it, Lightning sped down and broke the rocks into a thousand pieces. The pieces scattered, and became the first slate, a kind of rock."

Branch finished his story and stood up. Fuzz tumbled off him.

"Sorry! Didn't mean to. Forgot you were there." Branch apologized. "Did you like the story?"

"It was wonderful! I loved the part when Lightning agreed to help the pack." Beetle said, helping Fuzz to her feet.

"Yeah, I liked that part too." Fuzz agreed. She looked at Branch. "Thank you for the story, I really enjoyed it."

"You're welcome, now run along to Sky, it's getting quite dark."

~Dogs Introduced in Chapter One~
  • Raindrop
  • Fuzz
  • Yip
  • Sky
  • Beetle
  • Bandit
  • Branch
  • Swift

Raindrop - An Irish Wolfhound female (Elder)

Fuzz - A female Havanese and Schnauzer mix (Pup)

Yip - A male Rottweiler (Pup)

Swift - A female Goldendoodle (Patrol Dog)

Sky - A female Havanese (Hunter)

Beetle - A male Havanese and Schnauzer mix puppy (Pup)

Bandit - A male Schnauzer (Spy)

Branch - A male Saint Bernard (Healer)

Chapter Two: A Nightmare Come True

"Ziggy, for the Earth-Dog's sake! Don't pour mud on your sister! Zaggy just groomed herself!" Willow yelled.

Fuzz blinked awake. She was lying next to Beetle, curled up like a moss ball in his sleep. She looked at her surroundings. She was in the nursery, but there seemed to be a commotion outside. Fuzz eased herself out of the nest and wandered outside. Ziggy, one of the Trainees, was being scolded by his mentor, Coda.

"Hi Fuzz!" a voice greeted her.

Fuzz glanced back at the sound of the voice. "Hi Zaggy! How's it going?"

The young Australian Shepherd smiled. "Fine, do you know where Tangled is? I need to train, and I haven't seen him anywhere."

"Nope, I just woke up. Ask Zoe, she'll probably know, she's his mate after all." the puppy answered, continuing on her way.

"Okay, thanks!" Zaggy ran off to talk to Zoe, one of the Hunters of the camp. Fuzz walked over to the Spy's den, where her father slept. She knew no one was in there, so she wouldn't get caught. She snuck in quietly, through a small crevice in the stone wall, and popped inside. She crept to her father's nest, and left a small mouse for him when he came back from well...whatever he was doing. Fuzz was happy for him, but he was gone so much, now that he was a Spy. The last time she actually had a conversation with more than two sentences, it was when he had discovered he was a Spy which was...A moon ago. Fuzz started to cry, but held back her tears, sneaking back into the Nursery without anyone seeing her.

*******************

"Hello, my little rabbits."

Fuzz turned around. Sky was standing in the entrance to the den.

"Hi Mama! Did you get a mouse? Or a vole?" Beetle said, looking up to the sound of Sky's voice.

"No my dears, no food. None left for us at least. The Patrol Dogs, the Elders, and the Trainees didn't get anything."

"But Mama, you're a Hunter!" Fuzz protested.

"I am, but one of the lowest Hunters. But don't worry, your father will bring us food, he always does. And besides, the prey will be better tomorrow." Sky replied, not meeting her pup's gaze. She stared out at the sinking sun. "And besides, we didn't hunt much today."

"Why Mama? Isn't food important?" Beetle asked, tilting his head in confusion.

"Tangled has gone missing. We spent most of the day trying to find him." Sky said after a moment's hesitation.

Beetle gasped. Fuzz felt like part of her world had fallen apart. Tangled, one of the fiercest fighters in the pack, missing. You may as well say you weren't able to catch a dead bird. Suddenly, a voice rang out in the clearing.

"So, you come with Tangled?"

Sky, Fuzz, and Beetle raced outside. Sure enough, Tangled was standing in the middle of the clearing, flanked by five big, strong, mean looking dogs. Alpha was trying to stare the intruders down, but they held their stance, meeting Alpha's gaze with a challenge in their eyes.

"Yes, and we want an exchange. Some herbs from you, and you get Tangled back. If not, the Earth Dog will have your bodies today." The biggest dog growled calmly.

"Ha! I have a pack, and you a have five dogs! Beat us? I don't think so. You're most likely a small band of Lone-Dogs that came across this jungle." Alpha snarled, her eyes staring furiously at the Dognappers.

"Ah, there you are wrong, my dear. We are a pack." the bad Alpha said.

"Nonsense. No pack has ever survived to come here. We haven't seen another pack since Creek and Pine found this place." Alpha scoffed, looking down at the intruders.

"Wrong again, you see, no pack has ever made it here because they are weak. I'll admit I lost a few dogs coming here, but we are the strongest pack on earth."

"Really? What are you called? We are The Pack of Fallen Stars." Alpha asked, flicking her tail.

"Wonderful to meet you." the other dog said, a cruel smile playing at his lips. "We are The Pack of Blood and War."

~Dogs Introduced in Chapter Two~
  • Zaggy
  • Ziggy
  • Willow
  • Zoe
  • Tangled
  • Bubble
  • Alpha

Ziggy - A male Australian Shepherd (Trainee)

Willow - A female Sheltie and Border Collie (Trainer)

Zaggy - A female Australian Shepherd (Trainee)

Zoe - A female Boxer and German Shepherd mix (Patrol Dog)

Tangled - A male Great Dane and Pitbull (Hunter)

Bubble - A male Pug and Black Lab mix, something wrong with her back legs (Patrol Dog)

Alpha - A female Red Heeler and Doberman mix (Real name: Dusk)

Chapter Three: Friend or Foe?

Fuzz felt like a rock was crushing her. The Pack of Blood and War. The pack she thought she would only hear about in stories, right in front of her. Fuzz did the thing most of the other Pups thought of doing too. They ran into the nursery and hid under blankets of moss. Beetle huddled next to Fuzz, his breathing quick and shallow. They listened to the sound of Alpha and Beta talking to the other pack, though they couldn't hear distinct words. Finally, however scared Fuzz was, she fell asleep to the sound of an owl hooting in the woods.

******************

"Fuzz, wake up. Your mother's busy, I was sent to wake you." a voice broke into Fuzz's nightmare.

The puppy sat up, and Beta stepped back, making her way towards the entrance to the den.

"Beta, I have a question." Fuzz said, standing up and stretching sleep out of her limbs.

"One question, then I have work to do. I have better things to do than wake up pups." Beta growled, but Fuzz knew Beta wasn't going to hurt her. She was a loyal member of the pack.

"What's gonna happen to the Pack of Blood and War?"

Beta let that question hang in the air for a second, then answered. "They have made their home just outside of the forest, but they have also claimed Squirrel Tree, where we hunted squirrels."

Fuzz nodded. "And Tangled?"

"We gave them the herbs, and Tangled is back with us. We drove a hard bargain though, so we also got to keep Owl Tree and Deer Stream." Beta replied. "Now I'm leaving. That was two questions!"

Beta marched out of the Nursery, yelling at Ziggy as she did so. "Ziggy, you have one more chance before punishment! You will not sneak a dead snake into Harley's nest!"

Fuzz sighed, then scampered out of her nest. As she headed outside, a voice stopped her.

"Fuzz, is Beetle awake yet?"

Fuzz turned. Tiny, one of the Pups, was sitting in his nest quietly.

"I think he's outside, he wasn't in the nest." Fuzz answered, continuing out. "I'll check with my Mom."

When the puppy stepped outside into the warm sunshine, she was surprised to see a Blood Dog sitting next to Alpha and Beta, conversing quietly. Fuzz crept closer to hear, brining a moss ball with her so she could appear innocent.

"So Blood Dog, tell us of your rules." Alpha said, shooting Beta a warning glance to keep her from attacking the Blood Dog.

"Very well. I'm the highest rank, I'm called King, as that's my real name. We don't change our name to Alpha when we are given the chance to rule. My Beta is Death, then I have my Spies, my Assassins, my Hunters, my Patrol Dogs, my Pups, and my Weaklings." King finished his sentence with a growl. "The Weaklings are like Omegas, but there's more than one. We also have a Healer, but he counts as a Hunter as well."

Alpha nodded to King, than stood up. "Well, you better hurry back to your territory, most of my pack doesn't trust you."

King nodded, then started to leave. "Thank you for your hospitality. And by the way, don't believe those pup stories. They don't always have the true facts." he exited camp, and his bushy tail was the last Fuzz ever saw of him for a long time....

~Dogs Introduced in Chapter Three~
  • Beta
  • Tiny
  • Harley
  • King

Beta - A female Pitbull (Real name: Natty)

Tiny - A male Saint Bernard and Great Dane mix (Pup)

Harley - A female Saint Bernard and Great Dane mix (Trainer)

King - A male Chinese Wolf and German Shepherd mix (Blood Dog Alpha)

Chapter Four: Trainees

"Beetle, Fuzz, you are now Trainees, when you are done, you shall be Patrol Dogs, until your worth suggests otherwise." Alpha's voice rang out among the clearing, a deep, calm tone that the pack knew so well.

Fuzz could barely stop herself from jumping up and down in excitement, though Beetle had already given up and was bouncing in place.

"Congrats!" Zaggy ran up to them. "Now we can share the same den, but watch out for my brother. He pranks everyone!"

Fuzz giggled. She knew about Ziggy's tricks, yesterday Sky had found a small group of dead worms in her nest, right where Ziggy had been paying most attention when he was cleaning out the den. And the day before that, Ash, one of the Spies, had been staring into space, when Ziggy crept up behind him and shouted; "The Pack of Blood and War is here!" Ziggy had been sentenced to Nursery cleaning, but that's how he found the worm trick.

"Well, I guess you're my Trainee." a voice said.

Fuzz spun around. It was only Spider, one of the Trainers, but he gave some dogs the creeps all the same. They didn't call him Spider for nothing. He had unusually long legs, a long snout, a skinny body, and a screechy, high voice like someone was pulling a fox through a torture machine. However, he was very respected, and one of the smartest in the pack.

"Guess what Fuzz! My Trainer is Shady! Who's your-" Beetle broke off suddenly when he saw Spider.

Fuzz held back a growl of complaint. It figured. Beetle got Shady, one of the nicest dogs ever. One of the Assassins, Nanami had been trained by her, along with Alpha.

"So, shall we go, Fuzz? I need to show you the territory." Spider said calmly, though his tail flicked with impatience.

Fuzz nodded and trailed after her Trainer, ignoring Zaggy's pitying looks and Beetle's growl of, 'Well, better you than me.'

*********************

"And that's the territory. I hope you had fun. Now go find something to do, I'm going hunting." Spider groaned sorrowfully, sounding like the fox in the torture machine had just learned that his mate died.

Fuzz nodded and walked into camp, her tail drooping.

"Hey, how's it going?" Beetle asked. He was back from training as well, and Fuzz could see he had had a very fun time.

"Fine, Spider taught me a bunch of new stuff, and we toured the territory." Fuzz answered, walking over to the Trainees Den with a mouthful of moss.

"Cool! Shady brought me all around the territory, then I practiced hunting. Personally, I want combat training more." Beetle said happily, following Fuzz.

"Ah, I hink omba tainin ill e un oo, ut I an ai o ern ow o ish, an also ow o wim." Fuzz said, her mouth full of bedding.

"Sorry, what?" Zaggy asked as she came in with her brother. Beetle looked equally confused, but Ziggy smiled.

"I know exactly what Fuzz said!" Ziggy said triumphantly. "She said that I am awesome, and so is Combat training. Correct?"

Fuzz shook her head, then spit out the moss. "What I said was, Yeah, I think Combat Training will be fun too, but I can't wait to learn how to fish, and also how to swim." she growled.

"Oh. So, no 'Ziggy is awesome!' sentence somewhere in there?" Ziggy asked, pretending to be hurt.

Zaggy shoved her brother. "Very funny. Go jump off a cliff into the lake."

Ziggy stood up. "That I will do, dear sister!" he laughed, his fluffy tail wagging. He ran out of the den and out of camp.

"Will he actually do that?" Beetle asked, sounding a bit worried. "It's nearly the end of Leaf-fall!"

Zaggy shook her head in exasperation and annoyance. "Truthfully, I have no idea, but I'll bet you half of your share of dinner that he'll come back sopping wet."

"I won't take that bet." Beetle said, sticking his head out the entrance. "Here he comes."

A couple heartbeats later, a soaking wet Ziggy stuck his head into the den. "C'mon guys! I got all the other Trainees! We're going swimming! It'll be good, you might lose some weight, sister of mine. Let's go!"

Zaggy suddenly looked furious. "Excuse me? I am NOT fat!" she looked as though her head might blow.

"Says the Trainee who 'accidentally' ate Ash's share of food when he left it out in the open." Ziggy crowed, and leapt outside, Fuzz and Beetle following him. The group of Trainees ran to Great Lake, a place they knew as 'No-dogs land' because both packs could hunt and swim there.

Ziggy jumped into the water without a moments hesitation, with Yip, Squirm, and Soft jumping in after them. Fuzz jumped in too, and Beetle followed. Finally, Zaggy came over to the Lake to see what was up, and Ziggy pulled her in. The Trainees splashed and played, and after a while, the whole pack came, some swimming, and some enjoying the final rays of sunlight before Leaf-bare hit them

This is the best pack EVER! No matter where the Blood Dogs live, we stay here. Fuzz thought to herself happily as she played with Beetle and the others.

No one noticed a Blood Dog watching them from the other side of the lake, his yellow eyes filled with satisfaction.

~Dogs Introduced in Chapter Four~
  • Spider
  • Shady
  • Namani
  • Ash
  • Squirm
  • Soft

Spider - A male Italian Greyhound* (Trainer)

Shady - A female Labradoodle (Trainer)

Nanami - A female Swedish Rough Collie (Assassin)

Ash - A male German Shepherd and Husky mix (Spy)

Squirm - A male Goldendoodle (Trainee)

Soft - A female Maltese and Poodle mix (Trainee)

NOTE: I only say Spider is ugly, not because of his breed, but because his fur is patchy, and he has a notch in his ear. His tail is short stub. Italian Greyhounds are beautiful.

Chapter Five: The New Patrol Dogs

"Zig, Zag, Rabbit, Bird, Neptune, Rust, Koda, Forest, and lastly, Snow. You are now full members of the pack." Alpha's voice rang out from the Great Stone.

Snow could hardly contain her excitement. Her brother, now Forest, was jittering up and down on the spot, and Soft and Squirm, (now Bird and Rabbit) were dancing around each other under the full moon's light. Zig and Zag, formerly Ziggy and Zaggy, had forgotten their fight about a deer leg and were sparring. Neptune, (Tiny) and Koda, (Fluff) were joining Bird and Rabbit for dancing. Yip, now Rust, was running around in circles. Only Astrix, the newest Healer, was left out. This was because he was a Healer now, which meant even though he was a new member, he wasn't allowed to hang out with the other dogs for a Quarter Moon.

"Hey, Snow! You ready to eat? It's a feast after all." Forest growled happily behind her.

Snow turned around and smiled at her brother. "You bet!"

The siblings sprinted over to the food choices with the rest of the Trainees. There was one deer, three rabbits, two squirrels, and a pigeon.

Suddenly, the group heard panting beside them.

"Hi Omega." Zig greeted the new dog. The group turned.

Omega, a small black dog with oversized ears, smiled up at them.

"Food. There is food." he said happily. The most he had ever gotten was half of a deer leg, and it had been a very scrawny deer.

"Shove off, Omega. Let the higher ranking dogs eat first." Light, a Spy growled behind them.

The small dog dipped his head. "No food for Omega, no food." he started to crawl away, growling with sadness.

Snow looked at him pitifully. "Here, have half of this rabbit." she offered, nudging a carcass over to Omega.

Dash, a Trainer and brother to Light walked over. "Light, it's a feast. Let Omega eat for once." he said, dipping his head to Omega, a symbol not out of respect, but of kindness.

"Hey um, Snow? You wanna share this deer leg?" Koda asked, coming up to sit beside Snow.

"Sure!"

The two friends ate in silence, with the occasional burp or growl of satisfaction. They finished the prey quickly, then moved aside for Storm, one of the Assassins. Snow had always been a little bit wary of Storm. She was very quiet, and almost never spoke.

"Snow, where's Zag?" Willow asked as she shoved Storm away and grabbed most of the squirrel.

"Last I saw her she was going out of camp with Branch to help collect herbs." Koda answered, dipping his head to Willow.

"Very well. When you see Zag, tell her Zig wants to talk to her."

"No need, where is my brother?" Zag came up from behind them. She smelled like Coltsfoot.

"Over with Rabbit and Forest describing how he once stole Light's share of food." Snow replied, inclining her head to where three shapes where laughing and barking with joy.

"I see. I'll bet he wants to tell me a bunch of nonsense about dead worms and snake skin." Zag said, her happy mood changing to annoyance.

Snow giggled. Koda joined in, and after a moment, Zag did too. Willow sighed, pretending to be exasperated.

"What's happening over here?"

"Dad!" Snow stood up and licked her father's muzzle. She hadn't seen him for ages, because he had been spying on The Pack of Blood and War for a half moon now, but tonight he had come home. His eyes however, had lost their gleam of mischief. Bandit's fur was matted with tree sap, and his ear had a notch in it.

"Bandit, what happened to you?" Sky gasped, coming over to greet her mate.

"I had to disguise my scent, that's all." Bandit replied, his tail twitching.

Forest came running over, his tail wagging and his eyes shining with happiness. "Dad! You came home! How was spying?"

"Fine, I didn't hear much though. I need to go talk to Alpha. Can you save a bit of food for me?" Bandit said, making his way to Alpha's den.

"I'll save you part of my squirrel!" Snow called after him, but Bandit didn't turn back.

~Dogs Introduced in Chapter Five~
  • Koda
  • Astrix
  • Light
  • Dash
  • Storm
  • Omega

Koda - A male Samoyed (Patrol Dog)

Astrix - A male Bi Blue Lakeshire Sheltie (Healer)

Omega - A male Poodle and Jack Russel mix (Real Name: Skull)

Light - A female American Cocker Spaniel (Spy)

Dash - A male American Cocker Spaniel (Trainer)

Storm - A female Siberian Husky (Assassin)

Chapter Six: Truths And Lies And Friendships Broken

"C'mon Snow! Don't you wanna play?" Forest thumped his tail on the ground hopefully.

Snow shook her head. She had been acting depressed lately, ever since she had seen her father covered in pine sap, his eyes hollow and his ribs showing. Bandit was no longer the comforting father she knew. He resided in the Spy's Den, but most of the time spent the whole night looking at the stars.

"Snow, I would love it if you came!" Koda joined in.

Forest turned around to stare at Koda. "You only? We have to talk."

Snow tilted her head. "What do you mean?" She had a feeling she knew, but decided to clarify.

"Forest thinks a have a crush on you." Koda admitted.

Snow looked at him, feeling awkward. "And... do you?"

"N-no! Of course not. He just thinks that." Koda stammered, his tail stopped wagging.

He looked terrified, so Snow dropped it. She hadn't really been thinking about males. She'd had fleeting crushes on a few when she was a Trainee, but nothing more. Why would KODA of all dogs have a crush on her? Snow decided he didn't. Luckily, Zig, Zag, and Bird ran up to them, breaking the tension.

"Snow! There you are. I was wondering, do you wanna come hunting?" Zag gasped, out of breath from running.

"Sure! Lets go!" Snow replied, and the two friends galloped off into the forest.

"Sooo....What's wrong?"

Snow stopped mid run and stared at Zag. They were deep into the forest now, and had already caught two squirrels and a rabbit.

"What, sorry?" Snow feigned confusion.

"You've been acting....depressed lately. I was wondering...Is it because of your father?"

Zag let the words hang in the air for a bit.

"Well...Yes and no." Snow replied, counting to walk. Zag followed close behind. "I'm a bit worried about him, but mostly worried about The Pack of Blood and War."

"Why?" Zag asked. "They haven't attacked or anything. They have their territory, and we have ours. We can ignore them"

"But for how long will is last? We have no idea what their planning, what their doing..." Snow trailed off, too anxious to continue.

"You're a worrying expert, you know that, right?" Zag said. "You need to relax. Eat some food, go hunting."

Snow shook her head frantically. "Relax? But we need to know what the Blood Dogs are doing!"

"Your dad and Ash are both taking turns spying. Everything is quiet." Zag looked at Snow.

"But what if the Blood Dogs are planning in secret? What if--"

Zag sighed. "Look, if it makes you happy, we can check around the border. Ash will probably be there, so we can ask how his pups are doing as well."

Snow nodded and followed Zag to the border, where they saw Ash, staring into the trees on the other side.

"How's Nanami and the pups?" Zag asked, by way of greeting.

"Good, Tickle opened his eyes today finally. Paw and Yap went outside as well." Ash answered, not turning around to look at them.

"Border all quiet?" Snow asked, glancing at the woods.

"Yep. By the way, when you get back to camp, send Light to revive me." Ash said, glancing over at them. "I've been here since Sun-High."

Snow glanced at the sky. It was getting quite dark. Ash must have been here for the whole afternoon.

"Okay, cya later." Zag dipped her head, then dragged Snow away.

Snow followed her friend back to camp, sending a word to Light about the border watches. Then she went off to visit Sky, who was in Branch's den because of White-cough. Forest was there at the moment, but Bandit was nowhere in sight.

"How's Mom doing?" Snow asked.

"Fine, she's getting much better." Forest answered, giving their mother some wet moss to drink from. Neptune poked his head in.

"Astrix, Zig wants to talk to you." The Great Dane mix said.

Astix stood up quickly. "Why?"

"Zag accidentally collided with him while they were running. He hit his head on a tree root, and he's talking about Two-legs flying over the moon eating mice." Harley said, sticking her head in as well. "Branch, I'm having these aches in my back, do you know what it is?"

The elder walked over to Branch, who was mixing a poultice.

"Sure. Astix, when you go see Zig, can you give this poultice to Beta, Dash, and Light? They were on a patrol and slipped into a thorn bush." Branch replied, checking Harley's back. "I think it's just old bones, though here's a few herbs for aching just in case." the old Healer gave Harley some herbs to eat, and sent everyone on their way.

Snow padded from the Healer's Den with Forest close by her side. The sun was almost gone, and quiet stillness had covered the camp. Snow ambled towards the Patrol Dogs den to await for the feasting time, and her belly rumbled. She hadn't eaten since yesterday, having skipped the feasting time this morning to go for a walk.

"Hi." a voice said behind her. Rust, her friend when she was a pup, was standing behind her.

"Hey." Snow replied. "What's up?"

"Why are you so sad all the time?" Rust asked, his head tilted slightly to the side.

"It's nothing." Snow replied, feeling slightly annoyed. It seemed like every dog in this pack needed to know why she wasn't feeling happy.

"Is it because of your dad?" Rust asked, sounding so much like Zag, Snow wanted to bark in annoyance.

"What's it to you?" Snow growled, hackles rising. "You don't have to be so nosy."

Rust looked taken aback, then narrowed his eyes in anger. "You don't have to be so selfish! The whole entire pack is trying to help you, but whenever they try, you just bite their heads off?"

"Excuse me? I'm selfish?" But deep down Snow knew it was true. She wasn't about to admit she was wrong though.

"Yeah, you are. Maybe I was wrong to try to help you. All of your friends have started to take turns trying to talk to you! Then all you do is attack us." Rust shouted.

Koda, Zig, Zag, Forest, Neptune, Bird and Rabbit came running up. They stopped short when they saw what was happening, but quickly recovered from the shock and Forest ran into the middle.

"Snow, we all want to know what's going on." Forest said, trying to comfort his sister. "You don't need to scream at Rust for no good reason."

Snow pulled back her lips in a snarl. "You're all to nosy!" Before she had thought about it, she hit Rust on his muzzle as hard as she could and raced into the woods.

~Dogs Introduced in Chapter Six~

None, so I'm just gonna say a little somethin'

Willow and Zoe, two dogs in my story, are based off two dogs in my family.

Coda was (She will always be in my memory) my grandparents dog, and before they adopted her, Coda's name was Willow.

Zoe is my aunt's dog, and she looks almost exactly like the photo I posted of her.

As for myself, I don't have any dogs, but a mysterious puppy based off my guinea pig, Cuddles will come around soon. Technically, I've had free trials for two dogs so far, neither worked out. One was Berry-Bella, one was Buddy.

Chapter Seven: Cuddle

When Snow padded into the Patrol Dogs den after running in the woods for the remainder of the evening, backs turned away from her. The youngest Patrol Dogs all grouped together at one end of the den, leaving Snow to sleep near the older ones, such as Berry, Bella, and Buddy.

Rust was nowhere in sight, though Snow had heard a bit of noise coming from the Healer's Den.

Snow curled up in a free nest, about to slip into sleep, when the bramble at the entrance rustled and Rust stepped in. Snow looked up, but Rust avoided her gaze. Snow noticed his muzzle was plastered with herbs, and it still smelled like blood. (His nose was broken) Snow felt strangely satisfied when she saw Rust walk slowly over to Koda.

Snow looked up suddenly, and Rust met her gaze. He looked away quickly, but Snow saw the hurt and anger in his eyes, and guilt washed away the feeling of satisfaction. She looked over at the rest of her old friends, but all she got from them were glares and soft growls.

Everything will be better in the morning. Snow thought to herself, and closed her eyes, falling into a sleep with dreams of bloody muzzles and Rust screaming at her and clawing her eyes out......

Snow woke up with a start. It was dawn, and she was lying in the Patrol Dog's den, the moss where she had slept torn and matted. Rust, Forest, Koda, and Neptune were all muttering together at the far side of the den, but stood up quickly and left as soon as they saw Snow.

Snow sighed. Apparently, her friends were still mad. She had broken Rust's nose, but they shouldn't ALL be mad at her.

Well, I shoved Neptune aside yesterday at Morning Feast, and I yelled at Rabbit and Koda for accidentally scaring me while sparring...I bit Zig when he made a joke about my messy fur, and I snapped at Zag and Bird for teasing me about Koda and Rust.

As Snow counted how many times she'd been a bad friend, she ambled into the clearing. A small commotion was taking place.

Snow trotted over to Sky and Dash, who were sitting near the center of the clearing.

Storm, Nanami and Shade were standing in front of Alpha, having a quiet argument over what seemed to be a small bundle of fur. Alpha was looking on silently.

"....can't just let her freeze!"

"But....probably....real mother...come looking."

Snow only heard snippets of the conversation. Finally, Alpha stood up from where she was seated and barked in a commanding tone.

"Storm, Nanami, Shade, quiet."

The three dogs shut up immediately.

"Tell me what's going on." Alpha said, in the same quiet tone, though a hint of anger was hidden in her voice.

"We found a pup, Alpha. She was frozen near the Monster-trail." Shade barked, nudging forward the bundle of fur.

"And?" Alpha still kept her guard up, but a glimmer of pity and tenderness could be seen in her eyes.

"She smelled like sickness and fear, so we took her." Storm answered, wrapping her fluffy tail around the puppy.

"And what about the real mother? Won't she come looking?" Alpha inquired.

"That's what I said!" Shade muttered.

"We smelled another dog on her." Nanami admitted. "But it was very stale, and we could barely pick it out."

"I think the mother died." Storm put in.

"Or abandoned her pup." Nanami contradicted her.

Shade shook her head. "I think the real mother will come looking."

"How about this." Alpha barked. "We keep her for a moon. If the mother does not come looking for her in that time, we keep her as a pup."

Shade dipped her head in respect. "Yes Alpha."

Storm and Nanami nodded. "Thank you Alpha!" They said in unison.

Alpha flicked her tail, then trotted over to the puppy.

"Hello, little one." Alpha greeted the pup. "What's your name?"

The puppy blinked up at Alpha, her dark brown eyes reflecting in the Alpha's yellow ones.

"I don't know." she said. Snow felt her heart break.

"Very well." Alpha said softly. "We'll call you Cuddle."

"Okay!" Cuddle squeaked, and shoved her nose into Alpha's red fur. "Mommy!"

Alpha stared at the bundle of fur that was seated on her paws. "Cuddle, you're not-"

"You're my mommy!" Cuddle yipped. "Right?"

The new pup looked so pitiful that Alpha agreed. Snow smiled. She turned around and found herself nose to nose with her brother.

"H-hi." Snow stammered. "Look, Forest. I'm really sorry, I don't know what I was doing and-"

"It's okay, Snow. We forgive you." Forest said gently.

"Oh." Snow said. Relief washed over her like a wave. Her brother and her friends had forgiven her. Forest smiled, then trotted off to go hunting with Tangle, Willow, Zoe, and Dash.

Snow felt like barking with happiness. She trotted over to the Elder's den, where Harley and Raindrop were talking with each other.

"I feel that the Blood Dogs will strike at any moment, don't you agree Harley?" Raindrop was saying.

"I do agree, though the Alpha seemed alright..." Harley stated. "Oh, hi Snow!"

"Hi." Snow barked. "What do you think of Cuddle?"

"I think she is a poor lost puppy, and Alpha was very kind to take her in." Harley replied.

"No good will come of keeping a puppy. The mother will come looking." Raindrop put in.

"That's not true, the patrol didn't smell anything on her!" Harley growled hotly.

"I think it's a trap." Raindrop barked, and the two Elders began arguing. Snow backed away, then turned around and trotted towards the forest...

~Dogs Introduced in Chapter Seven~
  • Cuddle

Cuddle - A female Sheltie puppy (Pup)

The land where The Pack of Fallen Stars is a beautiful, yet dangerous place. It is a thick and jungle-like forest, with plenty of rough stones and fallen trees on its floor. The dogs that live here have grown accustomed to the climate however. They all have good eyes, ears, noses, and paws, perfect for scenting the many predators. Prey is very hard to find, due to the many small hiding places, though the dogs are used to this, and it is another reason they have good senses.

Chapter Eight: Kings and Death

Snow trotted briskly towards the cliff overhanging The Great Lake, where she had swam in when she was a Trainee.

The water was slapping gently in the shore, and the small cliff was covered in moss. Snow smiled. It was almost exactly how she had remembered it.

Snow lay down on the cliff, watching the birds fly south. It was getting colder by the day, and prey was slowly getting scarcer. The sun was shining today, however, and Snow spotted a squirrel, jumping from tree to tree like it was flying.

I wonder how they do that. Snow thought lazily, and closed her eyes. She listened to the breeze rustling the trees, the birds singing, and the squirrels chattering to each other. All was peaceful. Suddenly, Snow heard a small noise, and she turned around.

Forest was sitting behind her, his tail thumping the ground. "Good news Snow!"

"What is it?" Snow asked, tilting her head slightly.

"Astrix and Branch say Mom is almost healed! She's allowed to hunt and stuff now, just as long as she takes herbs every Quarter-moon." Forest barked happily.

"That's great!" Snow smiled, and licked her brother's ear.

"Yes, it's wonderful." a drawling voice said from behind them.

Forest and Snow both spun around, hackles rising. It was him.

King was here.

The Blood Dog stretched lazily, a black female dog next to him. "Simply wonderful." he said again, and the female snorted with cruel laughter.

"What do you want?" Snow asked shakily.

"What do I want? Hmmm.. Death, I completely forget what I want. Remind me, would you?" King looked over at Death, the black dog.

The female grinned. "Oh! You're so forgetful sometimes, King. You want to destroy the Pack Of Fallen Stars, remember?"

Forest growled. "Why? That's a stupid idea."

Death glared at him. (She's a bit like Bellatrix from Harry Potter) "Beetle dearie, listen to what Uncle King has to say." she smiled mockingly, though her eyes were like frost blue fire.

"I must destroy you and your pack, Beetle, because the old pack slipped our grasp. We vowed to destroy The Pack of Sun and Moon, but Creek and Pine escaped." King barked, a light of anger in his eyes. The anger was quickly removed, however, and he went back to being evilly friendly.

"Oh! Death, look! We almost didn't realize this big dog used to be Fuzz!" King grinned at Snow, who felt increasingly uncomfortable that these two dogs knew her name.

"How do you know our-" Forest's question was interrupted by Death.

"Well Beetle, to tell you the truth, we saw you and heard you the day you and your fellow Trainees played here. You and your friends Soft, Squirm, Ziggy, Zaggy, Fluff, and finally Tiny." Death smiled, showing her sharp teeth.

Snow shuddered, and took a step back. "C'mon Forest, let's go."

King growled. "Not sure that's a good idea, little one." he flicked his tail, and five other Blood Dogs came out of the bushes. All of them strong. All of them mean.

All of them craving blood.

"Run Snow! I'll hold them off!" Forest yelled, and dove at King.

"Forest!" Snow shrieked. She tried to go help him, but Death pounced on her and held Snow back from the fray.

"You're mine, pup." Death growled, and bit Snow's shoulder.

The white Patrol Dog howled in agony and anger. Snow ripped free, but Death jumped again.

I'm dead.

Snow tried to scramble away, but her shoulder was slowing her down. She braced for the killing blow, but it never came.

A bark of surprise came instead. Snow turned around and saw Forest tackling Death. At first, Snow thought Forest was winning, and she scrambled out of the way.

Then Death bit Forest's ear, and Snow's brother whimpered and let go of the Blood Dog Beta's back. Immediately, Death and King converged on Forest, and the five other dogs followed their leaders.

Snow tried to run at them, but after one step her shoulder gave way under her, and she collapsed on the ground.

"Fuzz."

Snow turned around in hope, but it wasn't her brother speaking.

It was King, holding Forest's body, that was twitching feebly.

"This is your brother. I will let you live, and you will tell your pack about this...unfortunate event. You will tell them where it happened. And you will tell them who."

Snow felt like crying. "Let him go!"

Death laughed. A cold, cruel, and maniacal sound. She nodded, and one of the Blood Dogs walked forward and bit Forest's neck.

Snow's brother, the dog she had looked up to, had teased, had helped, had cared for, and had loved, was dead.

Snow sank to the ground.

King smiled. "Pack, dog meat is on the menu."

Snow turned away in horror as she heard crows of laughter and meat tearing.

Finally, after what felt like forever....

"Well, time to go. Pack, to me." King lead his dogs across the Stepping Stones and back into their territory.

Snow kept her head turned, not wanting to see the remains of her brother. Then finally, she could bear it no longer and she slowly turned her head.

What her eyes saw was so horrifying, Snow wished she never turned her head towards it.

Bones, fur, some meat, and blood. A lot of blood.

Blood covering the rocks, blood making Snow's paws sticky as she made her way towards her brother's remains.

Snow shuddered with sadness, anger, and fear. The sudden truth crashed onto her.

There were dogs that ate their victims. There were dogs that killed with no mercy.

And these dogs lived right next to Snow's home.

~Dogs Introduced in Chapter Eight~
  • Death

Death - A female Husky and Sheltie mix

OMG WHY DID I MAKE SUCH AN EVIL DOG LOOK SO GORGEOUS :Cries in corner:

Chapter Nine: Red Skies

"Tickle, Paw, Yap, please step forward." 

Nanami's three pups stepped forward, trembling with excitement. 

"Your new names are: Forest, Sand, and Jaw. You will now be Patrol Dogs, until your worth proves otherwise." Alpha licked each of the new Patrol Dogs on the head. 

Cuddle was bouncing around nearby, a small bundle of fur next to Alpha. 

Jaw was smiling widely. "Good, I hated the name Tickle." 

Sand bit his brother gently. "Oh hush. We could've traded, y'know. I asked you if you wanted to. But you said no, Yap is a terrible name." 

Forest laughed as he saw his two brothers wrestling. "Guys, the pack is still watching."

"Oh, oops." Sand rolled off Jaw sheepishly. 

Alpha stared at the brothers. It looked like she was going to explode. 

"Well, at least they named one after my brother." Snow whispered to Zag. Zag nodded, but both friends were trembling slightly. Alpha had a famous temper.

Suddenly, Alpha threw back her head, laughing. 

Sand's mouth was open so wide that Snow could see his teeth. Jaw was cowering, obviously wondering if Alpha was going to exile him after she finished laughing. Forest looked surprised as well, and backed away, as if saying, I'm not part of this. I was the one who told them to stop. 

Alpha finally stopped laughing, and smiled warmly at the three dogs. "I see you'll be an eager asset to the pack! Go on now, do whatever you have to do."

Alpha was about to call that the meeting was dismissed, when Rust stepped forward.

"I wish to fight Sky for her place with the Hunting Dogs."

Alpha stared at the young dog. "Very well." she barked finally. "Sky, come forward."

Sky came forward slowly, coughing a bit.

"Sky is still sick! She shouldn't fight. Someone should tell Rust he's made a mistake." Snow whispered to Koda.

"I think Rust knows. He just wants to win." Neptune growled.

"I thought he was an honorable dog!" Bird sighed.

"Guys, hush. Sky is getting much better, it might be a fair fight after all."

Sky stood tall, her tail straight up in the air. "I do not accept. I give my place in the Hunting Dogs to Rust. I know I cannot beat him. I am sick, frail, even. Yet this..coward, wants to fight me, for he knows he cannot beat me when I am well."

Rust took a step back, looking shocked. "I'm not a coward!"

"Really? A dog who wants to fight a sick dog instead of a well one sounds like a coward to me." Dash snarled. "Fight me instead."

Rust growled. "No, I will not fight. I am a Hunting Dog now. I have no need."

Tangled snarled. He looked as if he were about to attack, but Zoe pressed against him, calming him down.

"Uh, pack, um, the feast awaits." Alpha barked awkwardly.

The pack separated into groups, muttering among each other as they padded to the Fresh-Kill awaiting them.

Everyone took prey whenever they wanted, instead of Alpha eating first. It was a feast, after all. Berry, Bella, Zoe, and Willow went off to eat together. Rust glared after them. Rabbit and Bird did as well.

I'm sure everything will get better soon. Snow thought to herself, trying to be optimistic. Zag, Koda, Neptune and Zig stalked off, Snow followed them sadly. They all trotted to the Prey Pile, picking out their food. Then the groups dispersed again, all eating together, alone.

******************************************

Snow rolled around in her nest, trying to get comfortable after the feast. Zag was snoring lightly next to her; the air was filled with the noises of sleeping dogs.

"S-snow, go to sleepz." Zag murmured tiredly. "Or zo for a walk."

Snow nodded, but Zag was snoring again.

The white Hunting Dog nudged her friend in amusement, then stepped out of the den.

The stars were twinkling, and the air was cool, a light wind was blowing from the north. Snow looked around at the surroundings she knew so well. Beta and Alpha were talking quietly in their den, and a few Spies and Patrol Dogs could be seen watching all of the holes in the camp wall, and the main entrance as well.

On the surface, everything seemed calm, content. Under the surface, everything was poised to strike, and the air was thick with tension. Snow trotted towards the main entrance, where Light and Zig greeted her.

"Sorry Snow, you can't go on a walk." Light stopped her as she began to make her way out.

"Why not?" Snow asked, puzzled.

"Well, I hate to break this to you, but I think there might be a very slim chance the Blood Dogs are poised to murder us, because they promised to kill us." Zig said, shrugging.

Snow snorted with laughter, she couldn't help herself. And once she started, she couldn't stop.

Light gave a slight cough, and Snow turned to her, suppressing giggles. "Yeah?"

"You can't go on a walk alone because of the threat the Pack Of Blood and War gave to us." the Spy barked, and Snow nodded in understanding.

The Patrol Dog turned back to Zig. "You go sleep, I can take over for awhile."

Zig hesitated, then agreed. "Okay, though wake someone up if you get tired."

Snow inclined her head to show that she heard him, then stared off into the darkness of the forest, watching the silhouettes of the trees wave slightly in the wind.

"Do you think the Blood Dogs will attack soon?" Snow broke the silence, her voice echoing among the trees.

"Who knows what they're planning." Light barked quietly, with a glance at camp.

Snow kept quiet, thinking of her brother. Of how stupid she'd been.

"If I'd been an ounce better, he would be here." Snow whispered to herself severely.

Light sighed. "Your brother was a brave dog, Snow. I'm sure he's running with the Spirit Dogs now. Besides, it's not your fault. No one blames you for Beetle's death."

Snow glanced sadly at the Spy. "But what if Beetle does? What if he blames me?"

"He doesn't. You knew him best, you should be the one telling me."

Snow nodded sadly, and turned her gaze ahead of her again. What had happened with Rust and Sky earlier today was not mentioned between either of them. No one had been talking about it, it seemed they were to shocked to say anything.

Suddenly, Light narrowed her eyes. "Snow, look!"

The two stared off into the darkness. A dog emerged from the trees, her eyes, one blue and one brown, stared back at them.

Light stepped forward quietly, her eyes widening in disbelief. "Sam?"

~Dogs Introduced in Chapter Nine~

Screen Shot 2017-05-15 at 9.31.00 AM

Sam

Sam - A female Border Collie (Hunter)

Chapter Ten: The Lost Hunter

Snow sat in a corner of Alpha and Beta's den, taking deep breaths to steady herself. The creamy colored dog stood in front of Alpha and Beta, looking quite calm.

"It's Sam..."

Alpha was staring at Sam in disbelief. "It's Sam..."

"Yes Alpha, it's Sam." Beta answered, slightly impatient. "Sam, where were you? We thought you were dead."

Sam laughed. "As good as, Natty. A bunch of dogs got me, though I escaped 'bout three seasons ago. They weren't Blood Dogs," Sam added, seeing the look on Alpha's face. "But they were about as good as those guys. Kept me for ages. Seemed to think I was some dog called Cali. Anyway, I was wanderin' around, and I finally found my old territory."

Beta looked a little annoyed at being called Natty, but brushed it off and stared at Sam. "Well, at least you're alive." the Pittbull said gruffly.

Snow stepped forward. "Uh, excuse me, but, uh, Sam. How do you know almost everyone here?"

Sam took a good look at Snow. "Wait a second...No way! You must be Bandit and Sky's pup! You look just like 'em."

Snow tilted her head, getting more confused by the second. "Yes, I'm one of Sky's pups. You still haven't answered my question, though."

Sam grinned. "Well, one day, 'bout two years ago, I was on a journey, because the Spirit Dogs sent me. I had just become a Hunter, 'cause Alpha--he's dead now-- had promoted me before I left.

"Well, there I was. A one year old dog, all alone. Dusk--your Alpha--volunteered to go with me, but I said no. The Spirit Dogs told me I had to go alone.

"Anyhow, I went off, and I went on for what seemed like forever. Finally I found what I was lookin for. My family. My ma had gone missin', ages ago. There was a bit of a family reunion, then I left. That's when the doggies captured me. I was as scared as a little pup seeing death for the first time.

"I traveled with them for ages, until I saw something I remembered. Lightning's Tree. So I escaped, first chance I got. Then I got lost again, then I found y'all again, so here I am."

Sam shrugged. "That's all, I guess."

Beta looked slightly suspicious, though glad at the same time. Alpha was still staring at the Border Collie in disbelief.

Snow stood up. "So now you're back." she said, feeling quite awkward.

Sam looked amused. "Yep." she said. "Dusk, do I still get my old place back?"

Alpha sighed. "Yes, Sam. Though you'll be demoted if you continue calling me Dusk."

Sam nodded. "Yes, Alpha. And Beta." she said, turning to the Pitbull. Snow could see her Beta seething, and the young dog was tempted to step in front of Sam. Snow turned, and walked out, needing some fresh air after all of the commotion.

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