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"Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly."

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By: Sunaki

Tala sighed, glancing up at her mother. An uncannily white she-wolf, Frost, rstared back down at her with bright blue eyes, casting a sugar-coated, yet tired, grin.

" Mom-mm!"

" Yes Tala?"

" Are we there yet?"

"No sweetie."

"Where are we going?"

Frost didn't answer. The young, white and silver she-pup let out a sigh. They had been traveling for days, maybe even moons now. Oh, who knows? She had lost track a while ago. Apparently they were looking for a shelter, or at least that's what she'd picked up by listening to her father, Steve's, conversations with other members of her pack. They were a small group, only four or five wolves, which besides her parents, she didn't even know the name of. They didn't talk to her much, well, not ever actually. Her "pack" didn't really have set alphas, but the group usually leaned towards her father as leader. She hoped maybe one day she could be a leader for them too. She did look almost exactly like Steve after all, maybe it was a sign. Just the thought brought skip to her step, and she negatory happily bounce around the paws of older wolves, much to her mother's discontented, watchful eye. Her mother began to speak hesitantly.

"Tala-"

Typical.

"I know mom, I know. I'm not supposed to get in the older wolves way."

Frost straightened, and see, and seemed content with her answer. Tala fell back, entertaining herself in small ways using whatever she could find. She spotted a meadow she was quite familiar with. She always called it the butterfly meadow, because of how many of the graceful winged insects could be found there. Tala glanced to her mother. She seemed to be distracted. The entire pack was squabbling about what only the Nova Wolves knew. They had been doing that a lot recently. That didn't matter though, now was her chance!

The silver she-wolf dashed into the colorful flower-filled meadow, sending swarms of butterflies rising into the air. Target sighted. Right now, she was the fearless butterfly hunter, revered by all the wolves for her mad skills! She leapt into the air. Thump. One catch. Thump Thump. Two ca- Ooh. Tala grimaced. Maybe she'd just count that one as half a catch. She leapt for another. Rustle. Tala stopped, dropping to the ground. Her heart raced. She tilted her head to the source of the noise.

"I-is anyone there?" The she-wolf managed to stutter out.

Silence.

Looks like her imagination got the best of her again. Tala turned back around.

Crunch. Crunch. Crunch. Crunch.

She hadn't remembered her imagination being so realistic.

"Hey, mom? I think I hear-"ย 

Tala's remark was cut short as she let out a screech, feeling a large weight fall on top of her. She writhed underneath it, examining as a net. That has to mean one thing. Humans. She felt chills down her spine. She did the only thing she could do, scream.

"Mama!"

A human ran up to the net, Tala growled, but was unable to stop herself from being picked up in her trap by it. She screamed louder as she was thrown into some kind of strangely shaped box, maybe? It had four sphere-like objects on the bottom of it holding it up. The human closed the door, but she could see through a clear part in it. This was when she spotted her mother turning around, a look of frantic panic on her face. Her pack's paws pounded against the ground as they rapidly approached the box. Her tail began to wag. Suddenly everything shook as a loud sound erupted from her prison, rumbling like an earthquake. She felt herself lurch forward. Her pursuing pack quickly began to grow farther and farther away, as did everything she'd ever known. It all went black.

-----

Tala woke up to the sound of running water. She was next to a river. The humans were gone. Where was she? She looked around. Nothing was familiar. She had no idea what to do.ย 

" Hello? Mom? Dad? Anyone"

No response. Figures. Tala was all alone. She couldn't help but shake violently. She remembered that once her father told her to follow a river if ever lost. She signed and began to pad along the murky shores.

-----

She had been traveling for moons. Her fur had begun to change from puppy-fluffy to adult-sleek. She had near given up finding her family. Now she was just Tala. Tala the lone wolf. Her ears pricked. She smelt other wolves. It looked like a scent marker on a pack's territory. Tala didn't care. She had wandered many packs' territories, not getting caught on a single one. Heh, she was probably too slick for them. She came to an open field, covered in long grass. It was tainted with the strong reek of prey. Tala's stomach growled, longing for warm prey. She instinctively dropped into a low crouch. Rustle. Tala stopped at the familiar sound. So did her heart for a moment. Crunch. Crunch. Crunch. Crunch. Tala shook, but pushed down her fear, standing tall. This time, she was ready. She had nothing to lose, but something to prove. The sounds grew louder, closer. A loud snap erupted from some of the bushes. A group of wolves burst from the shrub, led by a tall male wolf. The alpha she presumed. He was flanked by two dark grey she-wolves that appeared rather similar, they appeared to be British Columbian Wolves. There was a tan and black she-wolf as well, along with a few others.

"Stop right there! You're trespassing on the territory of the Pack of Shadowed Paws!"

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