“Be reasonable,” Ellie said, imploring Shreya to leave with her. Shreya supposed Ellie had a point. As long as one of her brethren found her in time, they’d protect Shanti. Her rescue mission could end here knowing that Shanti wouldn’t be thrown to the foxes.
Reason said to leave with Ellie and avoid any punishment. Disobeying her village like this meant she could have something worse than exile waiting for her. Going against the Elders’ words came with consequences. No one would have to know she went to the fox’s stronghold.
And Ellie wouldn’t have to risk anyone seeing her. Her current steadfast attitude showed Shreya she wouldn’t go on her own. No amount of shoving her in the right direction would get her to go. Another brand of reason told Shreya to leave with her, for Ellie’s sake.
Protect her. Protect yourself.
Too bad reason crumbled in the face of family.
“Stay if you want,” Shreya said. “I will rescue Shanti.” She braced her arms against the wall, then brought her foot back to strike the bottom plank.
“Don’t do that.”
“You cannot stop me.”
“Your shoes are soft leather. You can’t get the same amount of force my boots can. You’ll just hurt yourself. Move over.” Ellie took Shreya’s place, soon kicking against the wood. Heavy knocks, one after the other, sounded out from her efforts.
The chaos inside of the fox village went on.
Shreya suggested, “Aim far. Strike past it.” If they had the time, she would’ve switched shoes with her.
That did the trick. The wood cracked, splintering inwards as it caved.
“Here we go,” Ellie said. “We’d be screwed if this was any more dense. What is this, pine or something?”
Shreya guided Ellie’s attention to the plank beside it. “I will finish this. Do the next the same way. Start, then leave it.”
Creating the necessary space left Ellie breathless by the time they were done. Exertion painted her cheeks a bright pink. She slumped next to the fence hole just as Shreya crouched to examine it.
“Who’s doing the honors?” Ellie struggled to ask. She grimaced, adjusting her leg.
“Stay here. I will drag her over.” Shreya lowered to her stomach.
“Hurry. Things sound kind of scary in there…”
Howling. Screams of terror. Grunting and the swinging of weapons. Lots of running. Shreya smelled sweat, comingling sharply with absolute fear. The foxes were on the losing end of things. Different wolves shouted the same demand: “show us your king.”
Occupied by that mission, they hopefully wouldn’t take notice them taking Shanti. As far as she could see through the hole, no one had approached the offering area. The wolves would feast on those spoils later.
“Scary is our advantage. They are distracted. Run if there is trouble,” Shreya said.
She had a feeling she wouldn’t, but she had to say it.
A/N: Next half next week. <3 Sorry for how short this is. I may have to do two-parters like this until work settles down.
Voting ends this Sunday at 11:59 PM EST.
Results on Chapter 73’s poll were 2 votes for Ellie listening to Shreya and running away alone, 3 votes for Ellie convincing Shreya to run away with her, and 8 votes for Ellie staying to help Shreya rescue Shanti. 13 voters in total. Nice, we are slowly climbing back up!