Chapter Five

As the night went on, Sparrow decided to slip into Sapphire's den and ask her a few questions.  He was still wondering if Leader was the reason that Dream was gone, and he knew that Sapphire had been with him the entire day.  She probably knew something.

Exiting the den with a few steps, he looked around to see if anyone was watching and darted towards Sapphire's den swiftly.  She shared the den with Snowflake, and, before her death, Rain.

"Sapphire," he whispered into the den.  Not getting a response, he strengthened his tone and said her name again.  "Sapphire."

Hearing someone stir, he quickly ducked behind a nearby bush to avoid being seen by whoever had moved inside of the den.

"Sparrow?  It's me."

Peering out from behind the bush, Sparrow saw Sapphire walking out of the den.
"Don't you think it's a little late to talk right now?" she muttered, yawning.  "I need to sleep.  It was a long day today."

Sparrow ignored her.  "I need to ask you something," he whispered, and dragged her inside of his den.  Situated, he sighed and looked down at her as she lay on the ground, eyes closed.  "Did you notice anything strange about Leader today?"
Opening one eye, Sapphire concentrated.  She remembered everything that had happened today, and frowned.  "What do you mean by... strange?" she asked him darkly.

Sparrow thought for a few heartbeats.  "I mean like, was he tense or something today?  Because..." His voice lowered even more.  "I think he might have something to do with Dream being gone."

Sapphire made a disgusted face.  "Ugh, I shouldn't have told you about the Daisy thing," she mumbled.  "Well, he did seem impatient today.  He was all 'we're never going to find her; let's go home' and stuff."

Sparrow nodded.  "I thought so," he responded. 

"What do you mean?"

"Well, I have a strange feeling that... that Leader might be trying to get rid of all the pups.  He never did help Dawn with caring for us, and he seems rather annoyed whenever pups interrupt him or something."

"But... he wouldn't.  He... he wouldn't, Sparrow."

"You don't know that for sure."  His yellow eyes narrowed, Sparrow looked down at her seriously.  "It seems unlikely that he would be killing off the pups in the pack, but he mentioned the fact that it was getting too populated with wolves around here.  Is that enough proof for you?"

Sapphire still looked a bit unconvinced.  "I suppose," she murmured dryly, looking to her right.  "I just... it seems so..."

"Yes, it does," Sparrow interrupted.  "It does seem unlikely, as I said.  So... out-of-character.  But I still believe that.  Now, you might as well tell me what happened with him being all impatient today."

Sapphire sighed.  "It's going to take a while," she snarled.

~F~l~a~s~h~b~a~c~k~

Stepping through several bushes, Sapphire sighed.  It was unusually sunny for an end-of-winter day, but spring was beginning, after all.  Soon it would become hotter, and she would have to deal with it.  She knew that it wouldn't be good on a day like this, however, considering that she was on a hunt for one of the wolf pups.
"There's no point in doing this."

Hearing her father's voice, Sapphire was ashamed.  "Father?  That's not a very pleasant thing to say."

"Neither is this task," she heard him growl.  "Like said, there is no point in this.  I doubt that she's alive."

"Well, we have to," Oak, a long-and-lean wolf with brown fur, said.  "Sunset is very worried, and this would be her third pup that she lost."

Sapphire sighed.  It was true - Sunset had lost two of her pups already to natural things, and it appeared as if she would lose another, due to her disappearance.  
"I don't care about what Sunset thinks," Leader snarled, apparently forgetting that his daughter was right next to him.  "The pup is dead.  We should just..." He stopped abruptly and sat.  "...Return and tell Sunset that we never found her."

Sapphire rolled her eyes - this wasn't an uncommon thing for her father to do, but today it was different.  He was beginning to act like Dawn was at the moment.  Her daughter's death and her son's inability to hunt had clearly weakened her, because she was beginning to become frustrated with all the loss of lives this season had to offer.  And she was slowly becoming more anti-social.

But she knew that it would probably become worse in a few days, so Sapphire stopped thinking of this and began to search some more.  

Turning to her left and making her way towards a couple pine trees, Sapphire sniffed the air.  She smelled something that the pack usually smelled while hunting or during hunting season - blood.  But they were in a secluded area with hardly any wildlife, so this was a bit strange.

She decided not to mention this to her father - he probably would suggest that they forget about Dream and return home.  Sniffing again, she caught the scent again and walked towards it.  It was nearly unbearable - it should have smelled good to her, considering that she was a predator, but it smelled slightly strange.  It was mixed with the scent of the same animal, whatever it was, which was very unusual.

Sapphire had heard of bears turning on each other when food became scarce and of male bears sometimes killing cubs, but this was unusual - it wasn't the scent of a bear.  It was... a wolf?

She made a face in disgust and sniffed again.  It was a wolf.  She suddenly spotted a trail of blood, and she turned away, not wanting to see anymore.

Returning to Leader and Oak, they were still arguing.  "I say we leave," her father was saying irritably.  Oak was muttering to himself, and Leader snarled.  

They were interrupted by a howl.  Joining in with the howl, Sapphire looked over at Leader and Oak, who began to howl as well.

Rushing through the trees were Dawn and Sparrow, who had showed up for some reason.  "It's getting late," Dawn said quietly.  "There's no use in looking anymore."

"Exactly," Leader snarled, his voice mostly directed towards Oak, who rolled his eyes.  "I suggested this hours ago."

~F~l~a~s~h~b~a~c~k~

"So, you see, Leader was acting a bit eager to return home," Sapphire finished, yawning again.  "Now, can I leave?  I'm tired."

"I guess," Sparrow replied, sighing as she left his den quickly.  He rested his head on his paws, not wanting to think about this any longer.  But it was impossible, mostly because no one could decide what they dreamed. 

The End

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