So what is a 13 year old girl from the city of Drucilla supposed to do? Take a deep breath, pray to the Spirits, and let your arrow go.
Running. That is all that matters. I have to catch up. I can see them ahead. I send out a silent prayer to the Spirits, to help me make it. I speed up a little and launch my body over the dead tree. Suddenly, the dogs stop, and I am surrounded by shaggy, warm blooded bodies. The dogs aren't what I am looking for. I slowly slide an arrow from the quiver slung on my back. The clearing the dogs lead me to is small. I glance up at the star filled sky. The patch is framed by the reaching branches of at least twenty oak trees. Focus.
I can hear it over all thirteen dogs. I spin around and cock an arrow.Now I can see it, sitting in an oak tree, five feet above my head. I try to slow my breathing so as not to give myself up. I gaze down the shaft, and carefully take aim. It flies straight into the heart of the pheasant I was hunting. He sways softly. Then he falls to the ground, and a mud brown retriever picks it up. I wrench my arrow from the birds body and tell him to take it back home. Two other dogs go as well. The dogs start whining, excited on the shot. I tell them to take a break. They immediately lay down. Then I walk away into the dappled moonlight of the forest.
When the breathing of the hounds fades to nothing, I stop. I got this one. My count is three. I cannot let Lycaenion win this challenge. I look around for trails hidden in the underbrush. I need as many as I can find. A rustle of leaves alerts me to another form of life. It is Alyx, my dog. She stands next to me and whimpers, telling me that there is another bird in the blackberry bush to my right. I ready another arrow. She barks and the pheasant jumps from its hiding spot.. It is dead before it hits the ground. That is four for me. I wonder how many Lycaenion has.
She thinks she is better than me. Ha! Alyx barks for another dog to take the bird back to make sure it gets counted. The moon overhead is the only light I need to win. It sets the world alive. Suddenly, I am filled with hope and peace. I know that with Alyx by my side, I will win. We make no more sound than a snake. We can win. Lycaenion will have to deal with the shame of losing to a younger girl. I hunt till dawn, as stated in the challenge, and catch five more.
As the sky starts the transformation, I know it is time to face the facts. Whether I win or not, there is nothing I can do know. The remaining seven dogs and I begin the walk back to the city. I can sense Alyx by my side. I rest my fingers on her neck and pray to the Spirits that they are not disappointed in my offering. I pray they have let me win.