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Wolf’s Run - Run, Draco, Run!

“If I ever catch that goddamed merchant I am going to rip his balls off and feed it to a pig!” I yelled as the three of us ran through the forest. The howls of the wolves that were pursuing us seemed to echo from the very forest itself.

††††

We started out as pretty much your standard adventuring party. There was Arien the ranger. She was so good with a bow that you would have thought her to be an elf. This image was rather helped by her long flowing golden hair and how well she filled out her green woodland outfit. Heck for all I know she might really be an elf as she always kept a bandana tied around her forehead that covered her ears. Although she was a bit short for that though. So half-elf maybe. She was the life of the party always willing to smile or crack a joke to lighten the mood. Of course they did tend to go towards the rather dirty side which would have some of our other ladies in the party blushing quire furiously before it was done.

Then there was Ceres our healer. She was a bit homely and looked like she would fit in more as the farmer next door’s daughter instead of a powerful white mage, but no one was as good as her at putting people back together. She was a gentle and kind soul, the type that kind that made you wonder why she decided to be an adventurer. If she had one flaw I would say that she was kind of clumsy. Her special skill was tripping when there was nothing to trip on.

Our main tank was the fighter Freya. She was a huge woman easily a head taller than anyone else in our group, even including myself who was the only guy. She was one of the top three swordsman in our class even among the men. Fully decked out in plate mail and swinging a giant sword she resembled nothing more than a Valkyrie, one of the warrior angels of the gods, and the nickname stuck. While she could seem ferocious on the battlefield, when you got to know her she was really nice and always looked after her friends.

Diana was our mage. I hear that she was quite the prodigy, moving up to our class even though she was two years younger than us. She even had devised several original spells which had excited out teachers and had even won a competition in the capitol. As long as there was mana left in her body any enemies of ours would probably end up burned to a crisp. And that wasn’t even her best point.

From her shapely breasts that looked like they would just barely fit your cupped hand, to her plump round butt, to how her purple robes clung to her body, one thing was sure: she was almost criminally cute. Even among those lascivious beasts whose sole purpose in life it seemed was to have sex, I was sure that you couldn’t find anyone as cute as her. One look just made you want to cuddle with her. I was madly in love, and had been since we first met. Of course if I ever told her that she would probably blush and try and hide behind her broad brimmed sorcerer’s hat, which would make her even cuter.

And then there was me, the thief. I had average grades, only medium grade attack skills and wasn’t even that good looking. All I had was a mop of unruly black hair that extended down over my eyes making it rather hard to see my face. Needless to say I was truly shocked when Diana decided to invite me to her All Star All Female party, but I had jumped at the chance to be with my crush.

All of us were students at the Rhinsefeldt Kingdom Technical School for Adventurers, or at least we were. We had just graduated and were finally ready to take our party out on our first real adventure when we walked into the market discussing where we would go. And that’s where we met him, that bastard.

“Excuse me young gentleman and his pretty lady friends, I couldn’t help overhearing your conversation, and I have a proposition for you.”

He was a merchant with what appeared to be a traveling stall. It was filled with all sorts of items, from armor to all sorts of strange foodstuffs from faraway lands. He claimed to happen to possess a map for an easy quest that would make the perfect first adventure for a group starting out.

††††

“It’ll be easy, he said.” I grumbled

“Lots of treasure, he said.”

“It’ll totally change your life, he said.”

“Only a few monsters about, he said.”

“And where did if lead us? To the middle of a forest surrounded by a pack of fucking werewolves!” I screamed to the forest as if condemning the Chief God for our fate. I should have known there was something wrong when he only charged us a silver piece for it.

††††

At first it was going great. It was a wonderful day the sun was shining and the ruin was only a half day away from the city. We didn’t even need to cancel our inn as we should be back by sundown. However the map led us further and further into the dark forest, eventually we reached the spot on the map that had the giant X on it only to find . . .  absolutely nothing. It was a patch of forest just like all of the rest.

“Maybe you read the map upside down?” Freya offered helpfully. Arien shot her a look that was colder than a Glacies heart. “I am a ranger and rangers DO NOT read maps upside down. We are definitely where we are supposed to be.”

“Maybe he sold us the wrong map by mistake?” My dear Diana offered trying to smooth things over.

Arien gave an exasperate sigh. “No this is definitely the right map and we are in the right place, but there’s NOTHING here. I swear if this is a prank I am going to take this map and shove it straight up his…”

Her eyes narrowed as she looked at the ground. “Find some treasure?” “No. It’s just that things just might have gotten sticky. There’s wolf tracks here, and they’re fresh. Everyone get ready.” It was then as she was bending down to take a closer look that they struck. For while wolves are stuck on the ground where Arien was looking, werewolves can climb trees.

Arien was so focused on examining the tracks that she didn’t see them jumping from the branches until it was far too late and they were upon her. Ceres was the next to fall to the monsters. She showed a remarkable amount of grace for her and managed to avoid tripping on nothing and found a root to trip on instead her white robes billowing around her. In seconds the werewolves had their claws in her.

They almost got my love Diana as well, but I was able to yank her out of the way at the very last second. Luckily Diana was in the middle of charging a tangle spell and that managed to stop the werewolves, at least for a bit. However, there is no way a spell designed to trap beasts could hold back monsters. As for our fallen friends there was nothing we could do for them. There wounds were rather severe and it was plain to see that mana corruption had already started to take place given the fur and tails starting to sprout from their bodies. They had already fallen to the darkness and if we stayed here they would wake up in their new werewolf bodies and attempt to assault us just like the other wolves. Freya, Diana, and I hand no choice but to flee.

Shit!!!

††††

We managed to put some distance between us and the wolves, but only because Diana chain casted dark mist and trap spells. However, it was clear from her flushed face and panting that she had totally exhausted her mana supplies. We would not be spellcasting our way out of this one. Unfortunately though, one of our members was doing much worse. Freya’s face was beet red and her breath came in ragged spurts. We had to stop when she almost collapsed.

“Are you OK?”

“No.” She said attempting a weak smile. “It’s this damn plate mail. It’s so heavy and not designed to be run around in. I’m sorry guys, at this rate I am only slowing you down. Go on without me.”

“NO!” “NO!” We both screamed at the same time.

Diana ran over to her almost in tears. “NO. I am not going to lose another friend today.” She said shaking, pounding Freya’s breastplate. “Can’t we just take it off?”

Freya gave her a sweet sad smile while patting her head. “I wish we could honey, but you know how long it takes to put this stuff on. At the very least you and Draco have to make it out of here. This is the only way.”

“There’s no way we are going to leave you here we all have to go…” I started

Freya swung around stabbing her sword in the ground and grabbed my shoulders. She hit every word with a hard shake “Dammit Draco THERES … NO … TIME! You love Diana don’t you? Then you have to make sure that she makes it out of here alive. It’s bad enough that the rest of us are going to lose our souls, but at least our cute couple should make it home.”

I stood there blushing furiously, and from where I stood I could see Diana was as well. “You knew?”

She rolled her eyes “Of COURSE I knew, you were so obvious. In fact everyone in the entire school knew. Why do you think we invited you to our party? You two deserve to have a life together and raise lots of cute little babies. I am NOT going to be the reason that you fall here. Of course if you ever make our princess cry, monster or no I am going to make you pay.” She picked up her sword and turned to face the direction of the howls that were getting ever closer. “I should be able to buy you some time to get away. Who knows I might be able to take down a few of those creatures with me. Oh and Draco. If you ever see me after I   . . .    change please treat me like you would any monster and take care of me.”

I gave her a reassuring tap in the middle of her broad seemingly invincible back. “I swear in the name of the Chief God.”

“THEN GO!”

I grabbed Diana’s hand and almost dragged her from the clearing.

“But Freya…”

“Don’t make this any harder than it has to be.” I said choking down my own tears. After a few minutes we heard a great commotion in the forest behind us, and after only too short of a time silence returned to the forest.

“Do you think they got her?” Diana asked trembling. Then one lone wolf howl, in a voice that seemed so familiar to us pierced the forest. Wordlessly I grabbed her hand as we resumed running.

††††

I have no idea how we managed to make it out of the forest with our eyes blinded with tears for our fallen comrades, but it must have been our instinct that led us to our horses. With a flash I cut the ropes with my knife and we had barely mounted them when the werewolves arrived. Thankfully, our steeds needed no prompting to flee from their ancestral enemies and we soon left them behind. We got back to our inn about an hour before sunset. Not saying anything, as there was no way to put what we had just went through into words, we went back to our rooms and collapsed into our beds.

††††

It was getting dark and I had just lit the lamp when I heard a knock on my door. I wasn’t entirely surprised to find Diana there waiting for me. She was wearing a long floor length white nightgown with her purple sorcerer’s hat. Her arms were buried deep into a large pillow and her eyes were bloodshot and moist as if she had been crying. I don’t know why, but even under such circumstances seeing here so scantily clad just made me want to pounce on her. I inwardly chided myself for being such a horny dog.

“Hey what’s up? It’s getting rather late.”

She stood there trembling in the hall with moist eyes “Do you mind if I sleep in your room tonight?”

A whole host of emotions assailed me at once. The desire to protect, to nurture, to comfort, and I will admit quite a bit of lust were swirling around me. Inwardly, I chided myself. She had just lost all of her friends in one day. To make matters worse their souls had been corrupted, forced into the darkness away from the love of the Chief God forever. It was a fate worse than death. Of course she was going to be lonely. I tousled her hair a bit. “Of course you can.”

Bringing her into the tiny hotel room, I locked the door and went to hold her small trembling body in a tender embrace. “It’s been a rough day hasn’t it?”

“Yeah, but as long as you’re here it’s going to be all right.”

After all that had happened there was still one thing that I had to say. It was time to be a man.

“Diana, you know what Freya said back in the forest? Well it’s true. I have loved you since we first met.”

“I know.” Diana said with a small smile. “I have always known how you felt and I feel the same way. It was always too embarrassing to say, although not anymore. There’s only one thing left: Will you be with me no matter what?”

I could feel my face starting to flush and had a giant smile on my face. “Of course I will always b...”

“Good!” She said cutting me off “cuz I can’t hold it back anymore. ♥” She jumped on me throwing me back onto the bed with surprising strength considering her small frame and the fact that she was a head shorter than I was. She crawled up my chest while drooling with a predatory gaze that just did not suit her cute face.

“Wha, what the heck has gotten into you?”

“Something wonderful dar~ling ♥.” She leaned over to whisper in my ear her words full of honey. “Back in the forest one of the wolves scratched me. ♥”

She planted a wet sloppy kiss on my lips and as she did so, her sorcerer’s hat slid from her head revealing a pair of cute wolf ears.