Midnight Wolf Hunt

Midnight Wolf Hunt

Another Zelgadis fic, I'm going to try to keep all the other Slayers out of it. Zelgadis gets the spotlight in this one! Its ALLLL him!

The moon was high, riding on the waves of clouds that glittered in the frosty night air. The stars could only be seen now and then in a break. The smoky thickness was pushed across the sky by a hard wind far above the treetops. The forest was quiet mostly except for the chirping of insects that seemed to be in the distance. A lone campfire glitters between the trunks of the trees, a lone figure sits at that campfire.

The man's eyes slit eyes glitter in the flickering light of the fire. He sips his cup of liquid, reflecting his thoughts off its inky surface. His cape is wrapped around himself for what little warmth it can give in the growing days of autumn. His breath floats upward in a puff of steam and the slits of his eyes follow the mist until it dissipates.

He sits with one foot tucked against him, his other knee near his chest, his arm resting around it, helping to support his cup of coffee. Just to the side is his sword with its glittering gem on the end of the hilt.

A noise disturbs the peace of his thoughts and he lifts his eyes to look upon a woman who enters the firelight. She stands at the edge of his camp a moment, hands loose by her sides, obviously no threat. She does not bow her head in mortification, instead she gazes upon him boldly as if it were the most natural thing in the world. As if he were the most natural thing in the world. He nods finally and she comes closer, her bare feet making no noise upon the ground.

She sits on the other side of the fire from him, gazing at his face. Finally, he speaks, "Do you find me so hideous?"

"I do not," she answers softly, watching him. "I was simply hoping that you were the one I sought." Her voice is soft, yet with an almost earthy tone to it. "Man of stone, heart of human, mind of demon," she quotes calmly, "You who knows the ways of the earth by magic."

His eyes gazed upon her lithe form. She was clothed only in a shirt that was not her own, that was obvious. She wore it as if disgusted by the feel. "Perhaps. Perhaps not." Her hair was long and silvery brown, a shade that would blend into the forest. Yet she chose to be seen now. "What do you want?"

The woman was silent for a long time, "A savior."

"I'm not in that line of work," he replied.

Finally, she lowered her eyes to the campfire, "I see. They told me it was foolish to hunt a legend." She sighed softly.

"Who are you?" he offered in the silence.

She lifted her eyes once again, large brown eyes that seemed wild as the wind above. "I have no name in your tongue, you may call me what you will, that is, only if you agree to help us."

The man's stony lips pressed together a moment and he sipped his drink. After swallowing, he looked back at her, "What do you need help with?" he asked resigned.

"My people are being hunted, our prey are being hunted. Humans threaten to destroy our homes. They look for a substance that glitters like stars but is a rock. Many come, we do not know from where but they dig into our mountains. I have heard from listening that their leader seeks this stone for it has great power. We are no match for these humans."

The man's eyes narrowed slightly, "What are you?"

"I am one with the wild. Humans call my people wolves."

Silence fell between them once more, the man sipped his drink once again, mulling over his thoughts. "And how did you know about me?"

"My people have passed a legend down from mother to cub, though the ages of a warrior who speaks with the earth and can command it to his will. Who has the speed of the wind, with a body blessed with the hardness of stone."

"Blessed? Hardly a blessing," he replied, glowering at his cup.

She tipped her head to the side slightly, "You take for granted what you hold then. It is not wise to waste what one has killed. It is not wise to not use the skills you have to feed your young. It is the way of the forest."

She regarded him from across the campfire, both silent for a long time. "And what exactly do you want me to do? Go chase down every would-be treasure hunter and kill them?"

"Hardly. It would be a waste of meat. Instead, I wish for you to find this stone they seek and destroy it or take it with you. Whichever would be best."

He looked at her from under his wiry light violet hair, "So you want me to go digging through everything just like everyone else is doing. I don't see how that will be any more of a waste of time." The wolf woman's eyes flashed as he watched her. "You know where it is, don't you?" he guessed.

"Possibly," she replied and returned his stony gaze for far longer then he would have thought possible. Finally, she dipped her head, "Generally. It is in a place where none dare to go, however."

He sighed, "That's how it normally is," he muttered. "You can lead me there, correct?"

She stood then, looking down at him, "I will return in the morning," she said then turned, walking out of the light, disappearing into the darkness.

He sighed, he hadn't wanted to agree to help her, but he couldn't just not help. He only hoped that she didn't get him killed. Perhaps this stone could cure him. Draining the last of his coffee, he stirred the fire somewhat and spread his travel blanket out on the ground. He caught sight of things moving in the forest. Their low backs moving in the moonlight between the branches. He had the feeling that he would be safe for the night.