Chapter 4

Crepsley was pleased when Arra was feeling a lot better the next night. All she needed was a little bit of rest, and she was good as new. And that wasn't really a good thing because now she was hyper and wanted to begin their race again as they neared the mountain.
As the mountain came into view, Arra said, "Let's race, Larten!"

"Ugh, you still want to do that?" He asked, feeling tired; he was up all day nursing her back to health. "I am really tired right now."
"What? Why?"

"I was just busy all day." Her eyes narrowed.

"I never asked for you to take care of me, you know!" She yelled. "You did that all on your own!"

"I know that! I am not blaming you, Arra," he said, rubbing his eyelids. "Never mind."

"But," her voice softened. "I am grateful, Larten. If not for you, I'd probably never get better." His heart fluttered at the gentility of her voice. He cleared his throat, and smiled.

"I am glad I was able to help."

"Fine; we don't have to race," she told him. "If you don't want to."

"Thank you. I would rather save my energy until we get up to the mountain and sleep the whole day without any complications."
"If we get there before dawn, I want to whack some people."

"Arra, you may have to wait a little longer in order to do that. We still have a lot of ground to cover, though we are extremely close."

"Alright." She sighed. "You're right; we won't get up there by dawn!" She kicked a rock at her feet in order to keep herself occupied. She growled when it was kicked into a hole. She ran to retrieve it, but felt something cold nuzzle against her face as she knelt down. She looked up to see a wolf cub, panting slightly at her. She smiled, picking him up and running to Crepsley. "Look, Larten!" She said giddily. "It's a wolf cub!"

"Oh, so it is," Crepsley said, observing the young pup. "I wonder if there are any more around here?"
"Probably; I don't think he's gotten that far from his pack." Arra looked around for other wolves to appear, but none did. "We can't leave him, Larten."
"What are we supposed to do then?"
"Can't we take him for a little bit until we run into another wolf?"
"Arra… what if we do not?"
"Then…" She looked down at the cub in arms, who was yapping excitedly. "I don't know… Come on, Larten, please!" Crepsley thought about it and realized that if he didn't give in, she would be all flirty again like she was with the rabbits. Not wanting to experience that again, even though he secretly enjoyed the closeness between them, he agreed. She giggled, clutching the dog, which licked her face. Crepsley smiled at her affection towards animals. He approached it, and patted its head. It licked his fingers. "See?" Arra said. "He likes you! He needs a name!"
"A name? He is not a dog, Arra," he told her.

"So? He needs a name! Oh, look." She pointed to a streak on the wolf. "Let's call him Streak!"

"Streak? It's a cute name."

"Good!" Arra smiled. "Let's go, Streak!" The cub yapped and seemed eager to travel with them.

On the way up there, Streak bolted out Arra's arm so fast that she almost fell to the ground if Crepsley didn't catch her shoulders.
"You alright?" He asked her.

"Yeah, but what's with Streak?" She asked, looking for the cub, who bolted out of nowhere.

"I see him over there." Crepsley pointed at Streak, who was growling and baring his teeth menacingly. "What is he growling at?"
"I'm not sure," Arra replied, walking towards him. Streak paid no attention her as she called his name, and continued to growl. Arra looked up and screamed.

"What is it?" Crepsley ran to her and saw why she screamed. A giant grizzly bear was hovering over them with a ravenous look in its eyes, drool dripping from its mouth. It growled, and advanced on them, ready to attack and kill them. Crepsley growled and flexed his fingers. Arra got up and was ready to fight as well. The bear roared, attempting to pounce on them. They were too fast for him. Crepsley managed to strike the bear's head with his long nails, drawing blood. Arra was about to attack, but Crepsley intervened.

"What the hell, Larten?" She yelled.

"I do not need you to fight! I can handle this!" He told her.

"What?"

"Just go, please!"

"Why, you son of a…" She began to say, but he cut her off.

"Arra, go, now!" He yelled, facing the bear by himself. He drowned out her yells at him and focused on attacking the bear. The bear growled when it was hit once more. It managed to slice Crepsley on his neck, resulting in yet another scar. Crepsley attacked and attacked until the bear was almost out of energy. However, he was almost out of energy as well. Panting heavily, he clutched his side which was bleeding heavily. He closed his eyes, coughing up blood onto the snowy ground. He wiped the blood off his lips and paid no further attention to it. He unsheathed his knife and advanced to the bear, which seemed to have overcome its lack of energy much to Crepsley's dismay. Crepsley's body was worn out, and he couldn't approach the bear without falling onto the ground, panting. The bear took this as an advantage and was getting to ready to pounce and smash the orange-haired vampire. As it was getting ready, Arra sprung into action, unsheathing the sword Vanez had given her and cut down the fierce grizzly bear. It roared in pain and attempted to slice her, but the wound was too deep and it fell to the ground, dead. Arra landed on her feet, spat on the ground, and put her sword back. She glanced over at Crepsley, who was still on the ground, and ignored him.

"Arra," he said, struggling to get up. She continued to ignore him. She picked up Streak, who following after her, and sat on a rock, crossing her legs. "Arra," he said again.
"What do you want?" She asked, not attempting to keep her bitterness masked.
"I wanted to thank you. For saving my life."

"Why didn't you let me fight?" She yelled.

"Well, I did not want you getting hurt…"
"I wouldn't have gotten hurt, you idiot!" Streak whined as she yelled. She patted his head to show she was not angry with him. He yapped and licked her hand. "Why did you just push me away when I tried to help?"

"You would have slowed me down," he said, but immediately regretted it when a flash of pain streaked across Arra's face. Her eyes narrowed and she glared at him in a way that frightened him to no end.

"I would've slowed you down?" She shrieked. Streak whined loudly, and jumped out of her arms. He did not leave completely, but hid behind a tree until the yelling subsided. "So, you think I am weak because I am female?"
"I never said that!"
"You didn't have to! It was implied, Larten!" She got up from the rock, and turned away from him. Walking away, she yelled, "You jerk!" Crepsley grabbed her wrist to stop her from going further. She turned to face him, angry tears in her eyes. "You don't have any faith in me," she said in a soft voice which broke his heart; it was worse than when she was yelling. "I hate this. You know what, Larten? I don't want to do this anymore! If you aren't going to have any faith in me, then this is over!"
"W-what?" His voice cracked.

"No more! Our mating agreement? Yeah, over!"

"Arra," he said softly. "You don't know what you're talking about."
"Of course I do. This is first time I'm actually making sense here. It is over, Larten. I can't do this anymore." She wrenched her wrist out of his grasp; though, she did not need to. At her words, his grip loosened. She walked away from him, Streak galloping toward her since the yelling was over. Crepsley didn't move; he couldn't believe his ears.

"I-it's over?" He asked himself, staring at her long black hair. He crossed his arms, feeling something in his cloak. Remembering the English rose he had picked for her, he took it out, pleased to see that it was still in good condition. He smiled at the lovely color; though red would have been better, there weren't any red flowers near there. He sighed, putting it behind his back, and following her.

Crepsley found Arra walking slowly with Streak by her side, kicking rocks into tiny puddles. She picked up a glob of snow and threw it against a tree. His mouth went dry; he had a feeling she pretended either the tree or snowball was him. He approached her, clearing his throat to make his presence known.

"Go away," she said at once.
"Arra, just hear me out. Listen, I am sorry for what I did and said. It was stupid of me to think you would have gotten hurt. You are a fighter, but I did not think of that when facing the bear. The only thing I was thinking about was your safety. And…" He took her hand in his. "I do have faith in you. You are the most incredible person I have ever met. You are able to fight so well, and I was being stupid."

"You really think that?" She asked.

"Of course I do," he replied, stroking her hand with his thumb. "I do not want our mating to end."

"Neither do I. I was stupid to break it off over this."

"No. It was all my fault." He presented the rose to her, with sheepish smile and a tint of pink creeping upon his cheeks. "I picked this a week ago, but kept it hidden because I never found the right time." She took it from his hands, and smiled back.

"Thank you, Larten," she said. He stroked her cheek with his index finger and brought his lips to hers. They shared a sweet kiss, and when they broke apart, Arra said, "I love you." Her words sent a streak of shock through his body; he had never expected those words to escape her lips, and he had no idea how to respond. Well, the most appropriate response would be to tell her he loved her back, but the thought of doing that made his heart pound. He merely smiled, and kissed her again. Arra was confused, but she did not say anything. She just let him kiss her. Streak yapped with happiness at their reconcile. However, a bark came from behind the trees. Streak yapped louder. His family was waiting for him.

"It looks like it is time we part," Crepsley said to the cub. He knelt down, allowing Streak to lick his hand. He licked Arra's hand as well. Streak yapped once more and joined his pack, who barked their thanks to Crepsley and Arra. They ran off until they were out of sight. Arra smiled and returned to Crepsley's side. His hand found hers, and they walked together as they were nearing the mountain.

"Arra?" Crepsley asked.
"Yes?"

"I love you, too."