New chapter! Please R&R
"Katsuye!" Came the ear-splitting scream from atop the cliffs.
The girl merely rolled her eyes at Teru who was dragging one of the corpses along the ground, its blood leaving a small trail behind in the sand.
More of the wolves had come out of the cliffs, eager to greet the returning hunting party. Cries of joy and satisfaction came from them as they took in the sight of the cattle.
"Let me through… let me through…" A woman was pushing her way through the group, her short brown hair flew out wildly around her and her white pelt seemed to glow in the moonlight. A look of shock overcame her face as she gazed at the cattle.
"What did you do?" Came her measured question for her daughter who dropped the body of the calf onto the ground with a thud.
"We brought dinner home." Came the snarky reply.
The woman looked up sharply, "You know Katsuye. You know that we cannot kill the cattle. Do you think we can just get away with this?" She practically screamed. The voices of the wolves died down as they gazed at their pack leader and her pup.
"There's no elk! The herds haven't returned from the migration yet! What do you expect us to eat? Berries? Ferns? Do you want to die?" Katsuye placed her hands on her hips, firmly standing her ground.
"Well I'd rather die of hunger than being shot for stealing and killing these cows."
"Calm down San. Katsuye has a point." A large white male wolf stepped forward. "The herds will return in a few days, these will last us until then."
But San only shook her head quietly as the wolves dug into their meals. "But you don't understand what this means…"
"Oh whatever. Why do you care so much about Iron Town? Those people have enough food to last them an ice age. And do you see them helping us out? They won't even notice the cows are gone." Katsuye spat at her mother before leaping up into the caves to tend to the festering bite marks on her arm.
Ashitaka shook his head sadly as he examined the body of the larger white dog. Large tears in his throat were shaped like they came from very large canines.
"This one's gone too." Takeo shouted to him from the other side of the clearing. "It looks like he took a knife to the skull."
Ashitaka stood and gazed around. Blood was spotted on some of the blades of grass and the grass was flattened where the large bodies of the cattle had been drug away.
"So we're missing a calf, two cows and the bull." Takeo, his apprentice, had come to stand beside him, wiping blood onto his pants.
"It was the wolves wasn't it?" That brought Ashitaka back to earth.
"Probably. They don't have much to hunt." As much as it hurt Ashitaka to say it, he knew it was true. But he couldn't understand why San would allow her wolves to do this. And why she herself would kill one of the dogs. It wasn't like her, at least, not how he remembered her. But he of course hadn't seen her for eleven or twelve years now. People were bound to change in that much time.
"We have to report it back." Takeo called out to him and Ashitaka took one last look into the black trees before following his apprentice.
"Why did you do this San?" He said quietly under his breath before turning to follow Takeo back to the village.
Little was he aware of the glinting black eyes that watched him from the underbrush. They narrowed in suspicion as he left and when he was gone, Katsuye stood up. She wasn't expecting the humans to have arrived so quickly. And she was most surprised to hear the older man whisper her mom's name. She thought that her mother had nothing to do with Iron Town's people. How did he know her?