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“I was wondering where you two had disappeared to.”
“And I was wondering if you were going to sleep through the night,” I growled a little at Storm as I set down the bag of fish. “Is Rune awake?”
“Yeah, he was waking up slowly, looking around his science area a bit… he’ll be out when he smells the food, no doubt.”
“Of course,” I said, unwrapping the fish. Storm looked over my shoulder with wide eyes.
“All of these were Scout. Except this one.” I pointed at the biggest one.
“It was the easiest target.”
“Don’t be so hard on yourself, Gray,” Scout said, sitting down next to the fish and pulling out his dagger to begin to prepare the fish for cooking. I lay my spear by my side and sat down next to Storm, and we leaned against each other. Scout carefully cut open the fish and pulled the bones out, glancing up. “The fire’s dying. Do either of you know fire magic?”
Storm and I glanced at each other, a sudden unease filling us. “I don’t like using magic,” I said.
“Me either,” Storm said.
“I see,” Scout muttered. “I have to admit it’s… difficult for me sometimes. But it’s possible to control magic like ours, you know.”
“And we can learn how to control it later, when we have to,” I said. “I don’t even know if Storm and I can still use magic.”
“Haven’t used it since… that?”
“Not even a little.”
“I see. Does Rune know fire magic?”
“Not that I know of.”
I heard Rune walk out of the shelter. “Did someone say something about fire magic?”
I glanced back at him to see his ears flattened a little bit in reluctance, and his paws cupped in front of him, containing a small flame. I closed my eyes before rolling them so that neither he nor Scout would see it, and be able to see the pang of guilt in my stomach. I loved my siblings… all of them. And that meant that Storm and I spent time with all of them. All sixteen of our siblings. We sometimes missed out on knowing things about them, sometimes things that were important to them. Storm seemed to slump against my back a little bit, telling me that he felt the same way I did.
“I never knew you knew fire magic, Rune,” he said. “How long have you been learning it?”
“Not long, and I’ve been learning more than just fire magic. I like it, though. It’s interesting. And besides, it might help me with my work here…”
“That makes sense,” I said as Rune knelt in front of the fire pit, lowering his hands to the pit and laying the flame on a log, keeping them close to the flame as it grew.
While Rune made sure the fire was strong enough, Storm and I took up some pointed sticks that weren’t quite straight or long enough to use as spears and put the fish onto them as Scout prepared them, and when they were all cooked, we ate almost as good as we could in the village, with leftover berries and even a little bread, even if that was the last of our food from the village. By the time we were finished, the moon was high in the sky, just about to disappear behind a cloud of dust.
“So we’re about to start,” Rune muttered, his ear flicking anxiously.
“What do you need us to do?” I asked, the tip of my tail curling a little in contentment.
“I… don’t actually know yet…” Rune said as he scratched at some of the fur at the base of his neck. “I mean, what I need is some soil, clean water, seeds of some type of plant, something to hold each plant in… and eventually I’ll need dust, I have containers that I can keep it in, I just need to figure out how to isolate it. We can worry about the dust later. First we need the plants… and the rest of it…”
“I can go looking for some plants,” Scout said.
“Do you know of any that we can grow indoors?”
“I’ve never tried to grow any indoors, but I do know of some that grow faster than others. Would that be helpful?”
“Yeah… actually, that’s a good thing to keep in mind. Thanks, Scout. I can make some containers for the plants, and put soil in them. I think the cleanest water we have is ocean water…”
“And what are you going to make the containers out of, Rune? I may be able to help gather materials for that, and then help gather soil.” Storm asked, leaning forward. His wings were resting on the ground, one of them draped a little bit over my tail.
“Probably wood, I’ll treat it with magic to make it more suitable though. You can help me get the wood.”
“I’ll go hunting,” I suggested.
“Or just explore the area,” Scout said.
“Maybe I should go with Gray,” Storm said. “Just in case.”
“I’d appreciate the company,” I said. “But didn’t you want to help Rune? He’ll need help getting the wood.”
“True…” Storm said, a slight growl in his voice. I stood up, nudging his wing out of my way with my tail.
“I’ll be okay,” I said. “I won’t go far.”
“You could also go fishing,” Scout said with a slight laugh in his voice. I let myself growl in frustration.
“Or you could do that, and I could keep being a hunter like I want to be…”
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