The clearing was bright with moonlight, dew glistened on a spiderweb.Â The evening was chilly but sweat ran down her face and pooled at the base of her throat. There was no sound but her breathing as she carried the wolf, sticking close to the tree line in case she was seen.
It was slow going, carrying his weight, even with all the strength of the wolf within her.Â She knew where she was going.Â She never wanted to return there, but he was hurt.Â His own wolf strength might not be enough to heal him.
She plodded on.Â He groaned and she rubbed her cheek against his fur.Â “Shhh, love.Â Trust me and rest. ”
He wouldn’t change now.Â He was too weak and he wouldn’t have a chance in his human form.Â She walked on through the night, losing all track of time, putting one foot in front of the other.Â When it was nearly dawn and she didn’t think she could go much further, she saw smoke.
“Almost there, hang on.”Â She staggered to the door and kicked it with her boot.Â She closed her eyes for a moment, legs and arms shaking.Â It all came rushing back.
The porch looked exactly the same as when she had last seen it.Â The bench where the alchemist sat in the sun with the wooden box and garden tools by the door were exactly as she remembered.Â She should.Â He once saved her and this became her home.Â She heard his footsteps approachingÂ the door and for a moment, had to fight the urge to run away.Â The wolf in her arms held her in place.
He looked the same, only his hair had grown snow white. â€œJae! Come in!â€
The words came with more difficulty than the exhaustion would have caused her. â€œI need your help.â€