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As Shirou stood in the doorway of the abandoned building, he cast his crimson gaze around, tightening the grip on the strap of the shoulder bag he had with him: a bag filled with the various supplies he thought he would need for what he was about to do. He had spent the past several months looking up anything and everything he could get her hands on in pertaining to the Wolf Sage clan, and he had got himself as prepared and ready as possible for the day that he would meet them and (hopefully) sign the contract. He had even risked alerting others to what he was doing by attempting to gleam information from those affiliated with other animal clans – though that had proved a daunting and troublesome task as many were not so forth coming with that sort of information, nor where they out there and in peoples faces about their affiliations. Still, the male was confident that he was making the right choice here, and it was enough to have him stepping the rest of the way through the threshold of the doorway and into the abandoned building properly. He released his grip on his bag and turned on the heel of his typical black colored shinobi sandals long enough to shut the steel door behind himself and throw the lock in place.

Shirou had scouted out this location for a reason: it was in a remote location outside of the village, and thus away from prying eyes or possible distractions. It was abandoned, and from what he had gathered when he looked into the buildings history it had been shut down for over ten years, and no one bothered to even come around anymore. There was the typical spray paint, various graffiti, and even some garbage strewn about, but that hardly mattered considering the purpose he wished to use this place as – a silent and quiet place for him to fulfill his purpose of making the pact with the Wolf Sage clan. He had some, but still very little, idea of what exactly was going to happen and as the thought of how wrong this could all go fluttered briefly across his mind, he felt a shot of adrenaline rush through him as well as his heart begin to race. Fear: it was a horrible emotion at the best of times, and made all that much worse during times like these where he needed all of the motivation and determination he could get. The fact that no one knew he was out here, that no one would likely come looking for him for a long while to come should something painful, horrible, or even deadly occur? Well, that didn’t help matters any.

But, Shirou was as prepared for this task as he could be, and he was not going to back down now. So, with his shoulder bag still in place Shirou made his way into the center of the large factory room – the machinery that had once been there, the rust of which still stained the concrete ground, had long been removed. After kicking several various pieces of garbage out of his way and clearing a decent sized space – honestly, he had no idea how much room that he would truly need – he finally dropped his bag down and sighed, loudly: though not as loudly as the sound of her book and item filled bag hitting the ground. The noise echoed about the spacious room and it was yet another reminder of just how very alone Shirou was at the moment. ‘Hopefully I won’t be for long...’, he found himself thinking as he took to his knees in the center of the cleared out space – near the bag, but with enough room to comfortably work.

The process of meeting a summon didn’t tend to vary all that much; there was some differences between the various animals and clans, but all in all the basic method seemed to be the same – a method Shirou had studied well and was now ready to put into practice. He refused to trick himself into thinking this would be pleasant: if something went wrong it was going to go badly. Creating a summoning contract was a very complex and even tedious thing: a form of space-time ninjutsu that would have him essentially leaving where he was to go where his summon was located. If it went wrong there was no telling where or how he would end up, and that was if it worked at all. There was also the fact that the Wolves he was hoping to be able to bond with would reject her all together, or refuse to heed her call at all. With a frown Shirou shook his head, hoping that by doing so it would shake away the thoughts of failure from his mind: it was now or never. If he didn’t do this now than it was never going to end up getting done, and he would never figure out if this would actually work, and what the outcome would be. Raising his right hand to his mouth, lips parting as it neared, he used a sharp canine to pierce the thumb hard enough to puncture the skin and allow sweet blood to flow. As his heart began to pound in his chest, the sound echoing through his ears and filling the otherwise silent void (or factory, as it were) around him, Shirou dropped his hand to the ground and allowed his blood and chakra to flood the floor beneath her. His chakra flowed out around him like a pride of wolves taking up a hunting formation, and as his pulse quickened even further he began to feel a tug, or pulling sensation: which both terrified him and yet gave him hope all the same. Even though every instinct of survival within his being was screaming for him to resist, to stop what he was doing and flee in terror and save himself, Shirou instead threw himself into the feeling, allowing it to take him and consume him entirely. The very world around Shirou distorted and disappeared, the factory vanishing before his eyes, not just in sight but also in sound and smell. The silence of the factory was replaced with the sounds of nature - birds chirping, crickets off in the distance, the wind whipping through the grass, and the scent of gasoline and rust was replaced by the smell of earth and the dampness of fresh water. Even the air changed: going from dry and stale and hot to a cool breeze that held humidity and moisture. It was Shirou’s sight that returned to him last, and as it did the various shapes and colors of nature came into view.

Though, it was not just nature that his gaze took in.

Standing on a large boulder before him stood the largest wolf that Shirou had ever seen – and he had seen a few in his lifetime. Even the ninken of the Inuzuka paled in comparison to this massive predator. Shirou should have been afraid, he should have been utterly terrified. Instead, he felt only a rush of excitement and joy: it had worked! He had been transferred to the summoning lands, and more importantly he had apparently – and hopefully – just found one of the members of the very pride he wished to make a contract with! Of course, considering the massive size of the wolf before him and the fact that they were pride animals and thus more were likely lurking nearby watching but invisible within the surrounding forest, he could be about to be served up as an excellent meal. Shirou hoped that wasn’t the case, though.

”It has been a very long time since a human has come to our home. We came here with the purpose of avoiding them: they kill and hunt for sport, or because they do not understand us and thus fear us. Yet, I smell no fear on you, child. Why have you come here? It must have taken a great deal of power on your part; no easy task to come here without the proper means already in place.”, the voice was gentle and yet stern, and it took Shirou a moment to gather his senses and realize that the wolf before him was the one whom had done the speaking. It was common knowledge that summon-able animals were far more intelligent and capable than your average worldly ones, and it wasn’t exactly that which had struck him momentarily stupid – it was the fact that he was not being torn to pieces and eaten. Even in all of his preparation, and all of his planning, Shirou had never stopped to allow himself to consider what would happen should he be denied by the wolves, or what would happen to begin with when he actually got here – if it would have worked at all. Perhaps because he silently and unconsciously had feared what would happen should he fail, or should he be rejected, and he feared it so much that he subconsciously worried it would have stopped him from ever trying to begin with. Yet, here he was. Here he was on his knees, before a massive and yet beautiful creature, whom was speaking to her and calling her a child: something which didn’t offend her so much as give her some kind of strange joy. To a creature as large and massive, and likely old, as the wolf before her? He was a child, a little pup – or so he hoped to soon be considered.

“So disrespectful that he does not respond to your questioning. Perhaps we should eat him before he can flee.”, came a sudden voice to his left; male in nature unlike the definite feminine one which had spoken already. Yet, despite how much Shirou wished to respond he kept hiz focus on the wolf in front of him: there was no doubt in Shirou’s mind for even a second that this wolf called the shots: with the Alpha before him it mattered little what the rest thought – even with them voicing their opinions they would not act without permission.

Before Shirou could attempt to respond another voice chimed in, this one also male and yet far younger sounding than the first, “Aww, don’t eat him that quick… there’s no fun in that. I love a good chase! He looks like he could be fast… and the faster they are the more fun it is!” Though no one else commented Shirou became very aware of movement around him, that which differed from the much smaller animals of nature in this forest-like place. It made him realize quickly that he was indeed surrounded, and with the heaviness of the sounds it was no mistake for him to guess that the other wolves of this pride were large as well – perhaps not to the equality of the Alpha herself, but definitely bigger than Shirou.

“Silence, let the child speak.”, came the Alpha’s voice once more, and it was at that point that Shirou squared his shoulders – not in a disrespectful or challenging way, but in one of confidence and determination. He was here with a purpose, and he would be damned if he allowed the fear of maybe being eaten stop him from at least attempting to reach his goal.

Whatever happened from here on out would likely be fated to doom or succeed depending on how he responded to the question the Alpha had posed, and so it was to her that Shirou spoke clearly and carefully to, picking and choosing his next words with the upmost care as he responded to the inquiry, “If it would not offend my name is Shirou. I have come here in hopes to seek out and sign a contract with you. I wish to be an asset to your pride, as well as to be able to call upon your pride for assistance should I need it.” As Shirou finished speaking he became aware of how very silent it was around him: it was as if the very forest itself had hushed itself to focus on this conversation – not a single animal moved, not a single chirp was heard, even the wind which moments ago had been blowing so carefree and constant had suddenly stopped – causing the very grass in which he was kneeling in to be utterly still. Yes, the entire worlds focus seemed to be pin pointed on this very moment.

It was a long moment before the Alpha spoke, longer still in Shirou’s mind whose fate was lying in the balance: whom had every sort of scenario playing through her mind of what could or would be said next, or what would happen. Had he made a mistake in being so blunt with his wantings and intentions? It hadn’t sat well with him the idea of lying, or of attempting to fudge the truth, and he had also feared that the wolves would smell such deceit as easily as sniffing out their next meal. He hadn’t even wanted to risk it, besides it wasn’t her style to lie: he wanted this contract forged properly, not forced. If he was going to rely on the wolves for help, and they were going to rely on her, than there needed to be a bond of trust formed. He just now hoped he had made the right decision. “Many have come before you seeking this same purpose. Many have tried to threaten us, or bribe us, or even lie to us. They wished to use us for their own self gain while defeating the purpose of how a pride works entirely. Yet it has been such a long while since anyone has come before us truthfully and honestly: a long time since the last person who came around laying their intentions down on the proverbial table as you humans would call it for all to know and see. I’m intrigued.”, the Alpha responded.

Shirou didn’t know what to say to this, apparently it seemed her honesty had paid off in some kind of way, and yet the Alpha did not state whether or not Shirou would be allowed or denied to form this bond, this contract, to join this pride, this family. Around him, Shirou became aware of whispers; the pride which was in their various places – many of whom had come out of hiding and which were now sitting around and openly watching – were speaking in hushed tones among themselves as to what the Alpha had just stated: some even going so far as to mention names of those who had come before and failed in their attempt to make a contract – those who had lied and tried to bribe their way into the pride. Before Shirou could even think of what to say, or how to respond, the Alpha cleared her throat in a pointed manner and silence fell once more. “You spark my interest more and more, child. Your very demeanor puts you at odds with other humans who have come before: you do not twitch, you show no fear. Your curiosity is to be expected of course: I did never accept nor deny your quest yet with what I previously spoke of.” The Alpha paused there, and Shirou could only assume that it was to gather her thoughts of what he wanted to say next. “A pride is only as strong as its weakest link. We protect our own, and in exchange expect the same kind of protection back. You speak of wishing to call upon us for aid, and in return us being able to do the same with you. I wish to know the skill you possess: I wish to see just how much of a valuable asset you would make to our pride should I choose to accept you.” Around him, the other wolves began to twitch and shift, a mixture of excitement and annoyance filling the air – some had been hoping for an easy meal, others were excited to see what was about to happen. The Alpha paid little attention to any of them, and thus so Shirou did the same – even as her heart began to race and beat even faster – the sound once again like drums in his ears, yet not loud enough to block out or dim what was spoken next.

“I will give you a choice, and you need to think clearly and carefully about it. You have two options: you can walk away now and leave this place for forever: we will not hunt you, we will not go after you or attempt to harm you in any way, it will be as if you never came here in the first place. Or, you accept to take my trial at which time should you pass you will be accepted into the pride, but should you fail you will be hunted by the very pride you failed to join – and make no mistake, we will kill you. The choice is yours – and I expect silence while the child decides.” The last remark was made to the rest of the pride, all of whom fell silent immediately – when the Alpha spoke they listened after all. Had Shirou bothered to look around he would have noticed that the fidgeting and moving had likewise ceased: the world around him was once again still as stone and just as quiet. Yet, he didn’t look around, instead he kept his gaze focused completely and totally on the Alpha before him whom still had not judged from the rock on which he stood. The choice that Shirou was being given was an important one: he had the chance to walk away now, to return to his world having forfeited his chance and yet very much alive and well – better yet, he wouldn’t be hunted to the ends of the earth by the very pride he had decided not to try and join. Or, he could take the Alpha’s trial – whatever that trial was, as no information on what task or tasks lay ahead of him had been given – and should he pass he would be welcomed into the pride, but should he fail he would be hunted and killed as the Alpha had made entirely plain. He had come so far, he had prepared for this day for longer than he was willing to admit. This was something he wanted above and beyond anything else. He had strived for this, it had passionately driven him forward in all of his training and in all of his preparation more so than anything else in his entire life. So he couldn’t back down now, could he? Even if it meant his life was lost should he fail.

From around her he heard whispers break out from the other wolves, mostly wondering what her choice would be, others betting that he would simply walk away – those who spoke such assuming he would be too afraid or too terrified to go on with the trial. Yet, there were a few who likewise seemed to remain quiet, much like the Alpha himself, as they awaited her response with curiosity in their gazes: would the human ‘child’ really have the bravery to go on with some unknown task when the loss of her life was the consequence should he fail?

“I will participate in this trial of yours.”, the words left his naturally soft pink lips before he could stop himself, before he could really think about the true consequences of failure. Shirou had studied too hard, had prepared for too long, to allow the fear of his own mortality undoing stop him now. If he should fail, if he should be sentenced to death for his own failure? Then at least he had tried, at least he had put forth his best effort to forge this contract. It was all he could ask of himself – he was unwilling to back down, not after having come this far. He would never be able to forgive himself if he turned back now. And so, from around him, silence suddenly fell – those who had been expecting him to take the easy way out suddenly shocked into complete and utter silence. Not even the whisper of the wind made a noise as the pride focused their attention on Shirou. Those who had been curious before now showed even greater interest, while those who had thought he would fail were looking at him as if they had never quite seen someone like him before, as if he were some kind of oddity to them. But, it was not to them that Shirou gave his focus and attention, but to the Alpha who had cocked her head to the right, ears twitching, in a curious manner. The Alpha seemed to consider Shirou for a long moment, a moment in which Shirou kept himself entirely quiet and still as if afraid if he twitched the Alpha would suddenly reconsider the offer.

“You certainly are a curious child, aren’t you? I give you the offer to flee with your life and to never be hunted, yet you choose to take this trial anyway, even if it could cost you your life should you fail. Tell me, child, why is this?”, the Alpha spoke as she moved, jumping down gracefully from the boulder he had up until that point been perched upon. Despite her large size she moved with the kind of grace and skill worthy of a predator such as herself. Yet, even as the Alpha approached, sitting on her haunches once he was within six feet of Shirou, Shirou felt no fear. Something told her that the Alpha would not change her mind, and he believed this feeling even though he had no reason to, even though he did not know this wolf before him any better than he knew any other perfect stranger.

“I have prepared for this day for a very long time. I have studied everything I could get my hands on. I have stepped outside of my comfort zone on more than one occasion to retrieve any and all information I thought would be helpful. I have poured my very being, my very soul, into this chance of becoming aligned with you and your pride. No matter the price of my failure I could never walk away – to do that would be worse than the thought of dying should I fail. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I didn’t take this chance after so long. I have wanted nothing but this chance, and I cannot turn my back on it now.”, Shirou responded, once again deciding to stick with a honest and truthful answer instead of attempting to lie or act big and macho. He was definitely afraid – he didn’t want to die any more than anyone else did after all and he certainly didn’t have a death wish – but he wasn’t going to allow that fear to stop him from running whatever trial this Alpha had for him, not if it meant that his preparations could mean something in the very end, and that his goal could be reached.

“I see. Well then, your trial will be this: you will hunt one of the beasts lurking within this forest, a bear who has been an annoyance to us for quite some time, a beast who has eluded our grasp for months – one we call the Hatter. Should you succeed in bringing this beast to us you will be welcome into the pride with open arms, a member for the rest of your life. You may use any means at your disposal to do this task: cunning and wit is as welcomed in my pride as pure brawn and strength after all.”, the Alpha spoke, causing whispers to suddenly break out around them once more: these sounded curious: would this human child be able to complete such a task when the rest of them had continuously failed to capture this Hatter – whatever it was, as the actual type of beast this creature was had never been mentioned.

Still, even with this lack of information – which he was beginning to think was purposeful to keep Shirou on his toes at this point – he nodded in understanding. “I will complete this task for you. Where can I find this Hatter you speak of?”, Shirou asked, noticing several growls of what he hoped to be approval breaking out from around him: it seemed the pride was taking a liking to him due to his willingness to complete this task, even without all of the information.

The Alpha chuckled, clearly amused at this point, and gave a nod of her head towards the left of the clearing. “To the south of us. In a hole in the side of the giant mound of earth. The hole is too small for us to get into so we cannot help you, but you are the perfect size to go in yourself. All you need to do is to get this Hatter out of its hole and we’ll do the rest. Be warned, he is a tricky fellow, and this will be no easy task. He also bites. If you are ready then follow us, child, and we shall begin.”

Shirou had no reason not to get this done with immediately: he preferred trying this task as quickly as possible as to not loose his nerve. They still had no told him what kind of creature this Hatter was, all that had been mentioned was that he – as it definitely seemed to be a he – lived underground. All he had to do was make it into his home, chase him out, and the wolves would do the rest. It sounded simple, but he had a feeling that this task was going to be anything but – after all, if it was that simple why were the wolves having him do it, when they could have just done it themselves. Shirou stood to his feet, ignoring the ache in her knees from having been kneeling for so long. “I’m ready.”, he spoke, doing so before he lost his nerve. He took a deep breath in and exhaled slowly, imagining blowing away all of his anxiety and fear in the process: it didn’t help, but he still wouldn’t back down.

“Then follow us.”, the Alpha spoke before taking off. The other wolves of the pride instantly followed, and so too did Shirou. It was hard to keep up, they were massive compared to her and had four legs compared to her two, but he fell in line soon enough, bringing up the rear as he did so; focusing more on the noises of movement around her than trying to keep the pride in sight as he went – it was a damn near impossible task after all in such thick foliage. So focusing on the sounds of the wolves it was, which thankfully was not a difficult task as their massive bodies made noise and caused the ground to vibrate. They weren’t bothering to keep quiet, either, which helped even further.

As his lungs began to burn, his heart racing as he ran all out to keep up with the pride, Shirou found himself wondering just how far away the home of this Hatter they wanted him to trick was. However, no sooner had the question crossed his mind than he suddenly found himself having to skid to a complete stop before smacking into one of the wolves who had brought up the rear of the pride as they ran. He stepped around the large creature and headed his way toward the Alpha who was once more sitting on her haunches. “Through there, child. That’s the hole… convince the Hatter to come out and you shall be welcomed to the pride. He will not come quietly, though, so be warned… many have tried and failed in this task.” Shirou simply nodded, gulping as he took a step forward toward this large hole. Surely enough as he got down on his knees and made his way inside he found that he could just barely fit and move – the wolves definitely wouldn’t have been able to.

Shirou moved slowly, finding that as he went there were holes in the earth every few meters that allowed just enough light to filter down to keep him from being completely blind and disorientated. He tried to keep track of the way he came, as well, trying to remember at which point he turned to the left or to the right as he needed. Yet, the deeper he went the more difficult this proved. After what seemed like twenty minutes or so, at least to him, he came into a giant open space where he found, currently sleeping, the largest rabbit he had ever saw. It too was just like the wolves – overly large and definitely out of place in the normal world. ‘Is everything this big here?’, Shirou found himself asking as he moved closer.

“Who are you? Why are you in my home?” Shirou was suddenly snapped out of his mental wondering by a voice, and as he looked over he saw that the previously sleeping rabbit was very much awake and staring at him with beady red eyes. Remembering what the Alpha had said Shirou posed her words carefully. “I’m sorry, I got a little lost… I was being chased by something and came in here to escape… then I got lost before I could find my way back out. If you could help me I’ll gladly leave you in peace?”

The rabbit stared at her for a moment in what could only be described as a grumpy fashion, seeming to take a great and long moment to consider this. The rabbit didn’t want him in its home, but it also didn’t like leaving the tunnels. Still, in the Hatters opinion the human was already stinking up the place, so he definitely had to go. “Fine child. Climb on my back and I shall remove you from my home… but don’t come wandering back in should anything try and eat you.” Shirou nodded in understanding, doing exactly as the rabbit had suggested and being careful not to pull too hard on the creatures fur less it change its mind and make his task all that much more difficult. Once in place the rabbit took off, leaving Shirou no recourse but to hold on as if his life depended on it – and it actually did, considering the Alpha’s rules to this trial of theirs.

The rabbit bobbed and weaved its way through the tunnels far quicker than Shirou himself had been able to move, and Shirou found himself quickly losing track of which way they were going – though the rabbit seemed more than aware of where it was headed. In far quicker time than it took her to arrive they were out, the rabbit skidding to a halt and Shirou going flying as the rabbit took in the sight of the awaiting wolves. Shirou tumbled to the ground, rolled, and quickly got up to her feet in time to see the Alpha position himself in front of the entrance to the rabbits home, effectively blocking the rabbit off from re-entering as the pride closed in in a tight circle around both Shirou and the rabbit itself. “Excellent job, Pup.”

“Pup? Pup?! You’re with them?! I should have known better! I should have! What do you want, Alpha?”, the rabbit responded, looking around nervously as several growls picked up from the wolves watching – apparently they hadn’t liked the rabbits tone of voice, which was a quick reminder of who exactly was in charge here.

Shirou wasn’t paying the rabbit much attention though, the fact that he had been called ‘pup’ instead of ‘child’ answered the silent question he had been afraid of posing: he was officially in the pride – well, minus the contract being signed, but considering what was going on that could wait a moment, especially as the rabbit made a move toward Shirou. The pride’s response was instant, moving to protect her, shifting from one large circle into two – one around the rabbit, the other around Shirou – though while the rabbits was threatening Shirou’s own was protective.

“Yes, the pup is with us. You know what I want, Hatter – leave my cubs alone. If I could get to you this easily, imagine how much more so I can should you keep messing with my own cubs. This is the only warning you’ll get, your games and playfulness have crossed the line. Leave them alone.”, the Alpha warned, several growls of agreement coming from the crowd. The rabbit nodded in response and the Alpha moved to allow the rabbit to pass back into its home before turning its attention to Shirou as the protective circle broke. “You did very well, pup. Come with us now...”, the Alpha spoke, and Shirou simply nodded and followed as they made their way back to the clearing they had started in. The wolves around were far more relaxed, some even goofing off playfully, and as they made it back to the clearing there were several small pups running around, playing and wrestling: this was the pride as it was without outside interference, a happy and carefree family.

“Do you have the scroll, pup?” Shirou nodded to the Alpha’s question, making his way back to the bag that had somehow ended up being transported with him, though he hadn’t noticed it before. He pulled forth from its straps a giant and blank scroll which he laid out flat. Without having to say anything he watched as the Alpha nipped at her paw just hard enough to draw a bit of blood and place it on the seal; an intricately designed paw print being left behind. Shirou followed suit, biting his thumb and drawing blood, fingertips being coated in it before he left his fingerprints on the seal, before writing his own name out in kanji underneath of this. Once complicated a hand seal was formed, chakra being used to bind the agreement into a permanent thing.

“Remember pup, call on us when you need us. From here on out you are now a member of this pride, and we look after our own. We too will call on you should we prove to need you. For now it is time for you to return home, as this world is not meant for you for long term. Close your eyes, focus on your home, and you shall be transported back there.” Shirou nodded, and as he took to his knees once more, the scroll and bag safely being put on his person, he closed her eyes and focused on home. As a roar rose up around him, he couldn’t help but smile – the noises and scents fading away and being replaced by those of the factory he had begun in. Opening his eyes, he found himself having returned to the same spot he had started in, with the same rusty metallic scents filling the air – but with a grin on his face. Standing to his feet and feeling a kind of connection he had never felt before, a connection that he knew bound his and the wolves, he made his way out of the factory and back toward the village – the scroll that was now his contract tucked securely under one arm, and knowing he would have to find a new way of carrying it around should he need it later on.

6000 / 5000

1000 WC remaining

Contract Signed


The legend of  Shirou Hyori: A pact forged? [Contract] JqW3Lnz

In our faces no emotion
With our fists clenched by our side
We let it burn
Under our skin

And we stand calm and collected
We’re so cool and in control
Don’t take comfort in this quiet
Because something might explode

||The Red King | The Clan | Manifestations | Scroll | Tracker | Battle | Personal||

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