Slam!!! The sound seemed to echo in this place and the young dog's head was spinning, or at least it hurt enough to feel like that. Miroku was laying on his stomach as he tried to get over the dizzying feeling that he just had. Just great, that really hurt and he most likely scared all the rats away. Backing out, he was now out of the narrows and let out a sigh. He wasn't crazy, he wasn't going to go very deep in. After all, he didn't fully know the way throughout all of the Narrows tunnels. Sure the adults did since this was the main hunting ground for the pack after all and eventually he'd learn the way.
For now though it was best to stick close to the entrance even if he went inside. Well he ended up going inside anywhere, that's were the rats had gone to so it was only right to go in there. Though he wouldn't pursue for too long. Ears perked while his curled tail stayed up and close to himself, keeping out of the way. Sniffing about, his gold eyes searched the darkness for any signs of life. He could catch at least one rat.....right?
The Narrows was not a place the Aselle typically frequented, since she was more inclined to seek out birds and fish, but when times were tough, she supposed even someone like her had to do their part and get their paws a little dirty. Rats were easy, at least. Unfortunately they were so easy it was boring.
She loped through the streets, past the decrepit, rusted shells of the things masters once rode in, according to legend, dodging the horde of foul smelling rotties and squeezing her slim body quite easily through a space between two structures. From there she used her sharp nose to lead her down into the winding Narrows. She trotted casually, unconcerned about the dark and the damp. Because of her mutation, it was rare that anyone could sneak up on her.
Here Aselle could sense still-water, decaying leaves, mice and rats- oh yes...and...something else. She drank in the scent more deeply and then growled in surprise. A Tenderfoot? This far from camp? She couldn't scent another dog anywhere near by either.
It wasn't long before she found Miroku, dumbfounded at how spectacularly he failed that leap. She almost felt like wincing. What a poor little idiot. It was clear that he needed her help. The scentless sight hound chose to reveal herself, while he was recovering, sidling up next to him, shaking her head and tutting.
"Really! I've never seen such a bad jump. You're not even supposed to be out here alone you know" she scolded lightly. "It's dangerous. Next time you want to practice giving yourself a concussion take someone with you for the masters' sakes".
Aselle paused her tirade, not wanting to discourage him too much. At least he was trying to help his Pack. "Hunting rats are you? In the mood for a lesson"?
"AAAH!" Miroku exclaimed when Aselle started, causing the pup to jump.
Where in Paradise's name did she come from?!!! Oh yeah right....no scent. That's why he didn't know she had arrived. Ears flattened slightly as the adult scolded him. He couldn't just stand it, sitting in camp while waiting for someone to mentor him. Everyone he saw was busy, either tending to the pups, getting ready to have them, going out to hunt and not wanting to take a tenderfoot along, or they were resting from just getting back! It was hard to find someone to ask to teach him.
"Everyone was busy, there wasn't anyone I could ask without taking them away from what they were already doing." Miroku explained. "I looked but they were all doing something already. I couldn't take them away from what they were doing, it wouldn't do anything good."
Maybe his father could tell he was a bad jumper, perhaps that caused his father to distance himself from him before his death? Maybe. Miroku really wanted to help out, it was only right to do since this was his pack. His home, the people who kept him around and feed him after his parent's death. Hearing Aselle asked if he was hunting rats, he nodded his head. Though surprise was on his face when she asked if he was up for a lesson.
"Sure! Absolutely." Miroku agreed, his willingness to learn showing.
Aselle sighed as the pup brightened so eagerly, even after she'd given him a stern talking to. She couldn't help but be charmed by his enthusiasm, and true to her nature, changed her tune on a dime.
"I might have been a little too harsh. It's for your own safety, dear" she said in a softer tone. "Strays sneak into our territory all the time and they'd love nothing more to make lunch meat out of a cute little thing like you".
"Anyway", she said, flipping her long, furry ears."There's no one better to teach you how to hunt than me. I can kill circles around any Preyfinder in our pack you know" she concluded pompously.
But fortunately, the Saluki had plenty of information to back up her wild claims. "The first mistake you made was jumping too high and with too much force. That's a bird catching technique. With rats, the best thing to do is slam them with your paws first, and then bite. Like this".
She demonstrated by pretending there was a rat in front of her, crouching and tensing her muscles, and then sweeping her paws out on the ground in front of her. Then she raised her dainty paw and slammed it.
"Hard. You need to stun it."
Then, she swept her head low, fur flying as she pretended to land the killing blow with her smooth white fangs, which snapped and echoed in the damp alleyway. Aselle grinned, still crouched.
"I know, I just want to help out somehow. Plus I can't really stand to stay in camp all day." Miroku replied.
Cute? How was he cute? Sure he was only a year old but that didn't really make him cute. At least in the youngster's opinion it didn't. Copper like colored ears twitched as Aselle started to speak about her being the best one to teach him. She was? Left ear slanted while the right remained up all the way. Well he didn't see any reason to doubt her words. She was after all a adult as well as Preyfinder.
Gold eyes kept their gaze on Aselle as she spoke. Well at least he was doing something right in a way. The fact that he was doing a the bird catching technique made him feel a little better. Perhaps he should try catching a bird some time later?
"I believe so." Miroku answered as he rose to his paws and crouched down.
Curled tail stayed close to him as always. Raising a paw, he slammed it down on the ground. A stinging feeling went through his paw pads and into the rest of his paw due to how hard he brought it down course it still caused a shiver to go through him. As he lunged, he aimed poorly even though he was going for nothing. The pup ended up tripping over his own paws and ending up tumbling for a bit. Only to end up on his back.
"Pfft". The Saluki couldn't help but bark in laughter. This pup was as clumsy as anything, as if he was born with two left front paws.
"Did you piss off a spirit or something"? she accused, leaning down to pick him up easily by his still very malleable scruff and set him right. He was heavy for a kid, but she was a lot stronger than she looked.
"You've got the right idea, but your execution needs work. Be careful. There's no rush. Make sure you've got the right pose and force behind your paws before you strike. It's dark in here and they have worse vision than us. Dark is the best for a coat like yours".
She demonstrated again, emphasizing the graceful way she swept her paw down. Powerful, but restrained.
Ears slanted as he laid there. Well that was bad and it was only worse that there was a adult here. Sure Aselle was helping; trying to help in the pup's opinion. Curled tail lowered as Aselle accused him of upsetting a spirit. How could he upset a spirit? Well.....it was probably his father's spirit, the old male did seem disappointed in him for some reason, was this why? Did he somehow know that this would happen? Feeling Aselle grab hold of his scruff, his ears remained slanted along with his tail was slightly in between his legs.
Once on the ground, he didn't look at the tall preyfinder. What was there to say? Gold gaze was directed at the ground though his ears twitched to Aselle's voice and he glanced back at her. Seeing her demonstrate once more and mention how the dark would be better for his fur. Not like it was his fault his fur had such a strange coloring. Rising to his paws and crouching down, the curled tail slowly took it's place closer to him instead of between his legs.
The right force....okay. He sort of had that a few moments ago so he would still have it, even if he was feeling a bit down. Lifting a paw up, he brought it down on the ground the same way he had earlier if not a little lighter. Lunging forward, he managed to land on his paws and not tumble over himself, instead he just slid a little forward. Ears slightly perked as he glanced back at Aselle.
Aselle could tell from the Tenderfoot's body language that he'd had a severe blow to his ego. She must've said something tactless by mistake. She frowned. On one hand, she hadn't meant to hurt his confidence, and on the other he did need to get tougher because there were many dogs who were meaner and more critical in this lovely pack of theirs.
In the end, she couldn't stand to see that curly little tail tuck between his legs. She bent down, her graceful muzzle coming closer, and nudged him lightly on the shoulder in a gesture of affection.
"Yes". she agreed. "Perfect. I think you're ready to try the real thing now". At least he learned quickly from his mistakes.
It wasn't his ego that had been hit, just his uncertainties being triggered and brought to the surface. The only plan in life the youngster had was to serve the pack, sure he was young and still learning the ropes. He just couldn't see himself being anything but a preyfinder, which was fine. After all, preyfinders provided the pack with food. Fighting wasn't something the young male was sure on, sure if he was to defend the pack he'd do it but....why did he just feel unsure on if anything would come? Yeah there were things out there that threatened their safety.
To his surprise a nudge was given to him in the affection way. Something he wasn't expecting to happen since she wasn't his mother or any type of family besides being part of the same pack. Ears slanted in a confused manner though as she spoke it caused more surprise than confusion to come to his face then. Practice on the real thing? Wait.....that meant.
Glancing at the entrance to the Narrows, he stayed put there. Go in there alone? Course she didn't say alone but there was always the chance that she was gonna have him try on his own. Sure the dark would hide his appearance to the rats and he'd have to hunt on his own eventually, still though.
"O..okay." Miroku replied as he headed toward the entrance slowly.
"I'll be right behind you" she assured him softly, creeping up from behind Miroku in that silent way of hers. Her paws didn't even crunch the dead leaves below her- her step was that light and careful, and her light colored pelt dissolved into silvery grays in the darkness. In all ways except sight- she essentially disappeared. Miroku was easy enough to follow in the darkness for the sighthound, although even she felt uncomfortable in the cramped space of the Narrows. Dogs weren't supposed to live this way, out of the fresh air and sunshine. Rats must have foul spirits in order to do it themselves.
"Keep going that way. Not to fast or you'll spook them. Use your nose".
Ears twitched to Aselle's words as he glanced back at her. Would she? It was impossible to smell her coming let alone hear her until she spoke. Well he'd just have to put some faith into those words. Turning his gaze away from the Saluki mix, his gold gaze landed back on the entrance of the Narrows. Letting a low sigh leave him, Miroku started in with slow cautious steps.
No doubt about it though this place was dark, no wonder the rats couldn't see all that well. Following Aselle's advice, Miroku started to sniff around as he took slow steps. Several smells came to him, most were rats but there was something else down here. What was it? The scent was heavy and musky, rather strong odor. Perhaps the rats had something dead down here? A prey pile all their own? No. Rats weren't smart enough to do that.
The squeaky sound of a rat caused the Tenderfoot to halt in his tracks and look around. The darkness had darkened his fur to the eyes of others but one could still see faintly what colors he was. Sniffing the air again, his ears perked to the little claws on the ground in here. The sound echoed in the tunnels however it wasn't far away. Crouching down, Miroku took several steps forward before pausing once more. Golden gaze landed upon something small, appearing to be a black mass.
It was a rat! Creeping forward slowly, Miroku paused whenever he saw the black mass twitch. Once he deemed he was close enough, he raised a paw and brought it down quickly. Aiming for the rat, the paw landed on the long tail of the smaller creature. Causing for it to cry out in alarm. Whoops. Reacting quickly, he lunged forward and grabbed the small creature in his mouth. Silencing it by biting down on it.
Aselle's heart glowed with pride as she saw Miroku grab the rat skillfully. The kill wasn't as clean as she would've liked, but it was a drastic improvement from before, and he had something to bring back to camp.
"Well done" she cried. "Very good. Though next time try not to nearly bite it's head off as that's a little messy. Ideally you want to catch it by the spine and give it a shake to break it's neck".
Sniffing briefly, Aselle nudged past him. "Let me catch something too and then we can take them back. I won't have you outdoing me so quickly" she added slyly with a playful edge. After straying forward a little she turned back to him as something occurred to her.
"By the way kid, what's your name"?
Of course she had seen him around camp before and recognized him by smell, but it wasn't her job to keep tabs on the name of every pup.
True, the follow through need improvement but that was what he'd be doing until he was given the rank of Preyfinder. To be given that rank, it showed he was old enough and had the skill. Sure the Alpha probably want more fighters but fighting just didn't feel right to the youngster. Sure to keep himself alive he'd fight but....to do nothing but that? Placing the rat on the ground, he looked over his shoulder at Aselle.
"Okay." Miroku replied.
As she nudged past him, the youngster had his gold gaze follow her. It was a little hard to see her due to the darkness but Miroku was still able to see her. Oh...she didn't know his name? Well that really shouldn't be a surprise since there were many pups in the pack and Miroku was merely just one among them.
"I'm Aselle" she replied, mostly out of courtesy. It was far more likely he knew her name since pups idolized adult dogs.
She fell silent as she stalked and killed another rat, swiftly and expertly, the commotion happening further down the alleyway. When she was done, she loped back with the rodent hanging from her dainty maw. The Saluki set it down briefly and studied Miroku critically.
"Let's train together again. With my guidance you'll surpass all others". She said abrasivley, not giving him room to argue or even asking if that was what he wanted. Training Tenderfoots was one of Aselle's favorite things to do, not only because it was fun, but also because she liked the prestige that came with spreading her hunting style and it won her lots of strong allies when the pups got older.
What reason would he have to refuse? It was an honor.
Wordlessly, she picked her rat up again and started leading him out of the Narrows and back towards camp.
Aselle? Well that was a interesting name. True some pups did idolize the adults but Miroku never really did. He treated all the adults with respect, he just didn't idolize any of em. The Tenderfoot found that hard to do when his own father didn't like him for things he didn't understand nor know and growing up without parents to encourage him. No one really took the place of his parents, sure he was protected and given food by the pack but no one in the pack was like his parents.
Ears twitched and slanted slightly as Aselle studied him, well to him it just felt like she was staring at him. What? Did he do something wrong? Besides killing the rat the wrong way. He wasn't expecting what Aselle said next though and his eyes went wide with surprise. Her? Train him? It didn't seem like he had much choice though seeing how she worded it and picked her own rat up to leave. Grabbing his rat, he spun round and headed after her, all the while thinking about what she said.
He didn't really want to surpass others. What need was there for it? The youngster had no dreams of being Beta or Alpha. So why should he be trained to surpass others? It didn't make much sense.