[m, tw] leader of the whole pack

Includes some swearing/name-calling and abusive behaviors.

so you can throw me to the wolves
tomorrow i will come back

leader of the whole pack
Danny, who was progressing quickly towards a full meltdown now, was startled by Thoth's abrupt bark and the paw at his hip. He seemed to come to his senses as Thoth growled; he stopped his frantic yell-whispering and started gulping air instead - he was still staring with mingled shock and horror at the two, but at least he wasn't gesturing wildly anymore. Cypress bit her lower lip to keep from smiling (an effort wasted as her smile bloomed at the corners anyways). Before Danny could rebuke her anymore, a number of the castle dogs surrounded them. This, too, seemed to calm Danny down, and he blew out a breath. Who was going to pick Thoth out of a lineup of castle dogs, anyways? Maybe some people around here were observant, but... surely no one would think he was that dumb to just saunter up to the castle in broad daylight. Right...? Danny gulped.

"CYPRESS!" boomed the kennel master, and all joy fled from Cypress' face. She quickly assembled the canines, even nudging Thoth slightly to get him to fall in line with the others, while Danny took a few steps back to make it look more like he was quietly observing rather than socializing - something he knew would get Cypress in trouble after the fact. The kennel master strode over, looming over Cypress. His hand shot out, inches from grabbing her arm, before his gaze found Danny watching. As if reminded of witnesses, he turned his gaze towards the castle and yanked his hands back before he turned them to fists. He glared at the boy, while Danny stared back with a knowing gaze.

"Come with me, you little bitch," the kennel master snarled instead, his voice lowering at the last bit so that only Cypress and the dogs - and Thoth, at her side - could hear. Cypress was shaking again, her lips trembling as she pressed them together and followed the master into the kennels. This time the click of nails against the ground told her she wasn't alone, and her chin lifted a few notches with the knowledge. Danny, sensing something might happen if the three went alone, followed after.

Cypress' mind raced. Was it the coat? How had he figured it out so soon? He might've made a snide comment in passing if he had, usually, but not this outpouring of rage. He grasped her arm hard as soon as they were inside, Cypress half-walking, half-dragged in his wake. He led them down into the less updated portion of the kennels. This time, not caring who saw, the kennel master grabbed her arm and shoved her, hard, into one near the far back of the building, where the air was markedly cooler than the rest. She stumbled and fell to her knees, wincing as they immediately flared with pain.

"Where are they?!"

Cypress' tongue darted over her lips, her cheeks pink with embarrassment and pain. "W-who?"

"Who? WHO? I think you know who. Just yesterday you were telling me they didn't deserve to be culled, those useless whelps, and then miraculously they're gone this morning? Do you really think I'm that stupid?"

Cypress' shaking had intensified so hard she couldn't speak, her lips trembling as she cast a glance around the kennel as if the missing puppies might pop out of nowhere at any minute. Danny hurried to intervene.

"It couldn't have been her," Danny said, putting a hand on the kennel master's upper arm. The man did a double-take, having assumed they'd left him behind in the courtyard. "She was with me all night."

Danny ignored the slight blush creeping up his throat at the implication, meeting the kennel master's eyes as he smoothly lied. The kennel master seemed to relax, a smug smile - as if something he'd already suspected had been proven correct - forming on his face.

"All night?" he repeated. He cast a knowing - disgusted but amused at the same time - look at Cypress. "Fine." He pointed at her, and she flinched. "But don't think I'm not on to you. Now clean this place up."

He stormed away, barking for Luke this time, and Cypress got shakily to her feet.

"T-thanks," she muttered towards Danny, pressing a trembling hand to her mouth and pulled it away to inspect the blood on her fingers, she'd bitten the inside of her lip during the fall.



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