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Chapter 12: Muddy

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It rained overnight, and now the field is muddy. I wait on the perimeter near the shifting building and watch the few wolves on the field as they spar and gunk up their coats. One smaller male is thrown to the ground and sent on a mudslide towards the tree line, spraying ten feet around him.

"We'll find a green patch."

I turn and Corbin is suddenly beside me.

"Theo should be on his way," he says with his arms casually crossed. "I was a bit surprised when he said you'd be coming to train. Thought he'd be too afraid of you getting hurt."

"He said it's only a couple of things—self-defense—nothing too messy...I hope."

"You know he's shifting with you."

I step forward and face Corbin. "He is? Why?"

"You need someone to practice with."

"I don't want to practice with him," I oppose. "His wolf is huge."

Corbin's mouth upturns in mirth. "Well, he only trusts himself to train with you."

"You know this doesn't make sense. If I'm learning self-defense, I need to have at least a smidge of a chance to defend myself."

"He'll go easy, I'm sure." Corbin gestures to the nearest corner of the parameter. "There he is—you can take it up with him yourself."

I cross my arms as well. "I-I will. Will you be staying?"

"I'll be giving directions and explanations when necessary."

"But you're really here for entertainment?"

"I expect to be entertained, sure." Corbin cuts our conversation in perfect timing as Theo reaches us. He asks him, "What took so long?"

"Don't worry about it," Theo responds, and then looks to me. "Are you ready?"

"Oh?" I glance at Corbin. "Yeah, I think so."

"You sure?" Corbin questions.

"Well, I just thought... Nevermind. It's fine."

"What is it?" Theo asks.

"She thought practicing the techniques with you would be too difficult."

Theo looks at me even though it was Corbin who said it, so I promptly explain, "I just thought I would have better chances of doing the moves properly if I had a partner closer to my size."

"If something happens, who's to say your attacker isn't bigger than you?"

"There's bigger, and then there's sizes that are practically impossible to overcome. You're an Alpha wolf—if my attacker is your size there's no point in fighting."

"There is," Theo disagrees, "besides, the kinds of self defense we're teaching you are good responses to a plethora of different scenarios, so you aren't always fighting back."

Corbin adds, "Odds are, if anyone comes after you, it's not to kill, but to capture."

"They're going to take me and force me to go back to Rowan?"

"I'm guessing Alpha Rowan has been in communication with your family, considering your sister is also mated to his Beta. They'll ask your parents what they want done if given the opportunity, and it can be assumed they'll want you brought home," Theo says. "Why don't you go on and shift and we can get started."

I gesture to the building. "In there?"

"No," he decides. "There are men shifting in there. You can shift in the trees; no one will see you."

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