The creature knew that it had only the smallest window of opportunity to act here. It was not so concerned about the boys before it. If anything, its curiosity was piqued by the newborn Buck and how quickly he was adapting to his new changes. Of course, he would still grow and become more of a contender within his tribe when he found one. It was clear already, however, that he would be a contender for a leader position. It was in the way he already held himself and could navigate the complex emotions that came with his powers. If given the chance to grow, he was going to be a very powerful Buck and that, the creature thought excitedly, was a challenge worthy of waiting for, even if it wouldn’t be the one to do it. Distracting as that enticing idea was, the creature had to force itself to focus on the challenge at hand. The boy was no match for this new Buck but both were going to fold under the attack of the other lurking nearby. The newborn would hold his own and may even be able to garner another draw if he was able to concentrate on it and subdue its madness. The boy, on the other hand, was doomed if he got in the way. He was weak and his anger would only prompt the Buck to kill him if the monster was in the throes of another fit. The creature stayed deadly still as it spied the Buck that was making its way towards them. It was clear from the way that its eyes were shining that it was on the verge of another feral meltdown that would send it over the top. It was so close to that breaking point and it might have gone over if not for the newborn and the fact that he was capable of controlling himself so well.

It knew the Buck wouldn’t hold off forever. Once the monster was charging towards his prey, the creature would have the means to shift things into a more favorable scenario. As it was, the first of these idiot boys to call the Bucks to them had been a lost cause, much as that was a bit of a set back. The boy was in the light, ready for his last close up, after all. Not good for hunting, though the creature had dealt with more challenging situations than even this before and still managed to get by. This one, however, was turning out to be just as tricky. The newborn was distracted and this was for the best for now but he wasn’t stupid. He wouldn’t be that slow, either. The creature knew it had been spotted once this evening already and the seed of doubt had to be sown a little further in the spiderling before it could risk another sighting. The false monarch wouldn’t know of this yet and with any luck, she wouldn’t be able to find out anything anymore. All it needed was to ensure that it wasn’t seen when it took the boy. As long as the Buck could be kept at bay long enough, there was a chance that the child could be taken out without a noise. The creature already had one tell tale wound to work with. This would be far more difficult to explain away. It needed the boy to be whole. It needed the boy alive first so that it could direct his untimely demise. All of this would depend on where the Buck launched its challenge and how.

The boys were squaring off now and the Buck was sizing them up, close enough now that the creature could smell it. The musk of its body was all the signal that it needed to know that it had to be ready to act fast. It focused almost entirely on the boy, knowing that the newborn would be more attractive as a challenge. It prayed that the Buck wasn’t one of those who were cowardly. Those who were to be initiated into tribes were so much more predictable. There was honor to their methods and they would always choose the target that would present them with a clear challenge to their own powers. Cowards, on the other hand, ended up in different realms and almost always targeted down. It was impossible to tell if this Buck was lost or defective but either choice was likely. The creature gritted its teeth, waiting and only moving when the Buck was making progress forward.

The scene was beginning to move, almost in slow motion. The Buck was starting to make its way forward and the smell had switched to feral. The boy was posturing now, making like he was going to start throwing punches as he worked up his nerve. Despite the challenge building in front of him, the newborn was standing taller but refused to be drawn into this battle. It wasn’t a cowering stance, however, and the creature could tell that he would meet his attacker and he would be able to overpower him. The newborn was breathing his way through the stress of it and even his own body scent was giving off how much he wanted to give in. His blood was boiling for certain and would taste sweeter for it. Still the creature waited for the boy. It focused more intently, forcing itself to ignore the cry for what it really wanted. The newborn would have been a better meal. Humans rarely made for anything that lasted. It was so tempting to let the boy fall to the Buck and take the newborn for itself.

A distraction came in the form of headlights from an old car and the creature had to will itself not to snarl at it. The change in direction for its attention had been almost painful for how quickly this altered the dynamic but with its new perspective, the creature quickly recovered and made its way deeper in the nearest shadows. Despite its initial rage at this interruption, it was clear that this was everything it needed to succeed. It could smell the humans before they had exited the car. These were the ones that were part of the coven of its ally. It had marked their scent the same week that it had given the new monarch her first taste and the switch had been everything it now needed to regroup. The hidden Buck was going to come soon. The chaos was about to go off like a bomb and it would be ready.

The youngest girl was the first to come towards the newborn but stopped short when she saw the other boy. Her sudden appearance broke the tension between them but it would not be enough to stop what was coming.

“Matt?” she said, quietly. “We have to go. It’s not safe here.”

“I fucking knew it!” the boy spat, puffing out his chest. “I knew you were a traitor, you asshole. I knew it all along.”

“They’re still out there,” the girl said, backing away, getting scared of the other boy. “We can’t stay here.”

“Ignore him,” the newborn said, trying to play mediator now. “He’s just putting on the tough guy routine. He’s nothing to be afraid of.”

“You think this is a joke? You think I’m not going to make you pay for this you f-”

The creature saw the Buck make its move before anyone else was aware it was even there. The first to spot the monster was the girl and her companion was the first to move. The seething Buck had done what the creature should have been able to predict. It too had been drawn in by the allure of the newborn’s abilities. It should have known that this kind of pull would have been irresistible. The two pulled back on the newborn just in time to spare him from getting a horn to the temple. As it was, the young one was slashed across the cheek in the scuffle and the creature had to fight its own instincts to follow the scent of the newborn’s blood. It channelled its annoyance into its hunt for the boy who had turned to run into the street and made his way into the shelter of a ravine little more than a block away. The Buck would try to find its prey but it was young and clumsy. The newborn would give it chase and, with some skill, it could escape. Unimportant at the moment.

This boy could ruin its plans. He ran, letting his pride and his fear carry him. It was so easy to spot him like this. His cowardly scent burnt its way through the night air and mixed with the smell of the pine and the fallen leaves. Slithering into the darkness, this clumsy oaf would not escape. In the distance, it could hear the rearing of tires spinning on the pavement. Once its chore was done, it could see what had become of the coven and the newborn. But for now, all that mattered was the shivering, sneering human prey that had slowed to a near halt as he tried to calm himself. The creature was within reach of the boy in seconds. It took less than a minute and so little effort before the creature had him in its grasp. There was almost no struggle and it was over within seconds. All that remained of the boy now was a crumpled body and the silence of the night. Another piece of its puzzle now in its grasp, the creature took its prize and made its way into hiding, where even that vile false Monarch couldn’t find it. Somewhere where all its pieces would remain safe for now. Tonight had been fortunate indeed and very soon, it would be able to make the moves that would truly matter.

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