Lily’s breaths came in hard pants, her mind sharpened and focused on her target. A huge crowd of meer made up of two different families, the Powers and the Deltas, gathered around her and her oponent in a loose circle. Across from her Suri matched her movements, stalking with her tail low and snout even. Lily growled and pulled back her lips in the beginnings of a snarl. Suri narrowed her eyes. Lily’s brilliant silver gaze flashed in the light of high sun as she launched herself at Suri.
The dominant female of the Powers was expecting her attack and rolled with the movement so that she landed with her paws pinning Liliy’s shoulders. Lily didn’t waist any time, she thrust her back legs into Suri’s belly. Suri hastily stepped away from her before Lily’s paws could connect and Lily jumped back to her paws. She cast a confused look over her shoulder, wondering if anyone else had noticed how Suri had stopped the attack even though she had Lily in a vuneable position.
The mountians rose in a jagged siloutte, rising to sheild the Valley all around them. A lone vulture flew overhead, waiting for the outcome of the fight. Lily took it all in as she scanned the meer for a pair of leaf green eyes and a narrow face. Instead her pelt prickled under the intense gaze of a bulky meer with golden fur, dark stripes, and pale eyes. She turned to look at Lion and an anxious stirring rose in her throat. They hadn’t spoken since Lily rejected his offer and chose Snake as her mate instead. My dominant male, Lily corrected herself. She didn’t trust Lion, there was something about him that made her fur stand on end. He wanted too much for his own good. He wasn’t dominant male material, but his litterbrother was. Her attention scattered, Suri’s charge took her by surprise.
Suri bit into her shoulder hard enough to break the skin and Lily fought back a yowl of shock. Recovering quickly, she twisted to the side and swiped at Suri’s face with her good foreleg. She caught Suri above the eye, opening a supericial, but weeping, cut. Unable to see, Suri released her and retreated to the other side of the clearing. The crowd watched with rapt attention. Lily didn’t wait for Suri to catch her breath, she sprang at her, aiming for her huanches.
They colided in a mound of fur and Suri was swept off her feet. Lily’s strong momentum rolled them once, tossing up clouds of dust that lingered in the still air. Then Lily pressed Suri’s chest hard with her front paws, pinning her into the sand. Suri coughed and Lily dug her claws into her lush fur. Suri blinked bright eyes up at her, she didn’t struggle or squirm. Lily’s grip tightened and she lowered her head close to Suri’s neck, then hesitated. Why wasn’t Suri fighting back?
“You win, Lily.” Suri rasped just loud enough for her to hear.
Lily bristled, her honor offened. “Don’t give up, this is supposed to be a fair fight.” She hissed.
Suri chuckled and swallowed, she licked her lips and her voice wasn’t as dry. “This was a fair fight. You win. I don’t want to be dominant female anymore. I gave ten seasons of my life to lead the Powers, now I feel it’s time to take my life back.”
“That was barely a fight!” Lily argued, but then she really looked at Suri. Her flanks trembled with fatigue and the cut above her eye covered half of her face and neck in crimson. Lily was vaguely aware that the bite to her shoulder, despite not being deep, seeped blood. Her skin was flushed and hot from the exertion and Suri’s chest lurched with the effort of breathing under her weight. “Fine.” Lily concedded and tilted her head. She shifted her weigth to her back paws, allowing Suri to draw in deep breaths.
Suri’s expression softened. “I know you love my son.” She murmured. “And I know that you both will make a great dominant pair.” Her gaze looked beyond her, growing wistful. “I love another who is not my mate. I want to be with him when I bare his pups.” Lily’s eyes widened. That explained why Suri was so tired, she was pregnant! Her brows dipped in worry and Suri laughed again. “Don’t worry, I’m fine.” She told her.
“You broke the third Truth.” Lily breathed, unable to settle on whether she was angry or awed. “I should kill you.”
Suri gave her a genuine smile. “I think your strength would be better served by showing mercy.”
Lily blinked a few times and then eased off her rival. She glanced around the crowd as she rose to her hind legs to address them. Behind her, Suri shuffled into standing. Immediately, a male Lily thought was named Haywood rushed to her side. Lily lifted her chin and ignored them. She found Snake in the crowd, his leafy gaze full of hope and hunger. “Powers,” she announced, “I am your new dominant female and I claim Snake as my partner unless anyone would like to challenge him?” The Powers lowered their eyes and bowed thier heads, none of them said anything. The Deltas looked on with morbid interest, wondering what would become of the old dominant female.
Lily’s voice was firm and seemed to resound throughout the Valley in it’s finality. She turned to meet Suri’s gaze. “Suri and any who are loyal to her are hereby no longer Powers, nor are they welcomed in our territory.”
Suri mouthed slightly, her eyes round with barely concealed happiness. “Thank you.”
Lily gave the slightest of nods and turned back to her family. Her family. The Powers, which she had won with strength and not brute force. She met Snake’s eyes and grinned as Suri and Haywood huddled off together, both dominant females excited to start their new lives.