A little while later, the sun slowly began to set, as Eiken returned to the pond, carrying as many nuts and berries his small paws could carry. He wanted the predator to learn to eat normal food. As he got back to the pond, the canine was laying on his side, licking his paws. He looked up as Eiken approached, and his tail started slightly wagging. Eiken didn’t know if it was because of Eiken or the food he was carrying, but he still couldn’t help smiling back. He sat down in front of Lynatt and spread out the berries and nuts before him.
-See this? he said.
-This is the food we usually eat around these parts. None of us in the forest eat meat, like you did. We eat stuff like this, and now you’re going to do so too!
He picked up an acorn (one of his personal favourites) and held it up in front of Lynatt’s face, who stared and sniffed at it. As Eiken led it closer to the wolf’s face, he squinted his eyes, trying to keep sight on it. He looked kind of uncomfortable, but mostly surprized. Eiken laughed slightly.
-Silly! As I said, you’re supposed to eat it! See?
Eiken led the acorn in the opposite direction, towards his own mouth, and quickly bit off the hat-like top of it with his very strong and sharp teeth. He proceeded to chew open the solid hull and ate the nut inside, licking his lips in delight. It had been a little while since he last ate acorn. It was so delicious!
-See? It’s good! Have a taste, he said, still licking his lips. He picked up another acorn, and opened it in the same fashion as the last, before he held it up to Lynatt’s mouth. The wolf sniffed it, and licked tryingly at the nut, before eating it in one bite. In almost the same instant, he spat it out, with a disgusted look on his face.
Eiken was surprized. How could this animal not love the delicious nut?
-You’ll get used to it, he said hesitant, before picking up a walnut instead. He opened it, and took out the nut inside.
-Try this instead.
He held it up to Lynatt’s mouth as before. The wolf carefully took a bite of the nut, looking very sceptical. As soon as the nut came in contact with his tongue, he once again spat it out. Eiken was starting to get worried. If Lynatt refused to eat normal food, how was he going to survive? Eiken didn’t want him to eat the other animals in the forest. That was seen as barbaric, and Eiken agreed to that. With still a little hope, he picked up a blueberry, his personal favourite berry, and showed it to the canine.
-This is a blueberry. It’s very sweet and soft, and it tastes very different from nuts. Maybe you’ll like this?
Lynatt ate the blueberry. Eiken waited in anticipation, and to his surprize, the wolf didn’t spit it out. He chewed on it for a while, even though he could have swallowed it ages ago. Eiken started to smile. Lynatt had a thoughtful look on his face. Did he enjoy the taste? He swallowed, and licked his lips, and Eiken understood triumphantly that he had hit a good spot. He picked up a blueberry for himself.
-Did you like it? he asked. Lynatt nodded, before he lowered his head and gobbled down five more blueberries in three bites. As he ate a couple more nuts and berries (Lynatt had gobbled down some blackberries, and loved those as well), Eiken started to urn for some fruits. Fruit was the best snack Eiken knew. Nothing was sweeter than a freshly picked apple! He knew the perfect place to find those. He stood up, and Lynatt stopped eating, looking up at Eiken curiously and licking his now blue lips.
-You want more like this? I know a place where we can find even more delicious food!
Lynatt eagerly stood up and stretched. Eiken started leading the way. The way there was full of thorn bushes and thickets. Eiken, with his small size and much experience, had no trouble crawling through them, but Lynatt got stuck multiple times, and the squirrel had to help him through the worst parts. The wolf got a few bruises from it, and whined all the way. Strangely, this didn’t annoy Eiken. He understood it was hard, but that the reward would be all the sweeter, and all the bushes kept the fruit and strawberries even more hidden. As they approached the end of the forest, where the trees and bushes started to thin out (they were in the north-eastern part of the Southern Quadrant), he felt those tempting and welcoming scents of sweet fruits and berries that only this very special edge of the forest could produce. Eiken and his best childhood friend, Trevinge had loved exploring these parts of the Quadrant, since it was so close to her home, the Eastern Quadrant, and one day they had discovered these special crops of apples, pears, plums, cherries, strawberries and other foods that the other rodents could only dream of. He hadn’t showed it to anyone. He had both strong memories with the place, and the Quadrant’s best food all to himself! But now he had felt a strange urge to show it to Lynatt. He couldn’t exactly explain why, because he didn’t understand why.
Eiken darted out of the forest and over to the gigantic apple tree he always loved climbing and eating from when he played with Trevinge. Maybe it was because he had gotten lazier, but he hadn’t been to this place for quite some time. To his relief, it hadn’t changed a bit.
-Look! This here is the best place in this Quadrant for good food! You’ll love it!
Eiken ran up the tree to the middle of it, plucked an apple almost the size of himself and threw it down. Lynatt walked over and smelled it. Eiken threw down another apple, this one a little smaller, and jumped down to the wolf. He landed right on the canine’s back, who startled began to run around, jump and flail, trying to shake him off. He seemed to think that Eiken was something dangerous. Eiken laughed and did his best to hold on. This was fun! He really liked sitting there. Being thrown around like that almost gave him the same sensation as being tickled. Between his outbursts of hysterical laughter, he shouted:
-Hey! It’s me….Eiken…! Lynatt…! Stop it…!
Lynatt suddenly stopped, and Eiken collapsed on the soft, furry back, still laughing. The wolf turned his head to Eiken, looking a little worried, and gave Eiken’s side a little lick.
As if someone had turned an invisible switch, Eiken stopped laughing, and dried his tears. He stared surprized back at Lynatt. That lick had triggered something in him, but he didn’t understand how or what. Suddenly he couldn’t help feeling so attached to this animal. But somehow, it felt like second nature. He stretched out his paw and stroked Lynatt’s forehead. As he did, the white oval on it glowed, but not as strongly as it had the night Lynatt had gone mad by the moonlight. The wolf seemed to like being pet. He bowed his head and closed his eyes. Suddenly, Eiken almost jumped. The white oval turned silver, and Lynatt’s fur began slowly turning snow white. As it did, Eiken noticed his paw glowing bright yellow. He quickly looked at the rest of his fur, which was glowing bright yellow as well. It usually only did this when the sun was on top of the sky. He quickly looked up a the sky, even though he knew the sun was setting, before looking down at himself again, startled by the suddenly warm feeling on his belly. The oval mark on his belly was glowing like gold. He quickly took his paw away from Lynatt. As he did, Lynatt’s fur turned back to dark coloured, and Eiken’s own fur turned back to red. Both of their spots stopped glowing and turned back to their regular colours as well.
Eiken blinked. Lynatt opened his eyes and looked at Eiken, as if asking why he had stopped petting.
-Wh-what was that?! Eiken almost shouted. The wolf simply tilted his head. He seemingly hadn’t noticed the sudden change of colour. Eiken looked at his fur again. He didn’t believe he had just imagined it. It felt too real, and strange things had happened last time he touched Lynatt’s forehead as well.
-Wait a minute… he said. He slowly reached his paw out once again and touched Lynatt’s forehead. They waited. Nothing happened. What was this?!