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A Forest Cat, Chapter three: The Trials of a Tutor, part 1

“Shane?”

Use your mind, Gaell, Shane sent calmly back, holding a branch for her so she could pass along the narrow path unhindered.

She pulled a face and stubbornly repeated, “Shane? Will it be much longer?”

Shane sighed, already tiring of his role as mentor. For three days they had travelled the forest, avoiding the villages and living on what the forest could provide. After loosing her initial reserve, Gaell had proven a communicative girl who was full of questions that sometimes left him without a proper answer. He had meant to teach her the skills to stay alive in the wild and even though she did pick up some of the things he showed her, she did not seem genuinely interested in learning. In the evenings, he tried to teach her the basic control over her Phaelite powers and at those times she proved an even more reluctant pupil.

Turning to face her, he replied gruffly, “If you keep asking every ten minutes or so, it will be forever.”

“I’m tired, Shane.” She tried hard to keep the whining tone out of her voice and thought sourly that it would have been wiser to send the complaint as that bypassed emotions she now tried so desperately to hide.

She expected another reprimand but instead Shane smiled wearily and said gently, “So am I, Gaell. But we have to reach Barlow before dark fall. Then we can rest and will sleep in a real bed.”

The extra incentive did its work and Gaell brightened. “And have a real hot meal?” She asked hopefully, her face lighting up in anticipation.

He sternly resisted the urge to snap at her for scorning all the meals he had so lovingly provided for her and said instead, “Yes Gaell, a real hot meal.”

She let out a sigh of anticipation. Increasing her step, she looked back at Shane. “Hurry up then, what are you waiting for?”

Shane felt his hand itch.

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