Magician's Journey:

Chapter 48

Thomas hummed quietly to himself, layering his own melody over the rhythm of Pallo’s stride. It had been quite some time since they’d last ridden together like this, so Thomas appreciated the chance to spend quality time with his familiar.
<Thomas. I smell something ahead of us.> A quiet growl leaked out from under Pallo’s lips. <I don’t like it.>
“I don’t suppose you could be more specific? There’s a lot of things you don’t like.” Thomas paused. “Oh… I don’t mean to imply you’re ill-tempered. Sorry if that came off as an insult.”
<It didn’t. Good caution is healthy, I have good caution.> Pallo slowed her pace and sniffed at the air. <It smells feline, but also carries a trace of elk blood. No cat I’ve seen is large enough to kill prey of that size, but the smell of elk is too strong and varied to be from scavenging alone. It also carries another scent on its coat. It is… odd.> Pallo raised her nose, and investigated the scent much more thoroughly. <It is embedded deep into the cat’s fur, so it must have frequent contact with this specific creature. The smell is almost human, but differs sharply.> Pallo sneezed. <I just got a nose full of magic’s scent. That explains much.>
“Some kind of spirit, perhaps?” Thomas nuzzled deeply into his familiar’s fur. “If our course passes by it, our questions will be answered soon enough.”
<What if our course doesn’t pass?>
Thomas grinned. “Then I’d politely request you make a detour.”
<…Alphas shouldn’t “politely request” things. It shows uncertainty and a lack of confidence.> Pallo tensed up. <Makes everything scarier.>
“Oh, right. Sorry.” Thomas patted Pallo on the top of her head, or at least as close to her head as he cold reach. “Would it make you feel better if I told you that it was purely manners, and that I had little intention of leaving my curiosity unsatiated?”
Pallo relaxed again. <Much better, actually.>


A note from the author ninja:

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, not every species (or even every member of the same species) thinks the same. For example, most canines (and some humans) are happiest when in an entirely inflexible chain of command.

Assuming that the leader is good at their job, and has won the trust and loyalty of their subordinates, of course. Nobody likes following orders from tyrants or incompetents.

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