Calm down Clover, he told himself. She probably just chased them away, caught a rabbit, and went to go find some more prey.
Clover sat down by the den. Those creatures should be long gone by now. He sighed and pawed at the snow. His belly rumbled, hopefully Jade would be coming back soon; if only he’d gotten the chance to learn how to hunt before his mother had left! He padded inside the den, sat in the mossy nest, and waited.
The sun had come out behind the clouds, melting a bit of the snow. It was at it’s highest point of the day-- how long had Clover been waiting? He stretched and trotted out. No sign of his mother yet.
The pup looked around, surveying the area of the forest; it should be safe enough that he could go explore to pass the time. Where even was Jade? She could have at least told him she was leaving. He ran through the snow, passing all sorts of white-covered trees. It pretty much all looked the same. Snow, trees, rocks. I know! Clover suddenly thought. I can go to the lake and see if it’s frozen!
It would be quite a walk, but Jade had taken him there before, and he knew the way. He passed more trees, trudged through more snow, already smelling the faintest scent of the muddy shore. Clover wondered if the water would be frozen. He’d only seen it frozen over once before, just a few days ago.
His paws were super cold, almost numb, when he finally arrived at the lake. He couldn’t tell at first but it seemed to be frozen over. He stepped closer, there was a pretty thick sheet of ice over the water. He put a paw on it, it held his weight perfectly fine. This was going to be so fun!
Clover carefully walked all the way onto the ice. His paws slowly slid and carried him over the ice. He yelped with happiness and tried to walk, only to fall onto his belly. He spun and slid on the ice, legs spread over the frozen water. It really was fun! Jade would never have let him do this. He went a bit farther out into the lake, now on his paws again. Clover peered at the water under the ice. He couldn’t see the bottom, or any fish. He went out a little father, sliding with his pads across the frozen lake.
A sudden crack sounded beneath his paws. Huh? Clover tried to stop and looked down. The ice was breaking! He didn’t want to be plunged into freezing water; he couldn’t even swim!
The wolf hastily scrambled across the ice as it cracked more. He’d gone farther out on the lake than he thought, and the shore looked so far away. He used his claws to decrease his slipping. Almost there..
Snap! Suddenly Clover felt the ice underneath him tilt sideways; the piece he was on had broken off and he was slipping into the water. It looked dark and cold. Clover yelped and frantically tried to stay on the block of ice, but his weak legs and dull claws didn’t help him; he flipped back and was plunged into the water.
Clover was frozen with cold shock as he went under the water, it hurt his head and ears and everything it was so cold. He couldn’t think, couldn’t think anything but it’s cold it’s cold it’s cold it’s cold it’s cold can’t swim can’t swim!
He got to his senses-- although he could barely use any senses-- and tried to see under the water. There was only the one spot of light where the ice had broken above him. Clover was never taught how to swim, especially not under the water, but he knew all he needed to do was paddle with all his paws; so he paddled furiously, but the cold slowed down the few muscles he had. He had his breath held of course, but it was getting harder to hold in. It was harder to think now, except that he knew just a few more pushes and he would almost be there...
Clover’s eyes snapped open. There was a dark gray cloudy sky above him. The only other thing he could comprehend was some voice talking to him.
“Are you alright?” it asked again. Clover blinked and looked around. He wasn’t in the water anymore, but on a rock that seemed to have snow pushed off it. The wolf looked up at the figure leaning over him. His vision was blurry but it seemed to be another wolf, a female about his age.
“Y-yeah,” Clover answered, then it came to his attention how cold he was. He shuddered and squeezed his eyes shut.
The voice said, “Can you get up?”
Clover could see more clearly now, the other wolf with him had a long brown coat of different shades and amber eyes. She definitely was his age, if not a little older. He didn’t know what she was doing here, there were almost never wolves near Clover and his mother’s territory, although he did always hear howling in the distance at night.
“I’ll try,” Clover replied, and slowly pushed himself up. He still shivered, wishing he was back in the warm cozy den lying next to his mother. He was standing now, and he shook some water off his pelt, looking at the female in front of him.
“Did you find me? Save me?” he couldn’t remember what happened after he’d fallen into the freezing cold water.
“I saved you, fishbrain. What do you think you were doing, playing on the ice like that? Where’s the rest of your pack?” the other wolf asked with a scoff.
“I-- I didn’t think it was dangerous... My pack?”
The female nodded. “Did you get left behind?”
“No, I don’t have a pack..”
“Really? Oh. Well, you’re welcome for saving you.” She smirked and started to leave in the other direction, to the territory Clover had never been to.
“Wait!” Clover called. “Thank you.. what’s your name?”
The female turned around. “I’m Kuta. I should get back to my pack now, I have duties to do.” She glanced back at him and bounded into the trees.
Clover watched her go, incredibly grateful that she had saved him; he knew how foolish he was now to have been playing on the ice. He began licking his fur to warm himself up.But where is Jade?