A Dangerous Path [aw]
Picking her way along the side of the mountain, Cinder wondered why she had come this way. She carefully took each step, having found herself a path that was about a foot wide, and precariously placed along a cliff. She tried to focus on the walkway, her eyes focusing on the pathway ahead of her and her paws. At some point she did find herself a large area to take a break on, sitting down and panting heavily. She looked around, ears pinning back with uncertainty.

Why had she come this way? This was a path for billy goats and mountain lions. The coyote whined quietly to herself, moving towards the path she was headed towards, but wanted to keep on the round cliff she had stopped on to take a break. Her paws were sore, her stomach ached.
Ascher had caught the mountain goat’s scent a little way up from the foothills and had been tracking it up the mountain for what felt like hours. The feathering flowing from his ankles had picked up so much snow and dirt that they’d turned a muddy greyish colour, far from their usual soft cream; his paw pads felt worn, though thanks to all the travelling he’d already done recently they were tough enough to withstand the prodding of stones and the cold of the snow higher up.

The goat was, of course, swifter than the large wolf; more acquainted with the mountainside, too. The path was narrowing as the infernal creature led Ascher sharply uphill - but the wind was in the wolf’s favour. For now.

Knowing that if he stalked his prey for much longer he would be too worn out for the chase, Ascher put on a burst of speed across a wider section of the path, snow spraying from his paws as he gave himself away. He was within a muzzle’s length of the goat, nearly on top of it, and his stomach rumbled knowingly. Ascher burst into a jump, reaching out with a lowered head crowned by antlers…

...but the goat was far too nimble, somehow making a sideways leap onto a narrow precipice. Ascher huffed, frustrated, expecting the goat to disappear up the mountainside - but the goat had made an ill judgement and was now trapped up on that ledge.

They were at a stalemate.

Ascher’s nostrils flared as they picked up the scent of another canine nearby. Glaring at his potential dinner, he picked his way around the bend, sniffing curiously.

“Hullo?” the male called out, ears twitching.
Unable to continue on her path, Cinder lingered on the ledge where she stood, giving small whimpers every so often. Her paws danced, before suddenly a mountain goat jumped past her, appearing from one ledge and landing on another a few feet above her. She jumped back, pressing into the mountain wall from surprise. She looked at the mountain goat, before realizing something had been chasing it.

She turned and peeked from her spot on the mountain, only to see a large male, with antlers adorning his head.

Hullo? he said, and she felt a smirk rise on her lips, though she was still nervous. Hullo, she returned softly, shy almost. Her eyes went between him and goat, making the connection. Is that yours?
A face appeared, wearing a smirk and topped by horns - or a horn and a half, maybe. Ascher looked up at the stranger, his tail swaying slowly. He wasn’t sure if he was prepared to be challenged over the goat but his gaze flicked to the rocky shelf the goat had finally alighted on. The wolf could’ve sworn it wore a smug expression. His dark ocean eyes swept back to the smaller canine peering at him from above.

She spoke in a shy voice which reminded Ascher of Fiora and his smile softened reflexively, his stance relaxing in an instinctive effort to put the stranger at ease.

“Not yet.” Ascher’s eyes again shifted to the goat, making sure it was still there. “I’ll go halves with you if you can drive it back it down here?” His tail wagged gently. Hopefully the coyote would find it an agreeable deal.
The goat bleated in frustration as the two canines greeted. Cinder glanced at it once more, then regarded her company. He offered to share the prize, and her aching belly immediately agreed. She nodded quickly, tail wagging with agreement before she turned towards the ledge the goat was on. It was a few feet above her, but there were a few cliffs that she could see were easy to access that led up to the goat.

She calculated, shivering a bit with uncertainty, before jumping up a few feet onto one of the ledges. The goat grumbled, tail flicking with impatience, before turning towards where Cinder had come from. The coyote walked towards the right side of the goat, away from where she herself had come from. The plan was working better than she had intended.

She yipped at the goat, before jumping down onto it's ledge and the goat skipped immediately off and towards the male canine, but a few cliffs down from him. Cinder yelped, unsure if he would be able to reach the goat from where it was headed.

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