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This article, The Wolf Child is property of Blankslate and may not be used by any one else unless they ask him first (the answer is "no").

It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership. -Nelson Mandela

Act 1

Sunrise.

The radiant orb that gives light to the world that is covered in darkness rose slowly over the rocky and frozen mountains in a land far lost to time. Snow had fallen across this vast and gorgeous landscape, granting it a blue-tinted shade in contrast with the orange sun. Mountains stretched for miles on end, rising from and circling around a large valley that was once a grand lake, a valley that stretched on endlessly into the grayish-black skies that lay west of the mountains. Across from the mountains and on the other side of the valley was a dense and dead forest, full of trees whose branches might as well have been skeletons, all rising from the ground to gaze at the retreating gray skies.

The young boy named Asumu's eyes cracked open lazily, his vision in a haze due to the bright orange sun that rose slowly over the distant mountaintops. He wore a dark brown, single-piece hunter's garb, stretching down to his ankles and adorned with several golden buttons. This attire was accompanied by a pair of wool gloves and boots, along with a wool cap that covered the entirely of his upper head, save for a few bangs of his white hair. His eyes were wrinkled and slightly red, but they were able to register his surroundings quite easily given the frigid temperature. He was leaning up against the base of a small tree, one of many that led into a deep forest, a small rifle resting next to him. As his little eyes glanced over to look at the weapon, he remembered why he was here to begin with, and that was to hunt.

"You've finally awakened."

A deep but soothing voice spoke to him from his left side, causing him to look over towards it's source. He immediately recognized it as the voice of his smiling father; a gruff, brown-bearded man who wore a set of attire identical to Asumu's, only fit for a grown man and not a little boy such as himself. He rubbed one of his eyes as he started to respond. "Yes father, I'm..." he began before he started to yawn quietly, having been taught better than to make no reckless noises whilst hunting, especially in the presence of his parent. "...I'm awake, whew. How long have I been asleep for?"

His father chuckled quietly. "I actually don't know myself." he responded, his head turned towards the horizons but his eyes shifted towards his son. "But I trust you've gotten enough rest now, because you need to stay awake for this one." the man continued before he pointed out towards the part of the valley that was closest to them, causing Asumu to divert his attention towards the same direction. He saw a rather long line of Gray Wolves all calmly walking towards the other end of the valley. "Wow..." he said quietly, smiling in excitement as he saw the great creatures move together like a massive family. "I didn't think we would see so many of them in once place. This must be their hunting ground, right father?"

The man closed his eyes and his smile lowered to a frown. "It was, at some point." he said solemnly, before looking out towards the pack's intended direction. "But this land has started to grow barren; their intended prey has moved on to other places, just as we will all have to, soon." The thought of moving caused Asumu's brightened expression to lower, for he greatly enjoyed this beautiful landscape and the snowfall that never ceased to end. He also loved seeing wolves, for they were his favorite animals to bear witness to. In his mind they were the symbol of strength and unity among a single group, something his parents had always taught him were two of the most important factors in a family. If he left this land, he would likely never see such creatures again.

Asumu, trying to block out such negative thoughts, turned his attention back to the wolves, noticing that the first three members leading the pack were slow and dragging themselves, causing the entire pack to move at a similar pace. "Father," he started, pointing towards the three particular wolves. "What's wrong with those three wolves there? They're in front of the pack but they're slowing everyone else down. Shouldn't they be in the back?"

The older man, having noticed the formation from the beginning, regained his smile and watched the wolf pack calmly with a half-lidded gaze. "No, my boy; that's just how they work." he started, pointing down at the three sickly wolves. "Those wolves there are the oldest, and possibly sickest ones. Because of that, the pack puts them at the front, so that they will judge the pace of the rest of them. If it were the other way around, they would all three be left behind to suffer and die alone; wolves don't treat their family like that. If there were to be an ambush by other wolves or something else of the like, they'd be the first ones to go, so that the younger ones will continue to live on." His finger carefully moved to point out the rest of the pack that was following the elder wolves. "That there is the rest of the family, the strongest members followed closely by the youngest and weakest members. The strong ones up front help to serve as the first line of defense, protecting the other members from harm."

As he watched the wolves more carefully, his eyes widened when he caught the site of the last wolf in the line; an incredibly large creature that could easily flail himself and his father about like ragdolls should it so choose. "I-Is that the leader of the pack right there?" he said, initially fearful at the sight of such a beast, and his father only smiled proudly in response to the boy's question. "Aye lad, that's the Alpha." he responded as he observeded the wolf move in similar pace to the pack, watching them and the surroundings carefully as it did so. "He is the last in the formation, for he can see the pack entirely and knows everything that goes on between himself and their destination." his father resumed. "The other wolves all know he's behind them and can see everything they do, so they know well enough not to do anything rash or stupid." As he watched the wolves, he placed his hand on Asumu's shoulder. "That... is true leadership."

Asumu's fears began to quell, and his previous apprehensive expression lowered into one of calmness and intrigue, thanks to the wisdom of his father. He watched the Alpha move with it's pack, but his eyes widened once more when he noticed the Alpha stopping it's course for only a few moments, and turning it's eyes towards him. It wasn't long before Asumu realized that the Alpha was looking straight at him and his father, but he was more certain that the wolf was looking more at him instead of the latter. It's ears were perked up, but it's eyes were calm and steady, seemingly peering into Asumu's soul, almost to the point to where Asumu feared that the beast would charge them both. However, instead of doing that, it did the opposite, and quietly resumed it's pace with the pack.

20 years later...

Asumu, now a grown man himself, lay resting against the side of a large, cylinder shaped structure amidst an endless desert, a desert called "Hueco Mundo". In this age, he was wearing a white trenchcoat, concealing a black and brown uniform and had a large, silver greatsword resting next to him in place of the small rifle. He looked out into the distance, his eyes catching a Spiritual presence that he'd been hunting for a while, and reached up to grab his sword. Using it as a crutch of sorts, he stood himself back up on both feet and groaned; he really would've preferred to stay asleep for a few seconds more, but he had a job that needed doing.

Without missing a beat, a blue flash of Hirenkyaku robbed all evidence of him being there, and he was then set off once again on his hunt.

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