Getting ahead of yourself
Note: Posted for Tim'sA-Rank examination.
It was a routine thing, resupplying the guild facilities’ supplies.
Tim had been asked by the guild ace, Mercury, to oversee the upcoming shipment of supplies for the spas, guestrooms and ingredients for the guild cooks. He had done the same in his previous job, being the one heading the resupplying operations in many restaurants and markets across Hargeon. Problems were abundant: there were the occasional unruly crewmembers who take a wheel of cheese from the shipment, ‘They won’t notice’ they’d justify. But Tim always saw, and he wouldn’t let it off. Silver Wolf won’t be any different. The toiletry supplies were the easiest to keep safe, unless they have been outright lit on fire there was not as big a threat with it being stolen. The food, like the aforementioned Cheese incidents in Tim’s old job, was a whole other beast entirely.
With a smack of his newly brandished weapon for this job, he sent one of the non-ethereal wolves across the unloading ramp in the guildhall’s back area. Tim didn’t bother playing nice, while the staff was slowly unloading the cargo the wolves were already eyeing them. In fact, before the truck had even arrived a pack of them were already circling the area. The one Tim sent flying was the only one who looked eager enough to try and take him on. The rest seemed to get the message and kept away for the meantime.
“I have arranged for the staff to give you the leftover food from the catering.” Tim adjusted the tie from his armor, Servant, and elegantly gripped the wooden broom from the janitor’s room. “I won’t let you take the fresh supplies.”
Asena, sitting at attention, relayed the message to the wolves. It’s a good thing the ethereal guardian wolves couldn’t be bothered with food. Except, probably, Tim’s magic. But otherwise, they never really go against or with the regular wolves in trying to get the supplies. But this also meant they couldn’t be bothered to help. Tim’s companion did, in the form of a translator.
The wolves’ response was to howl. And, after a minute of awkward silence between Tim and the dozen wolves, Charles arrived.
Charles was Silver Wolf’s guild pet. By all accounts, he is a senior to Tim. Having been defending the guild for who knows how many years prior to the young man, in fact, something tells Tim this wolf predates him. Charles stands thrice as tall as him and was coming at them from the sky. Charles’ wings sent a snow laden gust as he beat his wings once before landing with a heavy thud. The winged wolf huffed at Tim’s way in response to the wolf pack’s growl at him.
“Don’t let them get past you, Wolf.” Tim ordered Asena as he stepped down the ramp into the snow-covered ground.
Tim looked up; Charles was towering over him. “Why are you here, Charles? We literally put up a section of the budget covering your food expenses, not that you go out buying stuff…”
The winged wolf didn’t budge.
“The guild feeds you well enough.” Tim added. “Why don’t we-”
Bam! With a slam with Charles’ oversized paw Tim was on the ground. The young man heard a cheer of howls, which was dissipated by Asena’s familiar growl.
“Alright.” Tim exhaled, gripping his weapon with both hands. He then swung his broom over Charles’ face with the force enough to break it!
There was silence. Tim gave Charles a blank look, the same couldn’t be said about the winged wolf who had a piece of the broom’s straw protruding over his maw. Charles lifted his titanic paw and swatted Tim sending him flying into the truck! The force of the young man hitting the truck made it lean over to one side for a second before slumping back to its original position with a loud thud. Tim removed himself from the truck, wincing. “Ow.”
From behind him his collision with the truck caused its sides to leave an indent the shape of a person. Tim was too busy frowning at Charles to have noticed. “Remember when I gave you half of my smoked beef jerky just over a week ago?”
The winged wolf didn’t answer.
“I’m not against sharing, Charles.” Tim stretched his arms, twisting his body to stretch the pain out. “But the guildhall’s a business, being in short supply isn’t a joke.”
The oversized wolf huffed much the same way Asena would do. But unlike Tim’s companion, her reasons for defying Tim weren’t out of a petty supply for food they hardly need. It was a huff that effectively said ‘…and I care why?’
Tim sighed after stretching himself. “-because I said so.”
The young man dashed forward; the winged wolf saw him appear briefly in front of it before leaving nothing but an afterimage. Tim reappeared over to Charles’ side and slammed the guild pet with a wild haymaker.
The young man dashed again, and slammed another punch over the opposite side of the wolf’s maw.
Finally, Tim jumped up and hammered his two fists down at Charles sending the winged wolf’s head down.
Charles was fully crouched down from Tim’s last blow, there was a visible annoyance over the winged wolf’s face. “This doesn’t mean I won’t feed them, Charles. I just told them; I’ll have the staff arrange-”
Tim stopped, noticing the winged wolf glowing ice blue. Without any fanfare the sworn guardian of the guild and its members summoned a hail of icicles over his way! Having battled quite a number of creatures both physical and supernatural honed Tim’s battle instincts over the days he had spent as a member of the guild. The sharp rain of icicles was too slow for Tim’s Bastardized Domain, the young man gave a measured distance away between him and the winged wolf.
“What the hell was that?” Tim hissed. “A magic attack right in the guildhall- have you been sniffing glue, Charles?!”
The winged wolf’s response was to keep his head down and kept his ears flat against his head. Tim sighed. “Oh, now you act like a puppy?”
“Talk to me. We’re allies, aren’t we?” Tim walked closer.
Charles’ ears popped back up; the wolf was looking at Tim expectantly. The young man crouched down over the wolf. “Look, give a reason why you’re so desperate on feeding them.” Tim pointed his thumb over the wolves being rallied up by Asena on the ramp.
Charles’ his head tilted on one side. Tim quired his brow. “Wait, you’re not trying to help them ransack food?”
Charles tilted his head on the opposite side. Why the heck were they fighting then? Tim stood up and gestured the winged wolf to follow him. When Tim walked up the unloading ramp, he saw his companion keeping the other wolves in line. They were actually sitting in attention.
“Nice work, Wolf.” Tim scratched her neck. The young man looked at the pack. “Now. I hashed it over with Charles. And from the way I understand it, you lot don’t just want the food out of hunger. Or have I misunderstood things?”
They tilted their heads eerily similarly to Charles. Tim looked at Asena. The astral guardian wolf then huffed their way. It was a brief interaction which basically offered no information on Tim’s end. After Tim thought the interaction had ended. The wolf pack walked away from the ramp in an orderly fashion. But they stopped when they noticed Tim did nothing but look at them.
Asena nudged Tim from the back. “Go with them?” She huffed.
“Oh, you actually stopped them, Tim?” One of the staff members who were unloading the supplies said with a ‘can’t believe my eyes’.
“They usually go back after we spare a box or two for them. Requisitions usually order that much extra for such a situation specifically.” One of the chefs, a woman slightly older than Tim smiled his way. “You didn’t go too rough with them, I hope?”
“The strays over at the docks were worse.” Tim walked down the ramp to follow the pack. “Keep the place safe, Charles. I’ll see what they’re trying to tell me.”
Charles sat in attention facing Tim’s way. He was definitely batter at taking instruction than Asena, even if they both are too snarky for their own good.
The wolf pack led Tim and Asena into the face of the mountain away from the guildhall. There they walked orderly to a beaten but seemingly unclear looking path. It led to a rather sizable cave, big enough for Tim to go inside standing. With the wolves’ insistence, Tim headed inside and not even walking more than a few meters deep Tim had found a number of other wolves inside.
After two opposite turns from the direct entrance the cave was a whole different animal altogether. It was suddenly pitch black, with a streak of dim light only visible through the edges of where Tim had turned. But the young man summoned a purplish crystal ball of light, letting it brighten the inside of the caves fully with daylight. After letting his vision adjust from the sudden change of brightness, Tim understood the wolves’ problem.
There were a great number of newborn wolves along with their mothers inside holes all over the cave’s walls. Did they dig these holes themselves? The pups, on average, were barely few days old. One of the mothers, contrary to Tim’s expectation, didn’t get angry after he had walked closer to her den. Tim leaned over to observe her. She had more than five pups, and from the looks of things, she was one mothers who bore the least number of newborns. Taking a quick count over how many dens were present in this part of the cave, Tim did the math and-
“No wonder you lot needed the food.” Tim let out a breath.
Without another word Tim walked out of the cave and, after letting the cold mountain wind caress his face, took out his iLac and made a call.
“Silver Wolf Spa and Lodge, how may we help you?” There was a melodious voice from behind the line, it was one of the people over the guildhall’s front desk.
“It’s Tim.” The young man looked over his shoulder and saw Asena slowly walking out of the cave. “Listen, can you forward me to-”
“Tim… Mr. Timson? I thought you were-”
“At the back? I am, sort of. Mind forwarding me over to requisitions? I forgot to save their code.”
“One of the requisitions team is here over the desk. Why don’t I hand you over to him instead?”
There was rustling over the other end and after a few seconds an older voice could be heard. “Tim? Something happened over there?”
“Nothing concerning the delivery, no.”
“Yeah. But.” Tim let out a laugh. “I found a cave with a bunch of wolves’ dens.”
“Wait, they let you inside? I knew you were good at keeping the lot in line but-”
“There are more than two dozen pups in total over here. No wonder there was a pack waiting to ransack the delivery truck.” Tim could hear humming over the other side of the line.
“What do you want me to do? We already have an extra box of-”
“I heard about that. We need to feed the pups directly; we do that and the adults can hunt like they used to.”
“We have the extra food for precisely that.”
“No, I’m going to call up an expert. I’m just sending a heads up.”
“We already talked with one of the mushers and-”
“Don’t worry, I got this.” Tim ended the call and made another.
After the initial ringing there were muffled voices of barks over the other side of the line. “Magnolia Pounce n’ Play, how may I help you?”
“Is this-” Tim then asked about a lost puppy job Tim did over a month ago in the town, the owner was someone Tim had helped. He asked if the owner was around and not even a minute later a familiar enthusiastic voice echoed over the iLac.
“You sure take your sweet time, huh, Sir Mage? I haven’t heard from you over a month or so now!”
“Just call me Tim. I haven’t gotten time to call, been busy with work. Speaking of, mind if I ask for an opinion regarding wolf pups?”
“Oh!? Did your spirit wolf-”
Tim muttered a ‘no’ and explained the situation. “…so, I figured if we feed the pups instead. We can save some supplies and solve the feeding problem.”
“That’s not a bad plan, Tim.”
“That sounded like a ‘but…’ sentence.”
The owner explained pups barely need to have anything done for them. They, while initially needing to feed of their mother’s milk, would go to eating meat when they go older in a few weeks. Tim thanked the owner and ended the call. The young man looked at his wolf companion with a smile and a sigh. Asena looked at him in a look which Tim would only call an amused one.
It was that pesky thinking he always had, the thought of being able to solve everything by or through him. Not every situation needed solving, it seemed like. Or, rather, the problem already had been solved before Tim had even been a member.
With a short laugh and a sigh, Tim made a call. “Hello? Yeah, it’s Tim. You were right…”