current mood: excited
Squall moved around the circle where the pack was all gathered. He felt especially weak after the hike up to the cave, the fighting and the sex with his mate. He had to sleep all afternoon just to regain enough energy to come to the feast. Seifer was sitting with Jirou on the east side of the fire so he went directly to the opposite side and sat next to his cousin Shiki.
“How are you feeling?” Aya asked as Shiki made room for him on his other side.
Squall sighed heavily and curled into Shiki’s warm side.
Shiki smiled and wrapped his arm around him. “What are you more worried about? Seifer leaving, or staying with Riki?”
“Don’t remind me,” he said. His eyes found their way, roaming over his pack brothers until they stopped on his mate. Seifer had noticed his arrival and wasn’t terribly happy that Squall had chosen not to sit with him his last night there.
Squall knew he was being stubborn; actually childish described his behavior better. But he wanted Seifer to do what he always did—approach him so Squall didn’t have to swallow his pride and approach Seifer. He didn’t quite know why they did this. It’s not like they were fooling anyone. They loved each other, everyone knew so why was it so damn hard to show it?
Shiki noticed where his cousin’s eyes had wandered and saw the longing in them, though no one else would notice it. This was precisely the reason he didn’t like the recognition in the first place. He knew his cousin’s pride would keep him from ever asking for what he needed, and that Seifer was too proud or ignorant, or both to find out. Squall needed someone that could read him. Unfortunately that someone was going to have to be Seifer.
“You should give him some credit,” he began and his cousin looked at him sharply. “He really does care a lot for you and because of that he’s done things that are out of his nature for you. You should be willing to do the same.”
Squall glared at him, a stare so cold he almost backed down. Aya next to him shivered. Then suddenly Squall was getting to his feet muttering something about—if he wanted to be preached to he would have sat with the Chief, and then he walked around the ring.
Seifer stood when he approached and opened his arms to him. Squall sat in between Seifer’s legs facing him, his legs pressed against either side of the blonde. Squall glared over his shoulder at his cousin before resting his head against his lover’s warm chest.
“I thought he was going to kill you,” Aya chuckled relieved.
“Me, too,” Shiki said watching the two with a grin. “But I’m not sorry.”
Seifer held his mate close enjoying his intoxicating scent—a scent made even more irresistible with his pregnancy. Sometimes Seifer could swear he even picked up the pup’s scent, although that wasn’t possible yet. Gods, he was going to miss this. He couldn’t imagine sleeping out under the stars hundreds of miles away from his mate in his weakness. He didn’t know who had it worse—Tetsuya, who had to leave just after his pup was born, or himself, leaving while his mate was still pregnant hoping that nothing went wrong or happened while he was gone.
However, he was feeling particularly sorry for himself and so decided he had it worse.
He sighed and rubbed one hand up and down his mate’s back.
“I’m glad you came over,” he said finally. Squall made a small snorting sound and rubbed a hand over his mate’s chest. “But if you hadn’t come over I would have gone over there because damn it all, you’re spending this night with me.”
Seifer gasped when Squall moved to lick his mating mark. A thrill of impassioned energy rushed through his system and he closed his eyes. Wanting to return the favor he lowered his head and massaged his lips and tongue against his mate’s mark. When he sucked Squall gasped loudly with a soft cry, his face turned to the heavens.
Next to them Jirou blushed. Seifer kind of liked hanging around the youth. Jirou’s energy and naivety reminded him of his little brother. He had to leave his sibling behind when he left with Beele to start anew. Deidara had been too young to be taken away from his bearer. After this winter they were going to cross the sea and return to Greeton for the Hopeful fest and he couldn’t wait to see him.
Squall swallowed and returned to resting his cheek on Seifer’s shoulder. He looked at Jirou who was trying to look anywhere but at them.
“When is Susugi returning?” he asked him sleepily.
“Oh, uh, he is supposed to be back in a week. But it depends. He has to find someone to run the shop for him so he can come back here.”
“Hn,” Squall said as his eyes slid closed. With the fire at his back and Seifer against his front he was plenty warm. Before long he was asleep. Seifer looked at Jirou.
“Jir, I want you to help Riki and Iason look after him while I’m gone,” he said softly.
Jirou straightened. “I’m honored that you place such trust in me,” he said. “I won’t let anything happen to him.”
Seifer smiled his thanks and then kissed his mate’s hair. He wanted these two months to be over already so he could just enjoy his mate and lay all worries to rest.
He didn’t know quite how it started, but as he picked a piece of tomato out of his green hair, Camus decided it was best to take refuge from the flinging produce war. Milo howled in triumph as his pastry smacked Kouyu in the face. Camus smirked when he reached Kei’s side.
That’s right. Milo started it all, naturally. When Kei’s mate, Madoka tried to steal one of Milo’s pastries he chucked his other one at him. It made perfect sense. Seiran and his younger brother Ryuuki immediately joined the fight, ganging up on Milo. Though Milo begged for Camus’s backup, it was much more fun to watch him lose.
“You’re cruel,” Kei said with a small frown as Milo was wrestled down with the help of Itachi who was hit by a rogue carrot.
“What?” Camus smiled. “I don’t see you helping your mate.”
“Yes, but my mate is winning.”
“Father always said, choose your battles carefully. I deem this one not worth fighting.”
“Soubi,” Ritsuka whispered when he knelt beside the artist. Soubi smiled and wished they were alone. He had to settle for just a smile.
“I know the perfect gift for Duo and Heero,” Ritsuka continued looking a little proud of himself.
“What’s that, love?” Soubi spoke the last word so quietly that no one would overhear. Ritsuka blushed.
“A bed. One with vertical panels so they cannot fall out,” the boy said enthusiastic about his idea.
Soubi smiled. He had seen such things in the human cities. Cribs or cradles they were called. But considering that Ritsuka was not yet old enough to visit a human city, his idea was original for him.
“It’s perfect,” Soubi chuckled enjoying how Ritsuka’s face brightened. “Come tomorrow and we’ll get started. This is your vision, I’ll need your guidance.”
“Okay,” Ritsuka said and almost leaned up to kiss him. Fortunately he caught himself in time. Instead he smiled and then wandered over to Beele and Sariel.
“Hey, kiddo,” Beele said and his baby brother plopped down in his lap. “You staying with us tonight?”
“Yep,” he quipped. The sage leaf in his mouth almost slipped out. He closed his mouth quickly until he could get it back in place. Only the gods knew how Beele would react if he saw it. “You two aren’t going to do anything funny, are you?”
Sariel smiled and Beele boomed out a laugh.
“We never do when you’re there,” Beele said. “At least not anything…funny.”
Ritsuka rolled his eyes. “Hey,” he said suddenly. “Where are Seiji and Ryo?” Beele and Sariel exchanged a knowing look. “What?!” Ritsuka demanded.
“They’re occupied,” Sariel said.
“Never you mind,” Beele said and grabbed him up in a headlock, ruffling his hair.
“Beele!” Ritsuka shouted and broke away, glaring at his brother. But with his shaggy hair sticking in all different directions, the Alpha had a difficult time taking him seriously. Ritsuka was about to let him have it when a cry rang out.
“They’re here!” Someone yelled from behind him. Leon jerked his head up and immediately spotted the three large wolves running up the road toward them. The largest red-furred beast was his. And he wasn’t running fast enough. Leon darted toward him. The two crashed together and rolled into the bushes at the side of the road.
The giant wolf pinned him to the ground under its weight. Leon clung to its long fur with his fists. A long, wet tongue lapped at his neck and growled deeply in its throat. Slowly the fur began to disappear, shrinking back against his skin, becoming a part of his flesh until nothing of it remained but soft, supple flesh. The sound of bones bending and breaking, cracking and shrinking made Leon wince. This was the main reason he was grateful that he wasn’t a seme. Growing a tail was painful enough.
A soft whine leaked from the transforming mouth as the muzzle shrank back and soft lips kissed the side of Leon’s mouth. The last things to change were his eyes. Leon watched as the large feral pupils returned to normal. Finally, after two long months, Walter was there, he was himself, and lying heavily atop him in his naked glory. Leon moaned into his lover’s mouth as Walter tore his shirt into shreds. Next were his pants. Normally Leon would have been furious because now they would have to return to the others naked, but nothing mattered right now. He ran his fingers through the long red locks, his mouth crashing against his lover’s. Tingling heat flooded into his groin, aroused flesh rubbing and grinding together.
“Hnnnaah,” Leon cried when strong lips moved against his mating mark. Every touch sent fire through him driving his arousal and need to great heights. He never knew he could miss his mate’s touch so much. He parted his legs causing his lover’s waist to slide and sink into the perfect place where they fit so well. Leon drew up his legs and wrapped them tightly around Walter’s waist, encircling him in a full arm and leg embrace.
“I’ve missed you,” Walter whispered.
“I love you,” Leon managed to answer before his mate began to slide into him. He moaned desperately. He wanted so much, too much, everything all at once. “More,” he groaned. Walter was only too happy to oblige and began to move. All else melted away. The world ceased to exist—the sounds of celebration behind them, the uneven ground beneath, the cold night air around them. Their distinct scents and the musk of their sex overwhelmed their nostrils driving them mad with desire.
“Hunh!” The sharp groan was forced from Leon’s throat by a particularly deep, hard thrust. He began to feel the raw discomfort from the two months of disuse and knew he would be sore later.
Walter could feel his mate’s legs quivering around him from the strain. His beloved’s need was so powerful that he almost doubted he could fulfill it. He sucked hard once more on his mate’s mark and then pulled back a little so he could reach a hard and neglected nipple. His tongue swirled around it, suckling and then nipping it with his teeth.
Leon gasped and squirmed beneath his heavy lover. Sweat beaded on his forehead and under his tightly closed eyes. He felt feverish and the heat made it difficult to breathe. But he was almost there. He could feel himself teetering on the edge as Walter penetrated deeper and harder. The large seme looked into the half-lidded, dazed eyes of his uke and then kissed him deeply. Leon cried out against his lips as he released. Walter listened to his lover’s voice, the precious sounds. He closed his eyes with a deep groan and released into the soft heat of his mate’s body.
Walter nuzzled against the side of Leon’s face while they waited to regain their strength. Leon’s exhausted legs fell away from his mate’s back and lay useless. He lifted a shaking hand to Walter’s cheek. His mate clasped his hand and kissed his fingers.
“You’re shaking,” Walter said softly, concern evident in his eyes.
“Hn,” was all Leon could manage.
“I shouldn’t have been so rough,” Walter continued and kissed the captured fingers again.
Leon only gave him a tired smile and held Walter’s strong chin, drawing him down for a kiss.
Then Walter pulled away and stood. He held out his hand to his mate and helped him up. Leon’s legs were still weak and he wobbled.
“Will you be able to walk?” Walter asked as he steadied him.
“I—I think so,” Leon gasped. However, when he took his first step he collapsed. Walter was quick and swooped him up into his arms before he could hit the ground. When the large wolf took a step toward the road Leon’s hand squeezed his arm.
“Do we have to go back like this?” he groaned.
“I am not ashamed.” Walter smiled as he spoke, his deep voice resonating in his chest. Leon rested his left ear against it. “You are passion incarnate and they are all jealous that you’re mine. Forgive my instinctive need to show you off.”
The vibration against his ear was soothing and he wanted to drift to sleep in its resonance.
“Fine,” Leon relented, closing his eyes. “Speak to me? I’ve missed your voice.”
Walter smiled and told of his adventure home as he emerged from the bushes and carried his mate the last of the distance to the welcome fire and home.
Kaoru almost sobbed when he caught sight of his brown wolf racing straight for him. At the last possible moment the wolf came to a skidding stop and began to transform. Tetsuya whined from the weakness and pain, but when he stood up on two legs again and beheld his mate and cub with human eyes, it was well worth it. And though he was standing naked in front of the entire pack, he didn’t notice.
Kaoru looked so exhausted it pained him. His eyes welled with the tears of a relieved mate and proud father. He stepped forward and took the cub from his mate, holding it close in one arm and crushed Kaoru to him with the other kissing them both many times over. The fussy pup calmed finally as he rested against his sire’s chest, feeling that his little world was complete once more.
“Gods, he’s grown so much,” Tetsuya whispered to his mate in awe.
Kaoru could only nod he was so overwhelmingly happy and relieved that his mate was home.
Jirou watched his elder brother’s reunion overjoyed to see Kaoru happy for the first time in two months. He picked up the blanket Kaoru had brought for his mate but apparently forgot about. He cleared his throat and they both looked at him.
“Um,” Jirou said holding up the blanket.
Tetsuya’s cheeks flushed a little and some of his pack brothers laughed. They’d all been there before though, so they couldn’t blame him. Kaoru laughed and took the cloth wrapping it snuggly around his mate’s slender hips and tucking it so it would stay in place.
“Can’t have you catching your death,” Kaoru said looking up at him.
Tetsuya put his arm around his uke’s lithe waist and kissed his forehead.
Like Walter, Hiei was mauled before he had finished transforming. His vibrant pups laughed and squealed as they clung tightly to their sire. However, the transformation was stressful as much as it was painful. A seme could lose control of himself and harm those around him. Kurama knew his mate’s control was nearly flawless, but all the same…
“Kana! Hiroko!(16)” Kurama scolded. The pups backed away and eagerly waited for their da, practically bouncing in place.
Soon the seme stood naked before his little family. His pups giggled behind their hands as their bearer held a robe up for Hiei to step into. After a tight and searing kiss with his mate, Hiei got straight to business. Ignoring his celebrating pack he moved to stand in front of his Chief.
“We have much to report, my lord,” Hiei said without emotion.
“Can it wait?” Beele said unable to look away from his mate who was dancing around the fire with the others.
“It can,” Hiei said, “but that would not be wise.”
The smile and merriment vanished from the Chief’s face immediately. He looked down at the shorter wolf.
“Very well,” he said finally. “Gather the other two and meet in my hut.”
The three wolves who just returned and those who would soon be leaving were sitting in a semi-circle on the floor around the Chief’s fireplace. Though he had encouraged the pack to continue their celebration, the curiosity was heavy and most of them couldn’t help but watch the Chief’s hut.
“Walter,” Beele began looking to the large seme who was now clothed in the robe Leon had forgotten to give him earlier. “You were placed at the head(17). What news do you bring?”
“My Lord,” Walter bowed his head to him. “I do not think there is much news to tell. But,” he glanced at Hiei’s scowling face. “There were rumors.”
“Rumors,” Beele repeated.
“Yes,” Tetsuya spoke up. He glanced nervously at his companions. “And there is no reason to put this off: the rumors were serious enough that we ventured as far as Kirlsa to find the truth.”
The Chief’s eyes grew dark, hard as granite. “You entered enemy territory?”
The others could instantaneously feel his anger. Knowing that what they did was against Beele’s law, they moved into submissive position on their knees with their necks fully exposed.
“Do you realize what you could have done?” Beele continued, rising to his feet, a guttural growl in his throat. “Do you deliberately defy me? Not only did you risk yourselves but all of us. Our home. Our way of life. Your precious pups.” He looked at Hiei and Tetsuya. Both of them grimaced.
“But, my lord,” Walter ventured and was sorry he did when the Chief’s tremorous anger focused on him. The ground trembled beneath them with the force of his fury. As the only one who could contend with Laures, Beele was a force to be reckoned with. He could tear any one of them apart.
Beele began to pace. “When you have only yourself to worry about you can do whatever the hell you want. But each one of you is recognized—you can not make such selfish decisions. Your life is not just yours. Getting yourself killed is a death sentence for your mates. You risked our discovery. Only a select few know about what we are and guess what, foolish pups—they’re all on this side of the border. There is a reason I’ve gone to such lengths to make certain Airyglyph never discovers that we exist. They are collectively, indisputably treacherous.”
He paced in silence. His pack brothers cowered close to the floor, none dared to look at him, even the three who were not at fault.
“Tell me one thing,” Beele growled. “Did you even discover if your rumors were true or false?”
Hiei glared up at him. Tetsuya shook his head.
“What were these rumors?” Beele demanded, trying to calm himself down. He had inherited his father’s anger. The difference was that Laures killed or exiled those who crossed him. Beele’s whole purpose here in a new land was to escape that influence and establish a better way—a way that produced a better, ideal society and ultimately gained him the unshakeable loyalty of his pack. He had to keep telling himself that these men would not take such a risk without truly believing there was a threat. And if that were the case, then it should not be ignored.
“Whispers that King Airyglyph XIII is planning on extending his borders,” Walter said, gaining some confidence when it became clear that his Chief was in control of his anger. “The people in Kirlsa were skittish; they didn’t like talking too much about it. But it seems that they have their sights on the Sanmite Republic. That land is every bit as lush as Aquaria and his mountainous kingdom grows colder every winter, or so it must seem to one with anxious ambitions.”
“The king wants off his mountain,” Beele nodded. “His ancestors wanted their fort impenetrable. What they didn’t take into consideration at the time was that no one wanted that land for a reason.” Beele took his seat once more. “So, they plan to eliminate the humanoid tribes of the Sanmite? Not so easily done.”
“Yes, but you must admit it makes sense,” Tetsuya insisted. “With the current peace agreement they cannot attack Aquaria without the queen’s armies retaliating. In Sanmite the tribes are weak. There’s no way they stand a chance against the three brigades of Airyglyph.”
“Alone, yes. Each tribe is too small. But the first hint of an attack would bring all the tribes together against Airyglyph. His brigades don’t stand a chance against tribal and guerilla warfare. Especially in his position. Cutting off supplies and outside aid would only be too easy. The only way to accomplish a full takeover is by taking out each tribe one by one without any of the others knowing. Which is impossible.”
Hiei was already shaking his head before Beele finished speaking.
“The rumors say they have a sorcerer,” he said. “One who can create physical and illusory evidence of natural disasters.”
“If they believe they are being punished by their gods they will not suspect Airyglyph,” Tetsuya offered softly.
Beele grew silent. The Sanmite was not their country, but in the long run, what boded ill for the Republic boded ill for them all.
“Very well,” he said after a long inner dispute. “I will decide what is to be done. As for you three, you will manage the fields alone with no evening relief for the remainder of the season before first freeze.” Beele watched them coldly. “And if you ever do anything like this again, I will personally tear you to unrecognizable pieces and scatter you before the scavengers.”
The three wolves backed away slowly on their hands and knees, keeping their necks exposed until they reached a safe distance to stand and take their leave. Of the remaining three, none dared to even move let alone speak until the Chief demanded it.
“Kouyu,” Beele said suddenly and the younger seme jumped. “Will you please fetch Sephiroth and Dark, and bring them to me?”
“Ye—yes, my lord,” he said nervously and exited the hut the same way as the others.
Beele turned to Seifer and Shiki. “These rumors, if they are true, are bad for everyone.” They nodded in agreement. “I would not ask this of just anyone. I know you two can accomplish what it is I will ask you. However, I want it clearly understood that I will not demand this of you, only ask. Both of you are free to decline.” Again they nodded. “Then what I ask is this: Infiltrate the capitol city and learn the truth. Nothing more.”
Shiki immediately accepted. Seifer’s only real concern was for Squall.
“I know you worry for your mate,” Beele said. “You do not need to be gone a whole two month term. Only stay long enough to gather your information safely and return home.”
That appealed to Seifer. If they got it done quickly then he would be back with Squall all the sooner.
“All right,” he agreed with a grin. “I’ll do it.
“I mean what I said, brave brothers,” Beele said in a low tone. “Be safe first, nothing unnecessary, and absolutely under no circumstances get caught. I will come for you myself if you do, but…” he smirked. “I won’t be happy about it.”
Just then Kouyu returned with Sephiroth and Dark.
Later that night Beele lay with his mate curled up against one side and his little brother and Fayt on the other. Beele smiled. They were so dear to him, all of them. He couldn’t imagine how their lives would have been changed if Walter and the others didn’t return. It would have been devastating to the small pack. He couldn’t sleep because of it. It was hard to know if he made the right decision.
The flap of his hut flipped up and in walked an extremely angry and pregnant Squall.
“My lord,” he growled. “I need to speak with you.”
Next to him Sariel stirred.
“What is it?” he murmured sleepily.
“I’ll be right back,” he said and kissed him. But his movement woke Ritsuka and Fayt as well.
“Beele?” came the sleepy childish voice.
“Shhh, go back to sleep.”
Beele wore only his breeches and the blast of cold as he stepped outside raised goose bumps all over his arms and shoulders.
“Squall?” he said.
“How could you do this?” Squall demanded. “Sending my mate and beloved cousin into enemy territory. If anyth—” Squall’s voice choked up a little. Sariel stepped out behind Beele wrapping his robe around himself. “If anything happens to them I’ll kill you,” Squall said darkly. Sariel gasped. Beele straightened and looked the uke in the eye.
“I don’t take threats lightly,” he said.
“And I don’t make them lightly,” Squall returned.
“Then we understand each other,” Beele said. “I would not have asked them to do this if I was not completely certain that they would return safely. Take comfort in that if you can.”
Squall glared at him for a long time. Finally he nodded once and walked away. Sariel’s heart ached for the uke. He couldn’t imagine being in such a position.
“Squall,” he called out and ran after him.
The two stood facing each other a moment then Sariel opened his arms. Squall wanted to remain tough, but sometimes just knowing someone understands is too much. He fell against the blonde and cried. He wasn’t ashamed this time, though. With Sariel it was different and, damn his pride, his mate and cousin were going into danger and he just didn’t care anymore.
He sniffed when he pulled away. “Damn these hormones,” he said and Sariel chuckled.
“Seifer and Shiki are too damned tough and stubborn to let anything happen to them.” Squall nodded. “And when they get back I want you to come over and help me kick my mate’s ass.”
The two ukes walked away together toward the Almasy hut. There was no way Sariel would let him walk home alone. Beele stood with his arms crossed, a smile on his lips as he listened to their laughter.
So, Sariel was going to kick his ass, huh? He couldn’t wait.
Finally! It is finished. I’ll just lie down and die now. Please read and review.
1 In case you forgot as well, in chapter 1 Shuichi tells Eiri that Seiji would take a look at him in the morning.
2 A refrigerator—it’s a box, it’s cold…………there you go.
3 They believe strongly in the power of fate—that even the gods are subject to its power. If it is your fate to live or die, then you will live or die, and so on and so forth.
4 Now, how in the world would Seiji know that? Because every newly recognized couple go before their chief for his blessing and are then immediately checked out by the pack’s Healer to ensure the uke’s health and ability to bear pups. So Seiji would have been informed.
5 Shuichi has been sick and unwell since the birth of his pups almost 5 years ago. It’s hard to take care of a mate and 5 pups, let alone keep the place clean.
6 No, this isn’t a magical apple. But it’s like when you’re doing what you know you’re supposed to—eating right, etc.—you feel good about it and about life. That’s how Shuichi is feeling. He has new hope and a stronger determination now.
7 I was eating buttered toast with cinnamon at the time…my favorite. So, yeah.
8 He means pack brothers.
9 Yes, they can breastfeed. Some fanfic mpreg writers make our beloved boys have actual breasts for this. I can’t stand that. So, these welves do not change in any noticeable way. The ukes in this story are built for this type of thing so having to change to accommodate the babies they’re built to bear doesn’t make sense. The only thing that changes for them is that the area around the nipples softens.
10 Their people celebrate a lot. Things they always celebrate without fail: a good harvest, a recognition, a birthing, the safe return and sending off of their pack brothers for border patrol, the coming of age to recognize. These are all viewed as great blessings and so the welves celebrate them with thanksgiving, dancing and lots of food. Mmmm, turkey. Sorry, I love Thanksgiving.
11 Susugi owns a little tea place in the manga.
12 Birthing brother—in multiple pup births the other pups are your birthing brother(s). So Sieg and Aya were a two pup litter. And just like with human twins or triplets, birthing brothers are very close and understand each other when no one else does.
13 100 is the age separation from Youth to Elder (kind of like how 18 is legal age for adult). Also, it isn’t unheard of to be several hundred years old and unrecognized, but just like with humans there is an ideal period of time for settling down and for the welves that period is before they become an Elder.
14 For those who don’t know: In the anime the class ranking of people is determined by the color of their hair. Blondie’s are at the top and Riki is at the bottom with his black hair—a.k.a. a mongrel. But here Iason uses it as a teasing endearment.
15 In the manga I’m sure most of you have never heard of, Sumiya says that he will kill anyone that ever tries to dominate him. If you like Ai no Kusabi and/or S&M & bondage you should check it out. Lot’s of femmy-lookin’ guys, bondage and sex. It’s great.
16 Japanese names. Kana means powerful; Hiroko means generous child or magnanimous. Kana looks like Hiei but with red hair, Hiroko looks like Kurama with black hair. So cute.
17 The head is the appointed leader of the border guard. They make the decisions when the group is away. The other two are called the points.
And before I get reviews complaining that Walter, Hiei, and Tetsuya are not cowards, I would like to say that I am using absolute carnal law for this fic. You would never defy the alpha unless you wanted to fight him and in doing so you would have to defeat him to keep your life and place in the pack. Since no one can possibly defeat Beele, they would never challenge him, thus the uncharacteristic cowering in an attempt to placate the Chief’s wrath. P.s. Riki thinks that Iason could take Beele...Iason knows better.