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As quick as they could, the five of them quickly left the auction house premises and moved to the far western side of the highway. Sadly, the offending stench of death had traveled with the group, having already become part of the clothes that they wore. That much was clear with how far the canines were standing from the two of them. The concentration and enclosement of the rot inside the barn had been atrocious. Getting the other three to keep a watch out for literally anyone or anything that was making a move, Natalie and Shannon started stripping. As they did, they could not help but leer at one another's naked forms. As they did, their eyes made contact. Nat's first reaction was to smirk and lick her lips. As soon as she did, Shannon turned away from her, embarrassed at being stared at so openly. However, her ears gave her away, as the blush that she attempted to hide spread all the way out, turning her ears a stunning red colour.

Proud of her actions, Nat finished getting all of her now offensive clothing off and into the middle of the highway. There was no point in getting new clothes if the smell was just going to transfer over and continue to be an issue. Helping Shannon by grabbing the disregarded clothes, she built them up to burn quickly and efficiently. As Shannon finished undressing, Natalie lit up the pile of smelling refuse. Quickly, so the smell of smoke would not cover them too much, they moved back towards the west and hung out on the edge of the field. Thankfully, it did not take long for the clothes to take, and within five minutes they had almost completely turned to ash. During those five minutes, the two of them took a shower, doing their best to get as much of the smell out of their hair as humanly possible. This was made possible due to the multitude of motherly canines inside the Soulscape taking care of their new pups. Ash and Luna each stuck out a paw, sending water out in a small but steady stream. Once they were sure that the clothes had burned enough to get rid of any smells of rot, Nat moved the bare minimum distance needed for them to hit the smoldering pile with water.

Drying off, the two of them quickly got dressed, the slightly chilly spring air causing them to want extra layers for at least part of the afternoon walk. This time, Shannon finished getting dressed first. When Nat took a look over and saw that Shannon was done, her eyes narrowed to a glare as she pulled her pants on. This turned into a mild "Fuck you!" when Shannon returned the same smirk and lip licking that she had given earlier. They both tried to hold serious expressions for a few seconds before breaking into laughter. As Nat finished dressing, the canines came back over to them, moving slowly should the scent from before reappear. When none came up, until there was the barest flicker of the stench only surfacing when they were basically pressing their snout against the two, they were nuzzled by Sol and hugged by Maia and Kali. It was extremely awkward, as they were still overly conscious of the claws that they had on the end of each finger, but it was still a fluffy filled embrace full of warmth.

At that point, all five were done with the town at this point. They did not want to check to see if anyone was there, nor if there were any monsters. Mostly they just did not care for any unnecessary interaction. Having an easy consensus, the group proceeded to walk north on the highway, resuming their training where it had left off. Nothing felt different to Nat after the whole grabbing of more varied meats, which meant that they probably had no effect on her Soulscape either. This just drove home the idea that the energy, the bonding, and her soul were all connected. Since there was no bond, and no energy in the corpses they acquired, the lack of any immediate growth fell in well within her expectations. If there had been a difference, she would have been more surprised. That would mean yet another thing she was unable to wrap her head around. Now, with careful checking and repeated tests with slightly changing variables, some of the pieces were starting to fall into place.

The rest of the journey that day was fairly mellow. They passed by what appeared to be a small hamlet, which they found out was named Parkland later after taking a look at their map. It looked small and unassuming as they walked by, nothing grabbing their eyes as they bypassed the area in its entirety. As the sun started to set, they noticed a town on the horizon. Stopping early, they made camp at a small orchard sitting just off the highway on Range Road 281. Camp was made, and Shannon immediately got to butchering and cooking up a lamb that Shadow had nabbed her. While she did that, Shadow got his payment for the deed from Natalie. He had been practicing and watching the advice that Shannon had been giving to the two wolves that were outside and shifted. As thanks for grabbing the meat, he came out of the Soulscape shifted. Apparently, walking in the Soulscape on two legs was far easier than walking around in the real world. It was almost as if it was assisting them with how to walk while they were there. Given Nat's soul had plenty of experience walking on two legs, that did not come as a great surprise.

Now, during the journey, Maia and Kali had become so good at walking that they were only being criticized once a half hour at the end, and usually for the same thing. To them, this meant that they had become experts of the form. While Shadow did his best to get his feet under him, the two women started throwing critiques at him, pointing out what he was doing wrong, and even trying to physically adjust his posture. However, they were basically assistants now to Shannon, as she would keep an ear on them and correct their errors when heard, or comment on how the posture would help down the road. This was both a good and bad thing. Good, in the sense that Shadow got better at walking on two legs at a much faster rate. The bad side was that he almost driven to the point of tearing his fur out with the constant critiques coming from the two wolves. However, he was saved by the bell, almost literally. Just as he was about to snap, Shannon made the call that dinner was ready, fresh blood still running down the leg of the table she butchered the lamb on.

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A note from tahu653

Huge thanks to my Elder Wolves Jake, Viktor, Nikolas, Saganatsu, Eeleater, Eric, Corgi, Lachlan, Adam, John, Nicholas, Jacob, Onean, Erudual, Hades, Krimson, Neal, Juuso, Sebastian, Sir Hellington, and Kevin for supporting me and my writing! Remember that I keep Patreon ten chapters ahead at all times. Our next goal on Patreon will be getting up to 50 patrons, which I will then spend more time each month writing some side stories and shorts that show other perspectives throughout my stories!

 

Feel free to join us all on my Discord! https://discord.gg/b8gRkD4


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tahu653

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