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A note from Skwrepb

Okay, this is the second to last of the pov chapters. The final one is the one I imagine everyone is most looking forward to. I'm adding a new bit to my Patreon that allows supporters and beta readers to cast votes in a regular poll for bonus chapters and additional content. 

I hope you all are doing excellent, I know I am!

Jen

The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and it was a good day to be alive. If you asked Sugar, it was always a good day to be alive. Her tail was wagging like a flag, long hair swishing through the air. She was nuzzling her way through a half dozen children, sticking hands buried in her fur, and loving every minute of it. It was late afternoon when the littlest girl one fell and skinned her knee. Sugar was licking the wound clean of debris, falling in gravel will do that to a wound, when she heard the voice.

**DA-DING!! You have gained the active skill Healing Touch!!**

She immediately felt the skill snap into place and she felt a bright touch on her tongue. Littlest Sister squealed and threw her arms around Sugar’s shoulders, burying her face in the golden fur.

“Sugar healed me!” The girl yelled at the top of her lungs. “Sugar’s magic!”

“That’s unpossible!” Littlest Brother said.

“Is not!” Littlest Sister protested.

“Is so!”

And on it went. Sugar nudged Littlest Sister until she let go. The kids raced around in circles, taunting and teasing one another. Sugar sat down on her haunches out of the way and scratched her chin, basking in the warm sunlight. It was a gorgeous day with a brilliantly blue sky and fluffy, white, slow moving clouds. She leaned her head back and took a deep breath, she could smell the rain coming. Tonight, maybe tomorrow.

**DA-DING!! You have gained +1 Weathersense!!**

Definitely tomorrow. Rain. Heavy rain and wind. Strong enough to break branches. It would be a good day to stay inside and curl up in a warm place. Sugar turned her attention to the bustling dooryard. Somehow she doubted that everyone else would be willing to stay indoors. There was too much to get done around here lately.

Tonight would be clear though, the clouds should move off just after sunset. The moon was almost full, too. Sugar loved the full moon. Sometimes she was able to take walks in the moonlight, at least back home. Now she could come and go as she pleased. She was definitely going to go for a moonlight walk tonight. Maybe she could get some of the others to go with her.

 

It was chaos. The sun had finally sunk below the horizon, bathing the sky in deep blues and fading oranges and pinks. The stars were just beginning to appear in the darkened sky. Guns barked and spat from the tower and hastily erected cover behind the fence. The skitterings had breached the fence rather quickly. The crack of gunfire made Sugar’s ears ache. She watched the battle as the skitterings started to fall. Her attention was drawn by Lucky’s large multi-colored frame. The big dog slammed into a skittering with his leading shoulder, the skittering went over on its side, skidding along the gravel of the drive. Lucky planted his feet against it and leapt away, toward another skittering. Other dogs joined the fray and Sugar watched from the sidelines. She wasn’t afraid. She just wasn’t a fighter

Soon all the skitterings had fallen save one which was flanked by Intrepid’s silver shape and Calypso’s splotchy red and white. One moment Lucky was standing next to Quigley’s sturdy gray and white. The next moment he had vanished and reappeared standing in front of the little coyote leader.

A brilliant flash of light precluded a loud yelp of pain from the big dog. Sugar was moving before she knew what was happening. Her long fur streaming behind her, paws pounding the uneven ground. He was stumbling, trembling, heaving for breath. He in a shaking breath as she closed the distance and unleashed a pathetic, warbling howl. He braced himself, but he was clearly on the verge of collapse. She raced up next to him, whining just a little bit and leaned her shoulder up under his, trying to support his faltering weight.

She eased a little forward so she could turn and look down at the gnarled and charred wound on his chest. “[Healing Touch].” She said, softly. She leaned forward and softly nosed the wound, licking at it gently. She could feel him straighten as his wound faded.

**DA-DING!! You have gained +1 Healing Touch!!**

Lucky went quickly back into the fray, but Sugar retreated back to the cover the humans had set up. She wasn’t a fighter, and she was certain she never would be. As the battle raged on, Sugar darted out occasionally to help everyone she could. She was getting tired, the healing seemed to pull quite a bit out of her.

“Get your hands off my dog, you jerk!” It was the girl screaming. One of the enemies was holding on to Lucky.

Sugar watched in horror as the metal tube lifted toward Lucky’s girl. Again Lucky disappeared, vanishing from the rider’s grip and reappearing in front of the girl, in mid air. His body jolted and the rider writhe. As soon as the strange blazing ball hit Lucky, Sugar started moving. Her feet scrabbling for purchase against the loose gravel. The girl was running too, a pair of long strides brought her to her knees next to Lucky. The big dog struggled against her as she wrapped her arms around him, burying her face in his fur. Sugar dug deep for every ounce of speed she could manage, it wasn’t enough. The multicolored dog was bleeding, she could smell it on the air, along with the acrid stench of burned fur.

Lucky rolled to his stomach, his body trembling and every line of his body screaming with agony. With herculean effort, he got his forelegs beneath him, lifting the crying girl with him. He nearly went down as he struggled to get his hind limbs to obey. His entire body was trembling. Finally, he stood. It was obvious he was barely holding on, obvious that he was grievously injured and his injury was only further weakening him. He closed his eyes, drew in a deep and shuddering breath, and unleashed a howl.

The furious howl exploded from him, its effects like those of an earthquake rippling outward. The whole battlefield went still. The wrath of the howl was palpable. Sugar could almost taste it in the air. She was airborne, all four stretching, flinging her toward Lucky as quickly as she could go. Her right forepaw impacted the ground.

Nothing else moved in the dooryard.

Her left forepaw impacted the ground as her right pushed off, throwing her forward again.

Other voices joined the howl. Their fury unleashed.

Her left hind paw crossed in front of her left fore, slamming into the ground.

The sound swelled, reaching a crescendo.

The stillness shattered.

Her right hindpaw landed, pushed off. She was airborne again. A single four beat stride. The enemy turned and fled, an entire pack of coyotes hot on their heels. Lucky, every muscle twitching and heaving, tried to take a step forward. Without a sound, the big dog went down at the girl’s feet. She collapsed next to him, burying her face in his fur.

One more four beat stride and Sugar planted all four feet, skidding to a stop next to Lucky and his girl. She sought his injury as soon as she reached him, black nose sniffing for the source of the blood. The girl was sobbing, tears burning a path down her cheeks. She wouldn’t move from Lucky’s side, even when Sugar tried to nudge her right arm off the edge of his wound. She immediately began licking the wound reaching for [Healing Touch] again and again, until she could heal no more.

 

“Sugar?” Lucky’s voice broke the haze of sleep that had fallen over the golden retriever.

She snorted back a half-snore and shot to her feet, tail wagging wildly. “Sorry, Lucky.” She yawned enormously. “I fell asleep.”

“I imagine so. Are you okay to tell us what class you were offered?”

She yawned again, tail still wagging as she trotted up to Lucky to rub her cheek against his shoulder. “Sure. Give me just a wag to get myself together.”

 

Blue Heeler

There is nothing in life that has more value than life itself. You have dedicated yourself to the care of your allies, your touch brings succor and your presence joy.

When you open this class you gain the traits [Devoted], [Favored of Shamyr], and [Touched] as well as the skills [Shamyr’s Blessing], [Heal], [Rejuvenate], [Warding Touch], and [Respite]. Additional skills and abilities may become available at higher levels.

You will gain +2 Endurance, +5 Willpower, +3 Intelligence, and +5 Wisdom.

 

“That may be the best class I’ve heard of yet.” The girl smiled. Lucky’s tail was wagging.

Sugar yawned. “I thought so too. I already accepted it.”

“What about the traits and skills?” Lucky asked.

 

Devoted

You have given yourself body and soul to a goal or belief greater than yourself.

Skills related to your goals or beliefs have increased effectiveness.

 

Favored of Shamyr

Your choices have attracted the attention of Shamyr and you have earned her favor.

 

Touched

Something beyond has touched you.

 

Shamyr’s Blessing

Shamyr has given you her blessing.

You and all allies within fifty feet gain a mild heal over time. The strength of the heal increases with level.

 

Heal

When focusing on an ally within 10 yards that you can see, you can heal them for a moderate amount of damage. Strength and distance of the heal improve with level.

 

Rejuvenate

Your zest for life can be shared.

When an ally within 20 feet has reached the end of their resources, you can rejuvenate them with a thought.

 

Warding Touch

A single touch can give an ally a ward equal to their maximum health. The ward decays first before damage is taken.

 

Respite

Sometimes wounds are to the soul and not the body. These wounds cannot be healed by anything but time. Respite helps the victim find rest while their soul heals.

 

“Wow.” Was all Lucky said when she finished talking.

Sugar yawned. “I wish rejuvenate worked on me.”

That brought a roar of laughter over the gathered canines. “You can head back if you want, Sugar. We’re almost done here and I can see you’re tired.”

“I’m tired, but everybody lived.”

“We couldn’t have done it without you.” He bumped shoulders with her and the girl scratched her behind the ears.

 

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A note from Skwrepb

Thank you so much to Kieran Pierce for the absolutely wonderful cover.

I'd also like to take the space to thank my Patreon supporters: Sams, Louie, Shazzer, HL, Thelon, Robert, Dax, Klondike, Not Meep, Raycn, PrinceCorwin, Ingo, Milton, Ava, Thomasaurus Rex, Sean, Taylor, and the rest of you who haven't told me how you'd like to be named.

Please take a moment to rate or review! For those of you that have, thank you very much! I've been enjoying the heck out of writing this story and I'm grateful that you are enjoying reading it.

If you want to get a better idea of Lucky's looks, check the spoiler.

Lucky is based on three dogs that I've loved throughout my lifetime.

His coloration comes from Patches, an Australian Shepherd.

His eyes, ears, and tail come from Stormy, a siberian husky/german shepherd mix. (Though one of his ears has fallen and looks like Patches'.)

The final dog, Prince, I don't have a photo of because it was a very long time ago, but he was a Great Pyrenees. I found a good picture on this site . I don't own the image, but here's where Lucky gets his fluffy coat and large size.

Large white dog on a snowy field.

 


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About the author

Skwrepb

  • Iowa

Bio: Hi! My name is Skwrepb (pronounced Jen, I swear). I'm a stay at home mother of three with not enough time on my hands. I've been writing since I could hold a pen and I have so many stories to tell!
I'm an avid reader and The Wandering Inn is what brought me to Royal Road. I have been devouring stories here ever since.

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