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Page 465[]

Marisa: Well, her breathing sounds better and her heart rate is fine, but Sara's temperature is still elevated. Uh, for a werewolf.
Maggie: Thanks for helping me get mom cleaned up last night, Marisa.
Marisa: Not a problem. That's the first time I've dragged out the shop-vac to clean wolfsbane off of someone, but it worked!
Elias: When is mom gonna... wake up? It didn't take this long for me to come to, even if my body still feels weak and floppy.
Marisa: We don't know how long Sara was covered in wolfsbane. She's an alpha, so she'll heal eventually.
Maggie: It might take until the full moon for her to recover. Mom could be out for a few more days.
Maggie: How does a witch get a jump on two experience werewolves? Since when can you not dodge a magic spell, Eli?

Page 466[]

Elias: I don't know! I've never had a problem dodging a spell from a witch, and this dude was flying around a tree at the time! One minute, I think I'm just gonna scare him a little, teach this witch dude to not start shit in this territory, and then wham! I get a face full of wolfsbane before I know what's happening!
Marisa: Maybe that witch dude was juicing?
Maggie: Juicing?!
Marisa: I don't knwo what to call it! Like steroids, but magic or whatever.
Elias: Like Connie did to her werewolf baby daddy? Took some of his magic to make herself more powerful?
Maggie: You told me about that. But this witch guy would've had to practically drain a werewolf of magic to have such an advantage. Twice.
Marisa: If you wanted to start a territory war, but also needed to keep your nose clean to get werewolf council approval... sacrificing some magic to let a witch do your dirty work wouldn't be a stupid plan.

Page 467[]

Maggie: Y'know, for as unhelpful ast he Michigan werewolf council has been with investigating the deaths in Crescent Lake, I wouldn't be surprised if someone's undermining us on purpose.
Elias: Yeah, but the coucnil has always been a bureaucratic nightmare. THat's almost what it's for.
Marisa: Everyone was happy to ignore Crescent Lake until Connie's spell failed. Before that, Malaya, Aubrey, and the others were totally off the radar.
Maggie: Well, that's not the case anymore. I just got an email from the coucnil that there's been a petition for a claim on the territory. It doesn't tell me who's making the claim, though.
Marisa: Oh... no. That's not good.
Elias: We're screwed if they're moving that fast.
Elias: So. We can fix this. We bring Malaya and Aubrey and the rest of 'em into the Ross pack, and Crescent Lake will be safe. The council already said this mess is our problem, so they should let us fix it.
Maggie: Eli, man... that's not gonna work.. The council has already stonewalled mom over and over, making it super complicated to add Ezra and me as alphas. The Ross pack is too big, they don't want us to be bigger.

Page 468[]

Maggie: Besides, we have these werewolves trapped in a house with a witch...
Elias: And our grandmother.
Maggie: And our grandmother, god damn. These werewolves are directly connected to a couple of deaths, plus they kidnapped your friend.
Marisa: The council is going to drag us to hell if we want to add Aubrey and the others to the Ross pack.
Maggie: Yeah, basically.
Elias: So, what? We give up and just let this new pack take over Crescent Lake?.
Maggie: Malaya can file the paperwork to claim it herself. She's got just as much of a claim.
Elias: Mal's already got a whole house of dying werewolves to deal with.
Marisa: Mal's whole pack is just her, her human family, and maybe Aubrey's pack... Who are already disqualified for Connie murdering those people. The council won't take her application.
Maggie: Mal's pack only maybe includes those other werewolves. Her pack definitely includes Elias. You were kicked out of our pack.
Elias: Uh, yeah. Technically.
Maggie: Great! I think I have an idea and everyone's gonna hate it!

Page 469[]

Ginger: I know this food isn't heavy, but I still hate carrying it.
Malaya: The wagons are still with Aubrey. I hope they were able to get them into the forest, at least.
Ginger: How are we going to get the food to them if we can't get close enough to the house?
Malaya: We can... throw it?
Ginger: That's your plan? We're going to throw food at them?
Malaya: We don't have a better plan! Everything's heavy enough to throw! We can definitely get it to them that way..
Ginger: Except the bread. You can't chuck a loaf of bread across the whole yard, it's too floppy.
Malaya: Hey, I can see the house!
Malaya: Oh, no.
Ginger: We're going to have to figure out how to throw the bread.

Page 470[]

Harvey: Get... Away... From us!
Harvey: Huff huff huff. We don't have the energy to do this much longer...
Ginger: How are we going to get the food to them if we can't get close enough to the house?
Malaya: Aubrey! What happened?!
Aubrey: The vines are growing too quickly! We're too weak to cut them back fast enough!
Ginger: Uh... we brought more food. Can you... catch it?

Page 471[]

Malaya: We're looking through all of Marisa's magic tomes this evening... to see if we can find anything we've missed to help free you all from Connie.
Harvey: You guys need to tell all those damn werewolves and witches to get their asses in gear! Every time these vinces touch us, we get a little weaker!
Harvey: I've had to cut vines off Tim a few times, and we sleep in shifts so we can cut them off the house throughout the night.
Ginger: That sounds horrible! Is time okay? He's not moving.
Marcus: He's still breathing and he makes noise sometimes. He doesn't wake up anymore.

Page 472[]

Marcus: Ginger, how're you doing? Your letter sounded... hopeful.
Ginger: Uh...
Ginger: I'm, uh... I'm good. I've learned a lot. Everyone's been nice to me. And helpful. But I'd trade all that to be with you guys...
Aubrey: Knowing you're safe keeps us going, though. We were able to save you. At least you're okay. That means maybe the rest of us can be saved too.
Ginger: We're not giving up! We'll save you too!
Ginger: Ah!

Page 473[]

Marcus, Harvey, Aubrey: Ginger!!
Ginger: Let me go!
Ginger: Get off! Get off!
Aubrey: Knowing you're safe keeps us going, though. We were able to save you. At least you're okay. That means maybe the rest of us can be saved too.
Ginger: We're not giving up! We'll save you too!
Ginger: Ah!

Page 474[]

Havey: This is the farthest from the house we can go now. Connie's pull on us is too strong. We can't help you...
Aubrey: She's safe... She's safe...
Harvey: It's too dangerous to keep delivering food to us. Aubrey: We'll get by. Just focus on freeing us. Please don't risk getting caught too.
Ginger: This si the last thing we have for you. Catch!
Ginger: We're gonna save you! We're going to figure out something!

Page 475[]

Malaya: We have nothing. I can't belive we've been at this for so long and we have nothing.
Elias: Set the house on fire. Just burn it to the ground.
Charlene: Ya can't. That place is fireproof 'til Connie's practically dead. She won't give up that protection spell.
Malaya: Can we... invade the house?? The vines are coming from inside. Where Connie is, probably.
Elias: Connie can control my grandma... That's a horrible sentence... which means she can enthrall anyone even sorta related to the Ross pack. Grandma still counts as an alpha.
Marisa: With the council in the way, none of the other packs nearby will want to get involved. We're uh, too... messy.
Marisa: My magic can't reach far enough to break Connie's hold on that weird werewolf kid. He's almost dead, so now would be the best time to free him.
Marisa: Uh, maybe? (Do they even have the strength for that?)
Marisa: With the council in the way, none of the other packs nearby will want to get involved. We're uh, too... messy.

Page 476[]

Elias: I have nothing to offer. I'm so tired, it feels like my bones are gonna fall out. Even if I could transform, it's not like I can attack a house. All i can do is read these damn magic books. And I'm barely awake enough to do that. And I don't know shit about magic.
Malaya: More coffee.
Elias: Caffeine works so much better when I'm more human-y and less werewolf-y. Thank you.
Malaya: Doesn't your mom have a landscaping business? Can you raid her stuff for something more powerful than some rusty tools? That would help keep the vines away at least.
Elias: I... could do that. A few gas-powered string trimmers, maybe a chain saw...
Charlene: Weed killer?
Elias: Uh, does weed killer work on magic vines?
Marisa: I've never tried killing anything magic with industrial chemicals, but uh... I guess we can try it?
Elias: Mom only buys organic herbicide.
Marisa: Oh, that's neat.

Page 477[]

Marin: You've all been studying those books for hours...
Marisa: Hey, babe.
Marin: Find anything useful so far?
Charlene: I found a spell that'll release stains from the bottom of frying pans, and a ritual to help my spells carry physical objects more easily.
Malaya: A ritual?
Charlene: You sit in a field and drink mugwort tea under a new moon while 'deepening your relationship with the local flora'.
Malaya: New moon? That'll be too late.
Charlene: Yeah, probably.
Marisa: I found a spell that might kill the vines, but it's risky getting close enough to the house to cast it. So, now I'm looking for a spell to help boost my spell-casting range.
Marin: Well that's a start at least...
Marisa: If I can boost my range, I could try breaking the binding spell on them instead...

Page 478[]

Malaya: Elias?
Elias: Wuh?
Malaya: How will the full moon affect Aubrey and the others?
Elias: Uh, I don't know. The full moon might power them up enough to hang on longer, but Connie could get an upgrade from that too.
Charlene: The full moon is the day after tomorrow. It's the rose moon.
Marin: We don't have much time to prepare for whatever might happen.
Charlene: Yeah, probably.
Marisa: I found a spell that might kill the vines, but it's risky getting close enough to the house to cast it. So, now I'm looking for a spell to help boost my spell-casting range.
Elias: Someone needs to stay with my mom. The full moon should wake her up, but she might be kind of... dangerous. Initially.
Marin: This is also going to be Ginger's first full moon since we freed her. She'll need help to stay calm.
Marsia: It's already taking a toll on her. She was wired all day and then passed out at eight.

Page 479[]

Elias: We need to loop my sister into this conversation...
Elias: Hey Mags?
Maggie: Yeah? What's up?
Elias: We've been talking... What are your plans for the full moon if Mom wakes up? Uh, when she wakes up. You're gonna need help, right?
Maggie: What...
Maggie: Oh. Yeah, yeah i think help would be a good idea...
Maggie: If Marin helps me, I thinkw e can handle Mom if she wakes up and tries to kill us.
Marin:I'll be there!
Malaya: But... we also need to be close enough to the creepy house in case the full moon causes... something to happen, right? Bad or good.

Page 480[]

Elias: We can camp in the woods for the full moon! I'll get my strength back by the end of the night, and being outside should help Ginger get through it easier.
Malaya: Oh. A full moon outside... That's a lot different than playing obard games all night.
Elias: It'll be fun! Running around on the full moon is awesome!
Maggie: I've gotta go, but we need to meet tomorrow night so I can review my plan with you all.
Maggie: I have a conference call with the council in the morning. I'll make sure they agree to my terms so we can finish the paperwork.
Marin: Will you share this planw ith us?
Maggie: Sure, tomorrow night!
Marin: Why not now?
Maggie: 'Cause you're going to be super pissed off if they agree to my idea, so I'd rather share it later. Marin: Maggie...
Maggie: Okay, talk to you tomorrow! Bye!
Marin: Eli, what is your sister up to?
Elias: I don't know! I promise!
Charlene: I'll swap shifts with you for tomorrow, Mal.
Malaya: Thanks. There are just so many problems happening at once, and we haven't solved any of them.
Charlene: We just need to get through the full moon. Let's focus on that...

Page 481[]

Elias: What?
Vincent: This is your car?
Vincent: Don't take this the wrong way, but will this car make it?
Elias: Do you want a bunch of dirty lawn equipment in your car?
Vincent: Good point.
Elias: Are you sure you don't mind going to Mom's warehouse with me? It's kinda far. Almost an hour...
Vincent: Um, it's fine. I don't mind how far it is.

Page 482[]

Vincent: Do you really think chainsaws and weed wackers will help?
Elias: Probably not. The vines are magical so who knows what will happen, really.
Elias: It's like, the full moon is a day away and I can feel it, which makes me antsy. But then I'm still all weak and floppy, so I feel totally useless. Getting landscaping equipment is the only thing that makes me feel productive right now.
Vincent: Normal humans feel 'weak and floppy' most of the time.
Elias: Uh, yeah. Sorry.
Vincent: Being able to turn into a giant wolf... guy... isn't the only thing you have gto offer. You've helped my siter learn all kinds of things about being a werewolf, stuff we couldn't have found on our own.
Elias: Thank you. Um, for that. Sometimes I forget there's more to me than being able to transform into a werewolf.
Vincent: The knowledge you've given Malaya changed my family's lives. We tried looking up info about werewolves on the internet, but... it didn't turn out well.
Elias: Yeah, never do that.
Vincent: It was weird..
Elias: For sure. It gets extremely weird.

Page 483[]

Elias: I just wish I didn't rush in to fight that witch guy. If I hadn't gotten blasted with wolfsbane to the face, you and Ginger wouldn't have been left so vulnerable. Being mixed up with me just keeps putting everyone in danger one way or another.
Vincent: Hm.
Elias: What?
Vincent: If you hadn't come to town, maybe we'd have been attacked by the pack in the creepy house, anyway. Or this new pack. More people would have gotten bitten and died...
Elias: Huh. I guess that's true.
Vincent: There's one thing I don't get...
Elias: Yeah?
Vincent: You offered to help my sister. You weren't here to fight for turf or kick out my family... The pack that attacked us while you were passed out... they seem more... feral. And shirtless.
Elias: Yeah, uh... werewolf packs all have different priorities. The Ross pack is big and secure enough... Needing more territory isn't really our thing. But some packs want to be separate from humanity... They dig into the whole "wolf" part of being a werewolf.

Page 484[]

Elias: Some packs have a very "back to nature" approach. Little to no clothing, or they all dress the same, or they refuse to use technology... I know a pack of amish werewolves, that shit is wild to me.
Vincent: Your pack seems... less intense.
Elias: Yeah, we're about maintaining order... and mutual cooperation and protecting each other...
Vincent: Is that why you followed me around at school? You're used to protecting people?
Elias: Uh, sure... I guess you don't need me to follow you around at school anymore. There's no more threat from Aubrey or the other werewolves.
Vincent: That's... it's fine. I don't mind if you follow me around.
Elias: Oh! Uh, thanks.
Vincent: That other pack is in town. The shirtless werewolves might attack me. Or something. I don't know.
Elias: Well, yeah. You'd definitely need me to keep a pack of half-naked weirdos away from you. I can, uh... I'll protect you... Elias: Hey, it's a nice day! Let's listen to some music! Country roads, windows down...

Page 485[]

Elias: Gina does stuff all daaay... Works for some guy, she brings home money... For looooove, for Lo-ooooove...
Vincent: Those are definitely not the lyrics to this song...
Elias: We gotta hooold on to things we bought... doesn't make a difference if we return it or not... Whoaaaaaa, we're almost there... Whoa-oooooo, Kitten on a chaaair!
Elias: What? I'm nailing the lyrics. I made 'em better.
Vincent: If you say so...
Elias: Kit-ten on a chaaaaair!

Page 486[]

Vincent: Isn't your mom going to be upset that we're stealing her tools?
Elias: We're... borrowing. We might get 'em back one day. Besides she has a lot of older stuff that doesn't get used as much. Okay, let me see what we have back here...
Elias: That's a brush grubber!
Vincent: Uh, okay.
Vincent: Do you need any... um, help?
Elias: I think we're ready to pack up! Look, it still works!

Page 487[]

Vincent: The full moon is tomorrow. Malaya said you're going camping?
Elias: Yep! Sort of! We don't really need tents or anything. It's mostly just running around in the woods in the moonlight.
Elias: Did you wanna come?
Vincent: Uh, camping on a full moon with a bunch of werewolves?
Elias: Yeah!
Vincent: Wouldn't that be dangerous, though? Isn't this Ginger's first real full moon since she woke up?
Elias: Damn. Ginger might be kind of... unpredictable.
Vincent: I'll stay home. But maybe... maybe we could go camping some time? Not on a full moon when Ginger might try to tear someone's face off, though.
Elias: Yeah... Yeah, that'd be fun. With a tent and a fire and stuff... Let's go camping some time.

Page 488[]

Marin: Maggie, I do not like your plan.
Maggie: It's not real. You're not actually kicked out of the Ross pack, you're just... technically kicked out of the Ross pack.
Marin: Sara's not even awake yet. We should wait for her. She wouldn't agree with your idea.
Marisa: Plans are dumb. What makes you think this will even work? If they say no, then it's back to square one.
Maggie: Mom and I already discussed something like this before she got hit by the wolfsbane. With the full moon tomorrow, everyone will be distracted on this conference call, so we need to act now. THey're more likely to approve the request to submit paperwork...
Marin: Maggie, what are you trying to get out of this? There must be a better way to achieve whatever you're after than kicking me out of the pack.
Maggie: We know the council. The larger packs want us to be smaller so we're less of a threat, the smaller packs want us to be smaller so they don't seem so weak... We have an opportunity to use what they want against them...

Page 489[]

Malaya: Um, excuse me... What's happening?
Maggie: We're gonna strengthen your pack so you have a legitimate claim on the Crescent Lake territory, and we're going to make it appear that the Ross pack is falling apart in order to get council approval.
Malaya: Uh, okay. Do we need to do all that? Can't I just tell them I'm going to stay here?
Maggie: Kind of... no. Living here issn't enough. Let me map this out for you...
Maggie: Crescent Lake is currently unclaimed. According to the paperwork this new pack filed, their alpha did live here before and has a legitimate option to reclaim it. He's an established alpha and has five other werewolves in his pack. You... uh, currently you have your human family. Elias and Ginger are sort of orbiting you, but they aren't officially registered in your pack.

Page 490[]

Maggie: Malaya your pack won't get a vote to claim this territory. You've been left alone 'cause this area had a giant "keep out" sign on it from Connie's spells.
Malaya: We've lived here for years, though.
Maggie: You need to look more legitimate than this new pack, the official recommendation will be to merge with his pack or move.
Malaya: So... we'll add Aubrey and the others.
Maggie: Adding the werewolves from the creepy house won't help. They still need to be freed, and even then, they'll be too unstable to make your pack look formidable.
Maggie: But... if we make Elias and Ginger officially part of your pack, and add Marin and Marisa... I think you'll get approved, hands down, if we approach it right.
Marin: Mom and I talked about this when we were trying to make splitting the Ross pack more palatable to the council... If we present it like the Ross pack is fracturing, ...that Mom isn't able to keep everyone happy, including her own son and her right-hand werewolf lawyer, I think at least Irena and Araceli will be all over it. Maybe George, too.

Page 491[]

Malaya: But, why would these council werewolves believe that I'm an alpha who can handle a whole territory? Crescent Lake is huge, I can't protect it all. I can barely protect my house.
Malaya: You're proposing I become the mayor or something. The werewolf mayor. I'm not ready to be the werewolf mayor. I've barely figured out how to fully transform and then go back to being human again.
Malaya: And who even are the alphas on the council? I'll go along with this plan if there's no other option, but you're throwing around names like I should know these people, and I'm supposed to convince a bunch of strangers that they should let me be werewolf mayor so I don't have to move.
Maggie: Okay, uh...
Marin: Malaya... As much as I hate to admit it, Maggie's idea is probabaly our best bet to secure Crescent Lake for you as well as getting the council to let us restructure the Ross pack.
Marin: The council knows that Sara and I are close. If I leave they'll know something big is wrong.
Malaya: But I don't know anything about being an alpha! They'll see right through me!
Marisa: There are alphas on the council who really hate the Ross pack. Rearranging things this way will be irrestitible to them, uh, kind of regardless of who you are.
Malaya: So... it won't matter if I don't know what I'm doing?
Marisa: For now, yeah.

Page 492[]

Maggie: There are fourteen official packs in Michigan and twenty alphas. Before anything else, we need a simple majority vote in the council so you can file a counter claim for Crescent Lake against this new pack... Irena controls part of the U.P., George and his wife are over in Traverse City. The Ross pack is mostly around Lansing. There are a few alphas who control in and around Detroit, including Araceli. She hates us.
Maggie: One big concern is the Strong pack. Natalie and Julian strong are sandwiches between Detroit and Toledo, Ohio. They're a small pack surrounded by big packs. I don't know them well, honestly.
Maggie: If the Walters pack takes Crescent Lake, that means the Strongs are losing access to one more neutral territory that borders their land.
Malaya: I like the sound of "the Walters Pack". That's kinda nice.
Maggie: Mom will train you on all the alpha stuff when she trains me, but we have to make sure your pack is totally separate from the Ross pack. Um, on paper at least.
Marin: Sara, Maggie, and Ezra as alphas, plus Malaya as a separate pack... One Ross pack into three and a new ally...
Maggie: We just gotta present things carefully so they don't think we're making a huge power grab.
Malaya: Aren't you, though?
Maggie: Well... yeah. But y'know... a nice power grab.

Page 493[]

Maggie: Oh, they wanna know if we're ready for the conference call.
Marisa: So, we just have to sell a bunch of alphas on the idea that Marin wants to leave the Ross pack, and she's throwing her weight behind Mal as alpha.
Maggie: And I'll make sure they know I'm just very upset by all this.
Malaya: But what if they don't believe us? What if this doesn't work and they reject me?
Marin: Then we'll find another way. We just need to get past step one first.
Maggie: Tell the council that you want to petition for the right to declare your claim on the territory of Crescent Lake. Are you ready?
Malaya: "The Walters Pack" does have a nice ring to it. Okay. I'm ready.

Page 494[]

Charlene: Your car looks and sounds like it's going to die any minute.
Elias: My car is very well maintained! I do the work myself. It only has two-hundred-and-fifty-thousand miles.
Vincent: You can fix cars?
Elias: I took mechanics in high school! No rusty bolt can beat werewolf strength.
Charlene: Enough flirting boys. This situation looks way worse than it did a few days ago.
Elias: We're not flirt- Holy shit.

Page 495[]

Elias: Do you need a hand? Or a few chain saws?
Harvey: It's too dangerous! Stay away! The vines can get you from the road!
Elias: What? Can't hear you. Make sure to pull the cord like, really hard.
Harvey: How is Ginger?
Elias: She's fine! Scared about the full moon, but fine.
Harvey: You heard me fine that time.
Elias: What? Can't hear you.

Page 496[]

Vincent: I like this.
Charlene: ...Are you sure I can swipe some juice off of you? Aren't you still kinda weak?
Elias: I'll get it back tonight at the full moon. No worries.
Charlene: If you say so...
Harvey: Chainsaws... power tools... We might actually make a dent now.
Aubrey: I'm so tired, Harvey. Marcus and Tim are both down for the count.
Harvey: The full moon is tonight. We'll get a huge power boost from that. Just hang on.

Page 497[]

Charlene: I've never used a werewolf as a battery before, so we'll see how this goes...
Elias: Will this take a lot of energy, do ya think?
Charlene: Probably not. I just need enough magic to get this equipment to the yard before Connie siphons off my spell. The forest is too pissed off to let me access any magic.
Elias: Wooah...
Harvey: This might actually work...
Charlene: Just a little... farther... hang in there.
Elias: Okay, I'm fine...

Page 498[]

Charlene: Uuuh...
Vincent: Elias?!
Elias: Oh shit!
Vincent: What happened?!
Elias: I think I accidentally stole energy back from her... uh, probably too much.
Charlene: Hey... ow.

Page 499[]

Harvey: So close... almost... got it!
Elias: I'm so sorry!
Charlene: Nah, I shoulda expected that. Witches use the magic and return it to the earth, ... so magic wants to return to its owner even when you're using a werewolf as a power source. We shoulda waited 'til Mal was available. And Ginger is still too unpredictable.
Harvey: Okay, pull me back!
Harvey: We'll have to find a way to reach the gas cans... We're tethered too close to the house now to reach 'em.
Elias: Sorry... We couldn't get them closer.
Aubrey: Uh, it's fine. Thanks for um... y'know, thanks for the tools.
Aubrey: And sorry, um, about kidnapping you. And everything else.
Vincent: ...water under the bridge. Stay safe.

Page 500[]

Malaya: Mami, I'm home!
Maria: Malaya, kamusta? How was work?
Malaya: Fine, Mami. Papa and CHarlene are closing tonight. The dryer is still broken, so I brought the aprons home.
Maria: Didn't your brother say he'd fix it?
Malaya: I don't think he actually knows how. Elias said he can fix it, though.
Malaya: What are you making? It smells so good!
Maria: A roast. It's the full moon, so I know you're hungry.
Maria: Are we playing games tonight? You stayed with your friends the last full moon.
Malaya: Oh uh... I'm going out, Mami.
Maria: Out?
Malaya: We're going to the woods. Um, we're going to do things that normal werewolves do... like, full moon stuff...

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