Moonspear lay with the lion-hearts
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Mintaka had been so good recently. Not going too far away, no sneaking around. But... well, she was bigger now, and it was only natural that she would wander, right? At least within the territory, and especially with all this rain around. It was beautiful and awesome and she liked it very much. It even toned down the hot weather, and it made so much mud to play in. 

The girl was pretty much coated from her chest to paws in mud, from parading around in the stuff and making up a story. She was the bad guy in this one, destroying a small forest that really just consisted of piles of mud she'd created. And, as always in her stories, she was the victor. 

But she'd grown tired of that when she'd spotted it. A... a slimy thing, with a little hat (a large snail, but she'd never seen one before so she wasn't really sure what it was.) It was climbing its way slowly over a stone, and Mintaka was present to ruin its day. Or, at least make it vastly uncomfortable. Round blue eyes were nearly crossed as she got close to it, causing it to draw its eye stalks in and hide within its shell. Which was rude. 

"Excuse me, sir," she called, patting at its shell with a gentle paw. "Can you come out of your house please?"
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Given the fact it would take quite some time for his ribs to heal up to the point where he'd feel comfortable roving up and down the mountainside, Bronco had remained largely within the interior territories well within the pack borders, not straying too far from where he lived in the crevasse with Meerkat. The forests on the mountainside were vibrant green from the rain, and it provided a nice contrast against the constant grey of the sky. He had to wonder- if it rained this much in the summertime on a mountain, would it also snow as much in winter?

He decided to try and find something relatively easy to hunt down for a meal as he didn't want to rely too heavily on the pack's caches during his recovery. He flushed a few birds, and passed a porcupine in an aspen grove, but couldn't be bothered to even attempt that sort of a hunt. It bristled at him as he sauntered by, but he continued on without even curling a lip or casting a glance in its direction. He knew how much porcupine quills hurt. 

He heard a high, sweet voice call out from nearby, and caused him to jerk his head up. Alyx? Quetzal? He was so familiar and endeared to the sound of a child's voice that immediately he fell back into big brother mode, and picked up a trot to see who it was that was nearby. Of course, he knew it couldn't be one of his sisters- but he could tell by her tone of voice that she was somewhere around the same age that his sisters had been when he'd left the Firebirds. 

The child he found was more or less caked in mud, but didn't seem too perturbed by her current appearance, and was more distracted with something- oh, a snail. Alyx would've screamed had she seen just how muddy this kid had allowed herself to get- but it made Bronco chuckle and smile. Quetzal probably would've loved this kid. "What'd you find there, kiddo?" He asked, lowering his head and peering toward her with an inviting gaze.
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Ah, a newcomer. Mintaka flicked blue eyes toward him momentarily before her attention was wrapped back up in the creature she'd found. Her tail beat on the ground when it poked its eyes back out, but stilled when it caught her shadow still over it and retreated back into its shell. 

"I found a man with a hat," she explained, squinting at the snail and tapping it gingerly with her nose. "He keeps hidin' from me though." A thought occurred to her and she gasped, ears perking up. "I'm too scary for him! He must know how strong I am."

She turned her head back to look at the bigger wolf, her expression deathly serious. "I'm a mud-monster," she explained, not a hint of play in her voice. It was a character, of course, and she needed to stay in it. After all, she'd already destroyed so many mud piles today. Who's to say she wouldn't also destroy this tiny man and his hat?

But of course, even in her worst character, Minty would never hurt a person of any size. Even this little man here, who kept poking his eyes out at her and hiding again. "I'm gonna name him," she announced, resting her chin on the rock and looking intently at her new friend. "Mudsy. 'Cause he's slimy, like the mud." Her gaze flicked back to the other wolf. "What's your name?"
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A man with a hat? Bronco bit his lip to keep himself from making what would've been a very emasculating squeal, charmed by the way she described the snail. He wasn't about to correct her, either, as she seemed very content with her identification, and he wasn't her father so he couldn't be expected to tell her it was actually a snail, right? She didn't make strange of him or shy away, and instead seemed to welcome his company with comfortable ease, so he ambled closer, chuckling at her realization. "He must," He agreed as he moved to her side- but quickly side-stepped and moved to her other flank when he realized that his shadow would cover the snail, and likely prompt it to remain in its shell. If it valued its life, it'd hang tight until the pup lost interest. 

"You are?" He asked, in disbelief. "That's kind of funny, y'know, 'cause-" He said, dipping his chest to the ground and wriggling his belly in the mud, before draping one paw across his own muzzle to smear it with a pawful of wet earth as well. "I'm part mud monster myself," He said. It looked like he'd found the Moonspear equivalent of Quetzal- though she seemed to be much quieter, and a bit more articulate. Q had a habit of slurring her words a bit. He smiled at the name she suggested, and nodded. "I like it. I'm Bronco," He said. "What's your name?" He asked.
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Mintaka decided suddenly and abruptly that she liked this new person. His confirmation of the snail's knowledge of her power was enough, of course, but then he did something even better than that. The girl's attention locked fully on the boy as he dipped himself down into the mud, coating his fur like hers. Her mouth popped open in surprise and a smile crept across her muzzle, toothy and excited. Someone who was going to join her? 

Her forepaws tapped lightly in the mud and she dropped into a play bow, tail swishing back and forth. "You are?" she asked, delighted, blue eyes locked on his honey. It was rare that someone would willingly join in her games without any prompting like this, which instantly brought the label of "Best Friend" to Bronco. A strange name, but no weirder than Almight or Minty. "I'm Minty! Min-ta-ka, but that's too long, so I like Minty better." She'd almost forgotten about the man with the hat, but she'd come back to him later. She bounced a bit, her tail still swishing back and forth as she asked, voice dropping to a hushed whisper, "How long have you been a mud-monster?"
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"Minty," He said, as he gazed down at her. There was something sort of cool and breezy about the colour of her cerulean eyes, though he would naturally associate the scent of mint with something green. For comedic effect, though, he leaned in to give the top of her head a sniff, laughed, and jokingly laughed. "Minty-fresh," He commented, a slight wrinkle to his nose, as the child definitely smelled like she needed a bath. He got the inclination that perhaps this child was dirty more than she was clean; and it seemed like her parents simply allowed it to happen by now, which was fair enough. She was just a kid. 

"I been a mud-monster for prolly....Well, since the rain started," He lowered his head and whispered, given the fact that apparently, mud-monsters were a sort of secret thing.  And that wasn't far from the truth- he'd found it impossible to get himself completely clean from his border patrols since he'd come to the mountain, and had simply accepted the fact that this life wouldn't leave him quite so glossy and pampered-looking. "But you wanna know what I was before I was a mud-monster?" He asked, giving her a grin that spread slowly across his silly expression.
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Minty-fresh. Mintaka laughed at that, overjoyed with her new companion's presence. He was so cool. Probably the coolest ever. Maybe cooler than Almight, if that was possible. She was oblivious to her own smell, though it couldn't have been good with her whole... mud-monstery thing. Not that anyone else fared much better with so much rain falling from the sky.

"Me, too," she agreed, looking up at the drizzle drifting down, before turning her attention back to the boy. Pale blue eyes widened when he continued, visibly interested as she leaned forward. "What?" she whispered, ears angled toward the man. Mudsy was completely forgotten in lieu of her newer, cooler companion.
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Now that he had her undivided attention, Bronco waited just a moment longer, after the wide-eyed child begged for his answer before he straightened up, jerked his head to the side and hunched his shoulders. He grinned- and stomped his front feet in the mud one by one. "I'm aaaaaa-" He said, and inhaled a big breath. Now- she was still a child, and he had no idea how she might react to the news- so he tempered his dinosaurometer down a bit from the snarling, drooling dinosaur imitation he normally did with Meerkat, just so that he didn't frighten the absolute daylights out of Minty. Then, he roared, in an animated, comical voice-

"Brrrrroncosaurus!" He pattered all his feet in the mud, sending splashes of muddy water in all directions, before he crow-hopped on the spot. "I'mmma gunna git ya if you don't run!" He said, pouncing back a few steps- so the kid could get a head start on him, and then he'd chased her around for the rest of the afternoon gleefully.