CREDIT TO: Littlehowler120AJ/TalaEdit
"Come on, it'll be fun," Finch said, her tail wagging happily.
"But what if we get in trouble? We aren't allowed to be out on our own," Oak replied fearfully, his head tilting to the side.
"Don't worry, we'll be fine!" Finch barked, before turning and leaving the den in excitment. She lead Oak down to a clump of thick undergrowth at the side of their camp. She wriggled her way into a hidden tunnel underneath, then set off down the tunnel. "This way!"
Finch pelted down the passage, Oak on her heels. They emerged into a thick forest, dotted with clumps of sweet-smelling flowers. Finch leaped gracefully onto a nearby log and gazed around in wonder. She breathed, "Wow! It's so big!"
Oak leapt up beside Finch, and they stood there for a few moments, side by side. Then Finch turned and dove off the log, heading towards a particularly large patch of flowers curiously. Oak followed her, his gaze filled with bewilderment.
They explored the patch and discovered a small fox hole. Finch yipped in excitement and raced down it, emerging in a completely unexpected place, Oak right behind her. It was the forest near the mountains, as they could tell from the gigantic hills in the distance. A river roared nearby, and the whole place was covered in brambles.
The pair wandered around the forest for a while, filling with joy and excitement again and again as they discovered new tunnels and paths that lead them to new places. Soon, however, Finch noticed something worrying. "Hey, Oak, do you have any idea where we are?" She asked, her voice tinged with concern.
The forest they were now in was dark and gloomy. It was dotted with gnarly oak trees and was covered in mist. Shadows were stretching out across the open ground, hinting that dusk was approaching.
While Finch was waiting for a response, she suddenly heard a yelp above her, which was strange. Birds didn't yelp. She looked up in confusion and saw that Oak had managed to climb a tree and had gotten his paw stuck inbetween two branches. Finch rolled her eyes in exasperation. "Is now really the time to get stuck, Oak?"
She reared up on her hindpaws and hooked her forepaws onto a branch that was low to the ground. She heaved herself up and started climbing until she reached the place where Oak was stuck. Finch examined Oak's paw, wedged tightly between the branches. "Let's see..." She mumbled, leaning forward and grabbing the paw in her jaws. She pulled back, but to no avail, and Oak let out a yap of pain.
Finch growled in frustration, and leapt back down to the ground. She looked up at Oak and called, "Don't worry, I'll be back with Selima and Runner!"
"No, no! I'm fine Finch, you don't have to bring Runner!" Oak's voice was filled with terror.
Finch looked around for something to help her free Oak, then suddenly realized it. They were horribly, inevitably lost.
As Finch's mind slowly filled with panic, the words of her mother whispered in her ear. "Follow your scent if you ever get lost. Look for fur, overturned leaves, anything that suggests you had traveled that way before."
She looked up at Oak, replying, "Alright, I won't bring Runner! But I'll have to get Selima! I can't get you out of there on my own!"
Finch turned and ran back the way they came, her jaws widened, following her and Oak's fresh scent. She flew through the forest, occasionally losing the scent or stumbling on branches, but recovering herself quickly each time. As the day slowly turned to dusk, then night, Finch stopped and thought in despair, "Will I ever get back home?"
Then she remembered Runner, and realized she didn't have a home. Not really. Finch sunk down onto her stomach and gloomily brooded over her life, contemplating whether or not she should just run away. Suddenly, Finch heard a loud rustling noise behind her, and an exclamation of relief. "There you are! Where's Oak? Oh, I'm so disapponted in you two!"
Selima emerged from a patch of undergrowth behind Finch, her eyes filled with worry. Finch shot to her paws and looked guiltily at her, then back at the way she came. "Oak has his paw stuck in a tree. I was coming to get you, but it seems you were faster."
"Well, then lead me to Oak, and I'll see if I can get his paw free. But how very naughty of you two! You could've gotten hurt, or stuck, or killed! I mean, what were you thinking....?"
Selima scolded Finch the entire journey back to Oak. Oak let out a cry of relief when he saw only Selima was there, and Selima quickly climbed up to him and got to work on Oak's paw. He was freed in a few minutes, leaping down and nuzzling Finch behind the ear happily. Then his eyes clouded over, and Finch immediately knew why.
"What do you think Runner will do to us?" Oak asked Selima, his bottom lip pouting out as it always did when he was upset or frightened.
"Nothing. Let's just say that I wanted to give you guys a little adventure," Selima said, her tail resting on Oak's shoulders. Oak smiled, and Finch's ears perked up happily at that note.
The trio set off down the forest, all of them happy. Then one of them, a young, brown and white female pup suddenly had an idea. "What if I went to explore again, but for good?"