hangman hooded, softly swinging; don't close the coffin yet, I'm alive
She bumps against him and he growls in response, deep and low in his throat.
Without another word, the panther rocks back and then pushes forward, the muscles beneath the velvet of his coat stretching and groaning in protest to the sudden request. It feels good though, the brief snap of pain before it relaxes into something more, and he quickly digs in further to press himself—to flatten out and lunge. He has always loved running, loves the way that his body feels when he pushes it to the brink of exhaustion. He snarls into the wind as she pulls ahead, pushing himself further and further.
Even knowing that there is no chance for him to beat her, not when he watches the way that she blinks through the various forms (a quick learner, he thinks), he does not stop trying. He still throws himself forward, still presses onward, feeling the earth shift beneath his paws and then world around them begin to twist and change as they move through the various lands until they reach the forest.
When they pause, he is breathing heavily, but his yellow eyes are bright as he turns to her.
“We hunt,” he says simply, sniffing and turning his attention toward the shadows, everything else fading to black as he picks up that single strand, that single scent, from the rest. Moving forward, forgetting her to some degree, he presses low, belly brushing against the forest. He continues forward, moving downwind of his target, until he can nearly see the individual hairs on its back.
He smiles and then he lunges, moving like a flash from the shadows to the fox.
It is quick, his teeth finding its throat, the blood pouring out, the life pooling on the ground as he shakes and snaps it back and forth. The fox screams in protest, clawing at him, but there is not much that can be done. Atrox licks his lips, picking up the prize and returning to Starlace, dropping it at her feet.
“It is not as satisfying as big prey, and certainly duller than war,” he drawls, “but it will satisfy the itch.”
He nods toward the belly of the forest.
“Now it is your turn.”