She licked her jaws, cleaning the blood off as she lay under a pile of cubs, sleeping off the big meal.
She'd found the remains of a not-bat kill, reminding her of how deadly the small creatures were in a pack. Any animal capable of taking down a Smoke-Breath-Lizard, even a cub, was deserving of respect and caution. She'd feasted upon the remains, and returned to the den with a full stomach, regurgitating food for her cubs.
She jerked her head up, accidentally waking the smallest cub, who lay on her shoulders. She swiveled her ears, sniffing silently. The noise sounded again, ever so slightly closer this time.
*thump* Pause. *thump* Pause. *thump*
The light breeze changed course, blowing into the narrow gap in the den she slipped in and out of. She relaxed slightly, catching the scent. Four-Beak. Too slow to be of much danger outside the den, too large to pose a threat inside.
*thump* Pause. *thump* Pause.
It came closer and closer, and she started to worry. Too big to pose a threat when they were inside.. Unless they walked over the den. She wiggled out from under the cubs, ignoring their sleepy protesting mews, and squeezed through the gap in the den, immediately catching the attention of the Kill-Beak, causing Bug-Beak and Grass-Beak to look at her from the corner of their eyes.
She made a show of limping away from the den, as if not noticing Four-Beak, at a pace it could easily manage, staying just barely out of reach of the four beaks.
They took the bait, walking after her as quickly as it could. It seemed like days before they were a safe distance from the den, when she quickened to a sprint, ready to leave Four-Beak in the dust and loop around back to her den after a quick drink.
It was was only after the second strike of her paws that she struck a smooth stone and slipped, pain bursting in her paw as not-vines sprung around her and trapped her against the forest floor.
She could see out of the corner of her eyes that Four-Beak was approaching, Kill-Beak staring intently as it approached. She struggled against the not-vines, biting and clawing desperately with the painless paw, but it held strong.
She was trapped, and at the mercy of the Kill-Beak. It prepared to strike, and her struggling and thrashing became ever more desperate. The Kill-Beak tore a jagged wound into her hind leg, and barely moments later it tore a another wound into her side.
Before the next strike could come, a female Furless near-grown burst through the bushes and wrapped it's forepaws around Kill-Beak's neck, stopping it from striking again. Not long after, the sweet and hot smelling Furless near-grown came, staring at the one trapped by the not-vines
It pulled a not-vine out of a pouch in it's pelt, freeing her head only to wrap the new not-vines around her throat and jaws, causing her to thrash and snarl, kick and claw, but she couldn't reach the near-grown, who ignored her struggles and removed the other not-vines that trapped her.
Then the male Furless pinned her down as the female approached, Four-Beak watching curiously from afar, Kill-Beak gnawing on a chunk of meat. as the female pressed hide she'd torn off her own pelt against her bleeding wounds. Both Furless ignored her quieting snarls as darkness clouded her eyes.
She slumped against the ground, floating into a dreamless slumber.