Bonus 2 | The Wearbears
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Soon after Bodie became the new Alpha...

I thought I had a culture shock visiting the bunny burrows, but the werebears were worse. Way worse.

Firstly, they were huge. Everyone towered over me, their shoulders at least two times the width of mine. Walking through the territory was frightening—was this how Auri felt whenever she visited the Werewolf Plains?

Secondly, a lot of them lounged around with no pants. You read that right. No pants. Thankfully, their upper bodies were covered, so at least there was still an area I could comfortably look at as I walked around.

Last but not least, they ate honey... with their bare hands.

Right now, I was standing in front of the werebear leader, and words could not describe how awkward I felt as the burly man dipped his entire hand into a jar of honey and scooped it into his mouth. And he was not wearing pants. And neither were his men around him.

I wanted to turn away but I wasn't sure if that was considered rude here. So I suppressed a groan and kept my eye firmly on the werebear leader's face.

He gave me a once-over. "You look familiar. Have I seen you before?"

"Uh, I don't think so. My name is Bodie. You might have met my father, who was the previous Alpha. And... my brother... He died that day, in your territory."

His eyes hardened. "Twenty werebears died that night."

I lowered my head, unsure of what to say. War had casualties on both sides, and nothing productive would come out of blaming each other right now.

"I like what you and the rabbits are doing," the werebear leader continued. "Making that central hub or whatever for all wereanimals. Catering it to every animal. Inclusive. I like it."

My shoulder slacked in relief. "Thank you. I hope you support us on that venture."

"I do. I met with that little rabbit in charge. Auri? Was it? I like her." He scooped more dollops of honey as he nodded in approval. "A go-getter. Knows exactly what she wants and what to say to get it. I like her."

Pride soared in my heart. Auri always made a good impression wherever she went.

Although this meant that she had been to the werebear territory before. Why hadn't she told me how weird these creatures are? This guy was eating honey with his bare hands! Butt naked!

After devouring the honey on his palms, the werebear leader began to lick each of his fingers while maintaining eye contact with me. "So anyway, why have you come today? If it's for that hub thing with the wererabbit, I already told her I'm interested."

"Right." I cleared my throat. "I know our territories have been feuding with each other for years, but I want to end this. I've come today to discuss a truce."

"A truce. A truce." He let out a throaty laugh. "Kid, do you know why we were feuding?"

I gulped. "Not- Not really."

"Your father hated our lifestyle."

The first thought I had was that they should really start incorporating pants into their lifestyle, but I kept that thought to myself.

"We go into hibernation all winter," the werebear leader continued, "but he wanted us to participate in events and meetings during then. Of course we refused. Winter is the best time to sleep. I don't want to leave the house when it's cold outside. But no, your father was so mad. He said, 'you bears are eating too much honey, sleeping too much, and are literally lazy fat bums'. He said that! He called us fat!"

"I'm- I'm sorry about that." I knew how much my father hated laziness, so I could definitely imagine him saying that in frustration.

"I was so hurt by that comment," the werebear continued. "We do try to exercise, you know? I walk about ten thousand steps a day! How can that be lazy?"

"That's- That's a good amount of steps," I forced myself to agree.

"Right?" He threw up his hands in frustration. Then, he gave me a smile. "I like you a lot too. You're understanding, unlike your father. Bowie, is it?"

"Uh, it's Bodie."

"Bowie," he repeated, nodding as if he had gotten it right all along. "My name is Pooh. Pooh Bear. I like that you're the new alpha. I hope we get along."

"I hope so too."

His smile widened. "You want a truce? I'm all for discussing it."

Then, he stood up and raised his hand for me to shake. I remembered how he had sucked at every finger just minutes before and hesitated. But I ignored my gag reflex and took his hands anyway.

"Looking... Looking forward to it," I muttered.

Being the alpha was so, so difficult sometimes.