23/Change In Alliance
Numbness trickled down my veins, too potent for horror to spill through. I counted again. Thirteen. And again. The number didn’t diminish. A breath of alleviation escaped when I didn’t match any of the thirteen with Brandon’s chromatic coat. The pack advanced slowly flanking each side of our trio.
We could retreat but I would slow Nash and Michael down, possibly enough for them to catch us. If Michael and Nash could take six each, could I handle the last one? I struggled to remember the origin story of werewolves. It seemed years ago when Seth had detailed the beginning in his cabin. The Goddess cursed them with the very thing they offered her. Danger crept on four paws. The story was a muddled mess under the pressure.
“Is this what is left of my pack? Or should I assume I still have some loyalty among us?” Nash gestured his arms outward. His Nitaditi was thick but my constant practice with the women was enough for me to piece together his questions.
Although the pack closest to Michael closed in, the half around Nash kept their distance. The leader of a pack was chosen for their strength, which is why the High Alpha was never challenged for his unknown past. Nash, however, was given the title as payment for punishing his mentor according to the broken laws made by the Council. The wolves either still revered Nash as Alpha, or they were cautions of his strength.
A wolf with a coat as dark as coal rounded the snapping wolves unnoticed. His silent paws padded the ground with force, a tribute to his weight and dexterity. The wolves to Michael’s left bridged the gap with snarling and snapping force, jowls salivated matching the hunger in their eyes. It was the necessary distraction for the midnight wolf to latch onto Michael’s shoulder. Blood splattered onto my cheek, pink in color. Michael began to struggle under the wolf’s muscle and sinew.
“Stop!” A power rippled from the word, enough for my own body to be commanded. Nash outstretched his hand to the vampire. A few werewolves paused in their strides, most grew more fierce. Growls challenged his command, we won’t listen to you they taunted.
From the trees a figure drenched in water but stained with blood moved with incredible speed on two legs. His feet coated with the Earth. Inky locks tangled over his face and down his back. Malice tainted his smile. “They do not listen to you brother wolf, not anymore.” Yips echoed his statement from the ever moving wolves. Seth’s bloodied finger lifted directly at me. “We will only follow the lineage of the true Alpha. Alpha Davis lives on!” Nash looked to me alarmed, edging closer to my front. I struggled with the accusation. My father’s name was Charlie, not Davis.
The wolf gripping Michael’s shoulder yelped in surprise. Michael chuckled with dark empathy. “Took longer than I’d like to get through your fur, but it’s a good thing my assistant never lets me leave home without it.” Cradled between his forefingers was a small dagger shaped pin with rubber shielding the material from his touch, same in size to my index finger. From the distance I couldn’t make out what material it was until the gleam from the sun triggered the fumbling memory. Silver!
Michael looked to his shoulder in distaste, the wounds visibly healing. His movements were swifter than my eye could follow. In the same breath, Michael had bound my wrists in his hand. His right hand gripped my jaw firmly, tilting my head away and baring my throat. Michael’s eyes tinted red, staring down Seth in challenge. “You want the girl then? Am I correct to assume we are talking about The Alpha Davis? Nash, my friend, you failed to mention her genealogy.” Michael’s tone was threatening.
“With good reason.” Nash gritted out in response. Why did everyone believe this nonsense but me? My throat was dry and at an odd angle. I couldn’t protest, or even ask why everyone cared. Shock cleared to frustration. I didn’t know when I was around Nash, so how did he come to that conclusion? Also, if I was the product of star crossed lovers, then why didn’t Nash give me the same fate if he thought I was Davis’s daughter. If only I could speak, everything would be cleared up. I wasn’t sure what Michael was insinuation but I didn’t fear him. Possibly my fear was misdirected from the wolves and hadn’t caught up with the present. The strength I always pulled from Nash’s presence burned bright within me, my head was clear enough to question everything said. Nash positioned himself so Michael and the wolves were both in his line of sight.
From my peripherals I could see Seth jerk his hand in a slash. The werewolves moved in formation to his command. I choked out a plea for everyone to stop. Again only a few more wolves paused. Nash quirked his brow skyward. Another authoritative command boomed from Nash. Half the pack halted their steps, their heads tilting from one side to the other. Sweat beaded Nash’s forehead as he commanded for his pack to stop once more. Six wolves paced closer to their target, us.
Michael’s fangs poked against my skin, firmly placed against my throat but not piercing the vein. “Michael don’t!” Nash stepped toward my trapped figure, his back to the wolves. His golden eyes pleaded in stark contrast to his unyielding directive.
The angle of my neck was uncomfortable and the pressure of my bound wrists annoying. I knew Michael wasn’t using his power against me. What was his angle? Why was he threatening to drink my blood in the middle of a battle? As if answering my thoughts, he lined my throbbing vein with a single pointed fang to the base of my neck. A multitude of growls reverberated within the small space of forest we occupied. Michael only chuckled to their threat. He detached from my neck only to feather his lips upward. His voice didn’t need to carry as all ears were trained on his every demand. “Why not? If she were mine this feud would be moot. She would be a strong asset in my line. Such a unique girl. The first very fragile, very changeable human, with half of her lineage from an Alpha. As a vampire she would be out of all your reach, and under my command as her sire.”
My eyes widened as the first sliver of fear breached through. Was he joking? He had to be. Right? He wasn’t going to drink my blood, but change me into a vampire. A nagging feeling insisted he was joking, but as he slackened his hold on my jaw I could see the range of fear reflected back.
“The process is very quick when done correctly, too quick for anyone to stop me now. So if you’d like to stay and become a snack for my bloodthirsty newborn, be my guest.” Michael murmured low in my ear to stay still. Moving under his venomous fangs was the last thought I had in mind. Michael’s luminous hues lit in hunger as if to emphasize the risk in staying. Slowly the first of the werewolves retreated back into the lit forest. Seth threatened that this wasn’t over before turning away. One by one, heads down and bared teeth, the wolves backed away until only one stood.
Nash. His stubborn jaw tilted in the air with defiance. The golden hues challenged Michael’s earlier threat. Muscles taut with stress, Nash readied himself to bolt toward us. “Let her go.”Mirth curled Michael’s lips upward. Two fangs pressed deeper into my skin. I could feel my heartbeat jump in the predator’s mouth. I eyed the distance and knew Nash wouldn’t make it in time. My eyelids closed, this couldn’t be it. Please, don’t let this be it.