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Aconite Alliance

“There is at least one thing worse than fighting with allies- and that is to fight without them.”
~Winston Churchill


As the Shadows dragged my still-convulsing body to my cell, four familiar scents hit me like a brick wall. I forced my eyes open, and as we passed the other prisoners, I saw the faces of Riley Hess, Akira West, Gigi Reynolds, and Tommy Jones. None of them were awake, but seeing them terrified me. How many more of the Laroche and Stark packs were here? Was it just them? Were there others?

Oh god…

Were my parents here?

“Maybe your mouth will loosen up for the next round,” Tyrese snarled, slamming the door shut.

I lie on the floor, waiting for my body to stop convulsing. Pain wreaked havoc on my nerves, and I wanted to cry. I wanted to cry so badly, but I refused to give the Shadows the satisfaction of seeing me break down. They didn’t deserve to see me like that.

How much time passed, I don’t know, but when I finally regained control of my body, darkness had settled outside. Only the moon provided a sliver of light in my cell. Pushing myself up, an involuntary whimper escaped my lips.

“Here’s your food,” Viktor said, sliding a tray under the bars. It had the usual stale bread, raw meat, and coffee. I reached for the coffee, sniffing it cautiously. While it might’ve escaped the smell of an average human, it didn’t evade a Shifter’s. Crinkling my nose, I set the beverage down.

Viktor raised a brow at me and asked, “What’s wrong?”

“If you want to kill me with wolfsbane, maybe don’t put so much in. Coffee can only mask so much,” I replied. “A few drops will do me in without me sensing it, along with my weakened state and my inability to get treatment.

I watched as Viktor frowned and reached through the bars to grab the drink. Sniffing it, he remarked, “I don’t smell anything.”

“Humans can’t.”

“If I drank it, would it kill me?”

“Yes. Within a couple of hours, probably. You’re not planning on it, are you?”

“I’m debating it…” Viktor stared at the inside of the cup. “I don’t want to be a murderer. I don’t want to grow up in this life. I don’t know how else to escape it, though, except through death, and I don’t want to see the innocent kids grow up to be like Tyrese.”

I scooted closer, concerned about his wellbeing. “Why are you telling me this?”

“Because I feel like you understand, at least to a degree. When you said your kind are hunters, but not killers, I realized that we, the Shadows, we’re hunters and killers. I don’t to be like them, but I can’t escape the path I’m on.”

“Death isn’t the answer. If you die, they’ll just replace you with another orphan.”

“So, what do you suggest I do? Become a psycho killer?”

“No. I’d say lead a fight against them because they’ll never be able to get rid of you after that, even if they kill you. People who share your beliefs will whisper your name long after you’re gone, and one day, maybe it’ll inspire people to rise up again, and maybe then they’ll win.”

“Are you suggesting I lead a coup?”

“No, but it’s a possibility.”

Viktor rocked back on his heels, mulling over my words. “It wouldn’t be hard, to be honest. I’m not the only kid to feel this way, but we’re sorely outnumbered.”

“If you ever want to go against them, let me know. I’ll help you. I have a bone to pick with them for doing what they did to me and for imprisoning those like me.”

“Do you know them?”

“… Yes. Not well. Not anymore. That doesn’t mean I want them in here,” I said grimly. “Tell me something: if I give your bosses the information they want, what will they do to me?”

“Kill you, probably, or if they think they can use you for leverage against the Laroches or Starks, they’ll keep you alive. Weak, but alive.”

I took a deep breath, accepting my inevitable fate. “Go to your supervisors and tell them I’m willing to speak if they make a promise in return.”

“Elsa, I know I gave you two options, but the chance of them keeping you alive is still practically non-existent. I know you still have fight in you left, so why are you risking your life for these people?”

“Because they’re innocent. I am too, but I don’t want to see them hurt when I can answer anything they can. This is what an alpha does. We protect those in need of our help, even if they’re not from our pack.”

Viktor’s eyes widened. “I thought you were an omega?”

“I’ll say I lied about that… I didn’t want your comrades taking the other alpha or any of the rest of my pack.”

“Can we make a deal?”

“Depends on what it is.”

“If I help you get out of here, will you help me create a way to get rid of these guys?” Viktor asked. “I know I’m asking a lot of you because I’ve given you no reason to trust me. All I’ve done is stand behind Tyrese like a dutiful little minion while he tortures you.”

“Like you’ve been trained to do,” I said gently. “It’s hard to break what we’ve been trained to do. As for me trusting you, one gift all Shifters are blessed with is the ability to tell when almost anyone is lying.”

Viktor cocked his head. “How?”

“Want me to prove it to you?”

“Yes, please.”

“All right, I’ll ask you a series of questions, and you can lie on one of them or all of them. It’s your choice. First question, an easy one: what’s your name?”

“Viktor Paulson.”

“Truth. How old are you?”


“Truth. Where are you from?”

“Russia, originally, but I was adopted when I was five, and I’ve lived all over the US ever since.”

“Partial truth. You’re not from Russia.”

Viktor smiled, awestruck. “Yeah! I’m actually from Ukraine.”

“Now that is the truth. Okay, next question: do you want to hurt me?”


It was my turn to smile. “Truth. Did you mean it when you said you’d help me get out of here?”


“Also truth. So, do you believe me now?”

“That’s really impressive! Kind of freaky but cool. I’ll start doing some intel, see who’s all on my side, and we’ll move swiftly to get you out of here before they decide to kill you. I’ll also make sure I prepare your food from now on, so they don’t drug you!”

“Thank you, Viktor. I really appreciate it. I’d shake your hand, but I don’t know if you want to shake hands with an abomination.”

“You’re far from it.” Viktor stuck his hand through the bars. I struggled to maneuver myself over to him, ignoring my screaming muscles. I shook his hand, sealing the deal.

“I’ll go get my bosses now.” Viktor stood up. “Are you sure you want to do this?”

I nodded, determination setting in my tired eyes. “Yes. I have to get them out of here.”

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