The Hunter

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Chapter 19 ~ Sacrifices

…Ryder’s P.O.V…

Leaving him hurt - hurt more than anything I had ever experienced in my life. We were mated, each other’s so-called ‘better half’ so why did my ‘better half’ feel the need to treat me so horrendously? And I in turn him? We had to learn a very big lesson in communication. His temper against my temper would make for an explosive volcano where everyone surrounding us would get burnt.

The weight of my decision was plaguing my mind, destroying my brain from the inside out as I walked sadly into my unit’s den. Tonight, we were moving everyone to Dimitri’s coven under the safety blanket of darkness.

It was going to be torture being so far from him, I’d read about it… but it was necessary in order to right a wrong. Our relationship lacked communication and trust. We were both headstrong, stubborn and leaders and balancing the two was not going to be easy but for now, we just needed some time out to reassess our situation and priorities.

“Are you sure it’s safe?” I heard Claire’s sister ask.

“Yes, our Commander knows what she’s doing. We gave you the option to choose sides, don’t go second guessing your decisions now.” I knew Clay and her sister were not close but even her reply felt cold and forced, almost with pure irritation on her tongue.

“Claire, why do you hate me so much?” I froze just inside the hallway as Nova’s question had me on edge.

“I-I Nova… I don’t hate you, I’m sorry if you think I do… but it’s…” Claire was struggling to answer.

“You can’t even properly deny it can you?” Nova didn’t wait, she strode out of the room and passed me in the hallway without giving me so much as a glance. Perfect timing to walk in.

“So, why do you hate her?” I questioned.

“I don’t hate her Ryder,” she slumps onto the couch.

“Then what is it? Because there are not a lot of happy feelings going on towards her.”

“It’s complicated.”

“You mean more complicated than the current predicament we find ourselves in, right now?”

“You wouldn’t understand Ryder, just drop it.”

“Clay… forget that I’m your Commander for a second, forget everything that’s going on around us right now and just talk to me as your best friend,” I begged.

“I can’t protect her… okay… I can’t keep her safe. My obligation is to keep you safe and be with you as your right hand. I’d rather not care for her, then I don’t have to worry.”

“But you do care for her, just like I care for Arrow.”

“Yeah well, it’s different. She has a chance at a normal life away from all of this, a chance to find love and have a family…”

“You found love in the middle of all of this,” I interjected.

“Yes and look where that’s gotten me. I’m now leaving, to a Vampires coven with a broken heart, completely rejected and all alone.” Her face strained before the bitter tears fell, “I’d rather her hate me then suffer the loss of attachment.” Claire walked past me and out the doorway, I heard her footsteps all the way to the door before she opened it and slammed it closed.

I dropped into the exact position Claire was sitting in moments before. “I’m not going there,” William strode in pissed off.

“Where Will?”

“The vermin’s coven, we will be sitting ducks… available for them to feed off,” I knew Will hated Vampires, he had his own reasons but we could no longer stay here or go back to our compounds.

“You’re being ridiculous,” I groaned.

“No, you are.” He challenged back and I was on my feet immediately.

“William, I would rethink your attitude,” I warned through a clenched jaw.

He took a big breath in, wiping his hand across his face. “Look, Ryder, you’re asking a lot of me… you know that right? His kind murdered, my beautiful Cassy and I’m meant to ignore that? You kept me away when he was turned, you didn’t involve me in coven business or their movements every time we relocated which I was thankful for, it made it easier for me to keep your secret… but you want me to live there?” He looked at me with fierce hatred and immeasurable hurt.

“Don’t pack your stuff, Will… I’ll be back in a little while, okay?” I turned and strolled out the front door.

I could see the other wolves looking at me with deep pity in their eyes as they watch me stroll through the pack house and to the Alpha’s office door. With a loud knock, I waited patiently.

“Enter.”

I twisted the handle, took a sharp breath in and walked inside closing the wooden door behind me. Leonardo stood and moved around his desk to sit in the chair next to me.

“How are you, Ryder?” His question thick with concern.

“Truthfully, I’m broken… we have decided to leave. I have a property just behind the highway springs, which is currently occupied by Dimitri’s coven and I think it’s best for my unit to be there instead of here… with him.” My voice cracked and I cursed myself at the display of weakness.

“I can understand your reason’s and believe me, I’m not impressed at all by my son’s pathetic actions against you, I can clearly see by the marks left against your throat, how hard he had been, and his behaviour will not go unpunished,” He snarled.

I gripped my throat, I had no idea there were marks there but then that would explain the pitiful looks from their pack members. “I honestly had no idea he had left anything behind,” I sighed. “Look, my General, William. Vampires murdered his fiancé Cassandra and though I have no right, I was hoping…”

“You have every right. Despite my stupid son’s behaviour, you are our future Luna and his mate,” guilt washed over me. He knew what I was going to ask, he knew his son was wrong, he was a clever Alpha, strong and brave.

“Thank you Alpha Leon, but technically, I shouldn’t have slapped Ulric the way I did and even still…” he held up his hand to silence me.

“William can stay here in your unit’s den as a communicator between us and yourselves… in case of trouble, yes? And every second night, you will come here and attempt to restore your relationship with my son.”

“WHAT?” I screamed in surprise.

“Look, Ryder, whether you like it or not you are in fact mated. If you choose to permanently leave, he will die. If you stay away from him for long periods at a time? He will die. You get to live on, maybe a little sadder, maybe angrier… but you will live because you are human. Wolves don’t. They are mated to one person their entire lives and when that person rejects their wolf… that wolf dies of a broken heart. No logical thinking or reasoning can stop the process, he will get very sick, very weak, his body will deteriorate, very quickly and his mind will leave, the despair will kick in and he will be gone. I can’t lose my son, even if you have both betrayed each other’s hearts, he is my son and I love him.”

I hung my head low, understanding where Leonardo was coming from, but it hurt… I was never going to be free, chained to either being a Hunter, a Commander or a Wolf’s mate, but William was loyal to me so I must be loyal to him and protect him as my teammate, General and as my friend.

“I accept your conditions,” I nodded as a grateful smile danced across his lips.

“Take care of yourself, Ryder. You will always have a home here when you decide to come back.” He stood and walked back to his desk as I exited the door, only to walk straight into a very hard and broad chest.

“Sorry,” I immediately apologised.

“Rocky… please don’t go.” I looked up at his beautiful light brown’s, I motioned to sidestep around him but he moved too, I gripped his wrist and twisted it pushing him backwards, away from me and continued down the hall and back to the unit’s den.

Finding William, I explained how he would now be the communicator between us and he and Steven, will be staying here. He was happy and I was thankful for that. We still had a couple of hours left of sunlight before it would be dark enough to move Dimitri and I was feeling exhausted, both emotionally and physically. I made my way to Dim’s room, knocking on the door before walking in.

“Mi Amore,” he croaked out unexpectedly.

“Hey Dim,” I smiled politely.

“What brrrings you with such a sombre look upon your beautiful face, mi amore?”

“We’re moving you in a couple of hours.”

“I am prrractically healed, I should be able to move myself.”

“No Dim, I can’t… not until you’re all better, okay?”

“You know Mi Amore, you never loved me like you do him.”

“Dimitri,” I warned.

“I still love you, you know that… but…”

“Stop okay… I can’t do this again.” Dimitri never stopped his emotion towards me, I think I had always known that.

“He is good forrr you… he makes feel, he makes you happy… yes? I see it. I wish I could make you feel that.”

I chose to ignore his last snippit. “It’s too late… anyway… today we hurt each other and we need time.”

“He is an animal, his basic instinct is to be domineerrring, contrrrolling and rrrespected, you are all of those things too. Two strong, Alpha personalities in one relationship, tsk, tsk, tsk, I have no doubt that you had him second-guessing his masculinity. You hide just as much frrrom him as you do yourself, so let me take a wild stab in the dark and say the rrrreason for his rrrather brrrash and odd behaviour was the fact, he said he loved you and you couldn’t say it back? How close am I?” He knew me far too well and my eyes fell to the floor in shame.

“I’m not saying what he did was rrrright mi amore, I can clearly see the rrred handprint he left behind. What I am saying is your actions could be misconstrued and what you saw as a fear of commitment, he saw as an act of rrrejection and his animal’s heart and ego were hurt and brrruised.”

“When did you get so smart huh?” I laughed silently… fuck, I had managed to really fuck things up.

“You have done the same thing to me, Mi Amore, never loved me the way I love you,” he threw out flatly as my brows furrowed in realisation.

“I’m sorry Dimitri,” he nodded his head as I slumped into the chair beside his bed. I had never truly appreciated him and he was able to see my pattern repeating.

Claire and I were the only ones who came near him, everyone else thought he would attack them. In the whole grand scheme of things, I could never understand why everyone was so dead against the idea of a coven such as Dim’s, they did not drink from humans, only animals and yet, they were still considered on the same level as Vampires. There were evil humans in the world, why couldn’t we hunt and kill them down? Or offer them up to the Vampires instead of innocents? Surely there could be some agreement arranged - couldn’t we try? And why the hell did Werewolf Hunters exist? From all I had seen they were no different from us, apart from the whole changing into a beast thing - super hearing, colossal strength, drop dead gorgeous males and females and whatever else they did but they were, all in all, harmless. Well, I guess not when they lose control and hurt humans.

Dimitri was a kind and caring soul, who wanted the best for the world, that’s what originally had drawn my attention. He was unique and different, the complete opposite to Ulric but yet, as it turned out, I had ended up treating them the same. I was not afraid of commitment, deep down inside, I wanted that connection so desperately but I was terrified to admit I loved anybody because then they would be taken away from me - just like everything else.

I loved my parents but their souls were stripped by their addiction to Vamp blood, I fell in love with Dimitri and he was turned and I chose to let him go, this way he could find another Vampire to love and care for him and his immortal life would be filled with happiness, while my life played out on borrowed time.

Gage was still a real threat and despite my being already tethered to Ulric, I very much doubted he would respect our union. He was soon to be King and I, his Queen, even though how seriously wrong I viewed our order and the way they hunted.

The dark night had finally descended upon us as Arrow, Brian, Carmine and Daniel, Arrow’s loyal unit, pulled into the driveway with supplies, weapons and somehow that incredible brother of mine, had managed to sneak out with my bikes on the back of his Ute.

“Which one you want?” He laughed as my face lit up like a Christmas tree.

“The Indian, I need something more balanced to carry my load.”

“Done… so, I guess care bears ridding with me?” His eyebrow arched as he glanced in the direction of Roland, knowing full well he heard his comment. Claire was gorgeous, I couldn’t blame all three of them, Roland, Myka and Arrow, having eyes for her but she only had eyes for one furry beast of a man, who was going to have to work extra hard to get her back.

“Guess so handsome,” she remarked and slid into his passenger’s seat.

Brian and Arrow walked inside and helped Dimitri into the back of Carmine’s SVU and the rest of the unit’s loaded up and were awaiting my signal.

I wore my black leather pants and biker boot, knee-high wedges with my black shirt, red leather jacket and black scarf. My caramel coloured locks cascading down my back as I swung my leg over my bike feeling his eyes on me. I slowly glanced over to see his distraught and broken face watching me - my heart broke even more. I raised my hand, whistled loudly and motioned for everyone to push forward before starting my engine, gazing once more directly at him before slowly releasing the clutch. I push off and we were away. Our convoy was heading in one direction - away from my mate.

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