The Hunter

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Chapter 39 ~ The Wedding

…Ulric’s P.O.V…

“Wake up Rocky baby,” I kissed her cheeks lightly, my heart mourned for our mate about to wed, we were the only man whose name she was to take on. We needed to put our plan into place so she never signed that certificate, “Dalilah’s here,” she flicked open the saddest eyes in the world.

“I love you, Ul,” unshed tears gathered as her lids fluttered unrestricted, desperately trying to hold back and be strong.

“I know baby, I have to go and meet up with my father. You will never be his, you will always be mine,” I stroked her face.

“Forever,” she whispered leaning into my touch.

“Forever,” I promised.

She got up, fully naked, unashamed of her divine body, the flesh that makes me weak on display for my feasting pleasure and walked me to the door. Dalilah watched in awe of her nude acceptance, in truth, there was nothing for her to be ashamed of, she was glorious and all mine. Dalilah’s mouth hung open catching flies, I laughed at her shocked expression as she sashayed past her and kissed me passionately at the door.

I did not attempt to touch her once I stood outside, we just exchanged the long lingering looks of despair as she slowly shut the door and with the click of the lock, I let my tears fall. How was this possible? I had found my mate, my love, my soul, the one perfectly made for me and she was about to wed someone else?

I pressed my forehead against the door as the tears fell, “does she know you love her?” A dark slimy voice caught my attention.

“Ah, King Elderon, what are you doing here?” I straightened my back and wiped away the stray tears.

“That’s not, what I asked you scum,” his voice raised.

“No,” I ground out through gritted teeth. “No, she doesn’t know I’m in love with her. It doesn’t matter anyway, I am her guard and my job is to keep her pure for Prince Gage. That’s the end of it.”

“But you cry with passion, as if she were your only love?” He rubbed further.

“My feelings do not matter,” I reiterated.

“Just so you realise your place…” he backhanded me hard, my head whipping to the side. “After she becomes Queen, your duty to her is completed, she will never be yours.”

I was shaking drastically, praying not to shift, I hated that motherfucker more than I could possibly hate anyone, my jaw clenched as I hung my head low so as not to draw attention to shifting eyes. I nodded in acceptance and the wanker King pushed past me, with a swift kick to the gut for added insurance.

She is mine… I mumbled to myself, only mine.

It was time to find my father, there was much to discuss. I was on the Kings radar now and had to hide, sneaking out of the palace wasn’t all that hard, sneaking a horde of werewolves in? now that was going to be another feat entirely.

Avron had given me a map of the tunnels and passageways his kingdoms were going to use to get in just after the marriage contracts were signed, silly bastard, I was never going to allow it to get that far, I had a plan of my own.

I had mind-linked with my father, everyone was waiting just outside the walls. Apparently, the King had guards posted all around Emerson’s high concrete barricades to stop an invasion with silver bullets, Wolfsbane arrowheads, silver spike guns and Dragonsbane pellets. God knows what else they had hidden up there? That was all that my father’s sensitive nose could pick up traces of.

A ten thousand strong army resided in these walls and we needed to get our wolves in, Dimitri and the other Vampires would have to stay hidden beyond the tree line until the sun was low enough. Ryder had suggested keeping the ceremony going until the sun had set but that wanker Gage was to be crowned straight after their signing - I was sure he wanted nothing to disturb that. He needed the crown to be passed due to the Hunters Council but - there would be no council if we slaughtered them all? Did he not think of that?

I made my way through the mapped tunnels, knocking out stray guards and tying them up, it seems he had posted his more inexperienced members down here and most were young enough to still be in school, he must have thought them to be in the safest place.

It took a good hour and a half to get through the passageway I had chosen and now it was clear. Before I alert my father, I needed to make it up to the top of the walls, which in the end, wasn’t all that difficult. I knocked out three snipers guarding that portion and locked them away in the weapons cupboard. The sun had already begun it descend and I had to get back to Ryder.

I motioned for him to begin his journey, leaving Ashley, Henry and Victor in the guard’s uniforms and stationed in their positions, so as not to alert the missing sections presence. Making my way back toward Ryder’s room, I knew we were getting closer to her time at walking down the aisle and I was dreading it. I hope they have enough time to breach the castle before the contract is signed.

Thankfully, I reached her chambers without being noticed, Roland and Jason waited outside the doors with Arrow and his men. I knocked, hearing her beautiful voice sing out.

“Who is it?”

“Rocky it’s me, let me in.”

“I can’t Ul, I’m ready to walk with Arrow to the ceremony but I can’t bear to look at you right now, I feel awful, like I’m betraying you in the worst way.”

Arrow placed a brotherly hand on my shoulder, an attempt to comfort my heart. “Rocky, I have to see you, please?”

The doors opened and there she stood in a white princess wedding dress with purple butterflies all over the skirt. My heart clenched like it was being squeezed by a strong fist, she looked incredible.

“You look beautiful,” I stated sadly.

“Go to the reception Ulric, please... this hurts enough.”

I watched her eyes flicker in sadness, the way her chest rose and fell rapidly, I could hear her heart pumping ferociously within her chest, she was panicking and distraught. If only I could reassure her that I had a plan and not to worry but that Dalilah was in the room and I could not trust her. I knew she lusted after my mate just as much as Gage and Avron, hence my reluctance, but with Dalilah came not just lust but Jealousy and I knew how Jealousy could destroy a person’s soul, corrupt them in the worst way. I would not allow Ryder to be put in any more danger than she already is.

“I have to walk you there,” I scolded.

“No!” She ground out firmly. “Isn’t it enough to watch me marry someone else? Please, Ulric, you have to go.”

“Rocky…” I began to protest.

“Go!” She shouted, turning her head to the side so as not to look at me while Claire closed the door in my face with an apologetic look.

And just like that, she had shut me out. The pain at having her close down on me was unbearable - I was going to die - I knew it. Wayward tears fell from my eyes, I wanted to hold her, kiss her but I could do nothing. When this war was over, I was going to lock her away in my cabin for the rest of her life.

“C’mon man, Arrow and his Unit are here to watch the girls and to help them to the ceremony.” Roland pulled at the sleeve of my shirt.

“Why is she pushing me away?”

“I guess it hurts her just as much as it does you. Claire said that the pain Ryder felt was excruciating and she expected any moment now, that Ryder will shut you out.”

“But doesn’t she understand, we are a team. We are meant to do this together?”

“Ulric, she’s fighting against her mate bond. When you try to deny your true mate, the bond, it begins to fuck with you in the strangest ways. She is pushing against her natural instinct, to marry someone she doesn’t belong too - even if we all know why. She is human, if a wolf can die from denying the mate bond, then what do you think it’s doing to her as a human?” Roland had a valid point, the woman that had stood before me was not the woman I knew. That woman was cold, callous and I guess somewhat broken, but boy did she look beautiful, exceptional and exquisite - just how she should look... for me.

Jason, Roland and I made our way to where the rest of Ryder’s unit sat. Looking around at so many well-dressed men and women, you would think they were just normal patrons waiting for the wedding of the century but no. I could sense their energy, these were Hunters, bred for the eradication of supernaturals such as myself.

A few watched me suspiciously, if I had to guess, I would say they were werewolf Hunters, but our scents were masked and if my assumptions were correct, they would have been confused as to why they were sensing us but no pack, knowing full well all wolves thrived in pack environments.

Ryder’s additional teens watched the crowd, nervous by the sheer size and volume of the Hunters that surrounded them. They knew the stakes, kill or be killed, they knew what murdering your own kind was going to be like, they had already survived Maverick’s attack and they chose that path... but now, they were faced with it on a colossal scale. I had my doubts they could see it through and we might have just walked them straight to their graves.

I linked Victor, ...MAKE SURE YOU PROTECT RYDER’S TEENS…

...NOT TO WORRY, WE HAD ALREADY PLANNED TOO…

...YOU ARE GREAT WOLVES…

I cut the link so as not to draw any more suspicion than we had already endured. Yes, they were smart but they were still humans and humans had a superiority complex which would be their ultimate downfall. I could tell by the unrestrained amount of fidgeting, that the mass Vamp blood consumption had already begun. What the? Did they get this stuff upon entry? Or was it delivered to their rooms?

The music began and my gut dropped.

I watched as Gage was crowned, he spoke an oath and he was adorned with the correct headwear. I began to panic - Ryder said his coronation was to proceed the wedding nuptials, did she know it had changed? Was she aware or was this another of his dirty tricks? I watched the confused look on Avron’s face, I guess he had no idea this was happening either. Fuck, what did this mean? Were they onto us? God, I growled to myself quietly, why did I not bother to look up on Hunter customs? I blindly walked into this situation and now we were being thrown a curve ball.

“Announcing our newly appointed King, Gage Mikahil Landerson of Emerson.” Cheers erupted across the sea of Hunters and we joined in rather unenthusiastically.

After a good fifteen minutes, the wedding march began. Fool For You by ZAYN rang out over the speaker system in the vast throne room, my soul cried knowing that song belonged to us, it is our song - it is our song. I knew she had done it on purpose, to remind me she was mine but it hurt, it hurt so bad. To know she was walking down the aisle to our song, into the arms of another, crippling torturous pain slammed into me at full force - this is our fucken song.

I linked my father, ...HOW MUCH LONGER?...

...WE ARE MAKING OUR WAY NOW WITH THE OTHER ALPHA’S AND THEIR PACKS… my father linked back.

...HURRY, THE WEDDING HAS BEGUN, THE PRINCE WAS CROWNED FIRST FOR SOME REASON…

...BUT I THOUGHT? - THIS CAN ONLY MEAN ONE THING SON, THEY ARE EXPECTING SOMETHING…

...SHIT…

I cut communication to watch on in horror as she began her way down the red carpet. She looked incredible, her dress was perfect, I knew she hated dresses but she wore them for me. I knew it was her way of capturing my attention and now, she wore a dress towards him - her soon to be husband if my father doesn’t hurry up. I guess being crowned first worked in our favour - this was my plan, attack before they can sign.

Her veiled face snapped towards me and then her head sunk low, I knew she could see the tears in my eyes, feel the pain in my heart - I could barely breathe. My reaction caught the attention of the previous King who sat there with a shit eating grin plastered upon his evil face.

He watched the torment of the proceedings roll off me and enjoyed every severely burning moment. Claire took her bouquet as she knelt down beside Gage and the ceremony began. Ryder said nothing, didn’t look back and didn’t stop it. It hurt, my heart was bleeding, stabbed by a million invisible knives, the unbearable pain rocketing through me with fierce searing agony and my pack needed to hurry the fuck up, get here right now.

...HOW MUCH LONGER? WE ARE NEARING THE END…

...WE ARE TRYING OUR HARDEST SON… Dad growled.

They exchanged the rings minus vows, thankfully. If she had of declared her love to him, I would have shifted and she knew that. She had made it as easy on my poor heart as possible.

Her white gloved hand held his tightly as they stared into each other’s eyes, I was in emotional turmoil, my heart ached, it ached so bad, no, how could this happen? I wanted to run up there and steal her away. Three wolves against ten thousand Hunters - I would risk it - I would try - but I promised her I wouldn’t, not until it was fully completed. I couldn’t let her sign that contract, I couldn’t let her be his fucken wife.

...DAD, I NEED YOU…

...WE CAN’T MOVE ANY FASTER ULRIC, WE ARE SNEAKING IN OVER EIGHT THOUSAND WOLVES, IT TAKES TIME…

...HURRY UP, SHE IS ABOUT TO SIGN THE FUCKEN CONTRACT…

...I’M SORRY SON, I’M SO SORRY…

This can’t be happening? Gage was bent over, he pricked his finger and droplets of blood dripped into a small crystal bowl. Ryder removed her gloved hand and pricked her finger extracting blood into the same bowl.

Jason and Roland held me down as I began to shake, everything was moving too fast, my plan was failing, I was failing her, this blood contract would mean the rest of her life.

...DAD, SHE’S SIGNING, SHE’S FUCKING SIGNING…

...I’M SORRY SON, SHE BELONGS TO HIM TOO NOW…

“NNNNNOOOOOOOOO!” I screamed as she signed her name in her blood, the Kings smirk was undeniable as hundreds of eyes fell on me, there was nothing I could do, I couldn’t take on that many Hunters.

I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t think, what did this mean for our bond? This wasn’t meant to happen, I was meant to stop the signing before it took place. She mentioned it meant they were drawn together, would yearn each other, it was unbreakable until death, it sealed her fate to his.

Sweat poured off me as tears fell.

“Pull yourself together!” Jason cursed but I couldn’t, she had signed, she had signed, my love had signed away and become his wife, him, I couldn’t bear this feeling of betrayal… that asshole had what belonged to me.

My wolf wanted out, he wanted blood, retribution for our dismissal, he couldn’t understand the rejection, the betrayal taking place. Out of all the things we had discussed, I couldn’t hold it back, my heart was being ripped to shreds. How could she do that to us? How could she? She had betrayed our love… our bond, she had betrayed ME.

Just as I was fighting to hold my wolf back, the hairs began to spring through my arms.

...WE ARE HERE SON…

...IT’S TOO LATE… I howled through our mind link, ...IT’S TOO FUCKEN LATE...

The pain was nothing like I’d ever experienced before, my eyes began to shift as tears poured from them.

“Fucken hell,” Roland hiss, detaining me as much as he could.

***BANG***

A single gunshot had been unleashed and a gasp rang out over the twitching throngs of hyped up ingestors, breaking me from my anger and thirst to shift - the Queen’s body drops to the floor.

Gage leaps forward, ripping the veil from Ryder’s head - only it wasn’t Ryder - it wasn’t fucken Ryder at all.

It was Dalilah.


A/N: Whhhhaaaattt? Did you guess?

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