Time seemed to slow down.
Lucy’s wolf was at the forefront. It flashed dangerously in her eyes as it emphasised and influenced the rage it felt from being denied for so long. It was time. Time to claim what was hers after waiting for what seemed like an eternity. Instincts could not be ignored and her wolf was pushing, clawing at its confines. A wild wolf listened to the primal within, and after watching her mate with a man not deserving, her lip curled.
She had trained, endlessly. She had prepared. Her wolf had bided its time but enough was enough. The wild wanted what truly belonged to her.
With shrewd eyes, she marched forwards, before the greying Alpha Lumiere made his way to his match, she caught Brett’s eye. The raw emotion coursing through her wolf was clear for anybody to see; pain, torment and desperation. Swirling dark and deadly and as a wild wolf himself, he recognised the need to fight.
Understanding her body language, he nodded his head towards her as she walked towards the ring. He whispered to Alpha Lumiere who looked between Lucy’s dark gaze and Beta Adam, sensing the one-way hatred. He left the ring as muttering descended throughout the watching wolves; only one wolf watched on in horror as her mate and bond mate entered the ring.
“What’s happening Brett?” Adam’s oblivious expression showed his surprise, especially when a resentful, blue-haired teen appeared in front of him. He had seen the newly appointed tracker around Duskfall but the pointed anger confused him. He looked back to a fearful Marigold but froze when Lucy’s possessive growl filled the cabin; dark, deep and demanding.
“Don’t look at her.”
He slowly turned his head back to Lucy and really looked at her. The curled lip, the bared teeth, the dark, festering anger in her eyes, and the peeking claws. It clicked five seconds later and his eyes reflected her own; matching fire with fire.
“She’s my mate! How dare you talk to me like that.” He growled, throwing his Beta dominance to her. She stood still as it washed right over her, like a small ripple in a puddle. His domesticated wolf was truly no match for her.
Taking a step forward she snarled, “Watch me, you weak wolf.” Her chest puffed, “Watch me take her from you.”
Sensing that the fight was about to begin, Brett moved backwards. “The winner is the wolf who gets the other to submit, trì, dhà, aon. Fight!” He roared in Gaelic, the crowd coming to life when the fighting began.
Noticing Nathan’s scathing glare, Brett rolled his eyes at the immaturity of the male and joined Eóghan who had just entered the cabin. They were watching with sharp eyes as the wolves fought, both noting the strengths and weaknesses of each wolf, for a leader never truly stopped strategizing.
Lucy did her own analysis of Beta Adam as he tried to intimidate her. He puffed his chest out and used his height to leer down at her; his mouth in a mean smile. She repaid him, not so kindly, with a rumble from her chest as her canines protruded from her gums. They circled each other, resentment burning. Marigold watched with sombre eyes as two of the most important people in her life fought. She knew, deep down, that this wouldn’t end with submission but rather death and with that thought, a traitorous tear slipped down her face. Then another until her eyes were streaming.
Lucy’s eyes softened as they regarded her mate full on weeping. It broke her, but Lucy knew this day was coming. Beta or not, Marigold would be her mate. At last.
Noticing that Lucy was once again staring at Marigold, Beta Adam lost it. She was his prize and would be for the rest of his life. Two years going on twenty. They would not be lost to this bitch.
“I don’t care what you think, but Marigold is mine. She bears my mark.” He caught Lucy’s leg and threw her unforgivingly towards the ground.
With a grunt and a mouthful of blood, Lucy waited until Adam was close enough and spat the metallic liquid onto his face. A bloody grin appeared when he wiped his face in utter disgust. “My mark will cover that piece of shit.” Adam’s eyes glowed with his wolfs fury, “She. Is. Mine.”
Furious, he knocked Lucy to the ground with a swift round-house kick. While down, he smashed his foot repeatedly into her side. A series of cracks told Lucy that he had surely broke a couple of her ribs. Sucking in a moan, she got straight back up and caught the oncoming foot.
It wasn’t going to be that easy. As if Titania’s mentoring would be in vain, she thought as she blocked his attacks, despite the protest of her side.
With a quick twist, she heard a ghastly crack as Adam’s ankle fractured under her strong grasp. The leg fell limp as she grinded the ankle back and forth, damaging the tendons and muscle within. She was a wild wolf and God be damned, she wouldn’t give up. A Duskfall wolf never gave up. Oak and iron guard me well or else I’m dead and doomed to hell.
Duskfall had seen this type of violence before, especially over a bond mate or mate. The lowland wolves simply watched in awe and mild bewilderment. Training as ferociously as they had may have meant an increase in their skills, but the wild wolves had years of training and an in-sync bond with their wolves that could not be matched and that was what set them apart. Violence was a part of everyday life. A necessity; to build bridges and fight for what was theirs. Duskfall commended Lucy for her courage and shouted their encouragement from within the cabin. The French packs cheered for their Beta, the Lithuanian pack watched with fascination and the Spanish pack watched on with judgemental eyes as they secretly betted on Lucy’s submission.
Flurries of punches rained down as all three pairs sparred. Two pairs had finished and had resulted in submission while Lucy and Adam had continued, despite blood loss, heaving chests and aching limbs.
As other pairings were getting ready to spar, Alpha Alfonso and Alpha Lumiere took their spots, both giving a quick side glance to the female wolf who was currently challenging a full-fledged Beta wolf. In their patriarchal world, that never happened. It wasn’t possible. Yet, a trip to Duskfall had many questioning their society.
While mildly intrigued, but refusing to ever express that, Alfonso took his place in the spar ring. He knew the blue haired girl wouldn’t win. She was girl, a young teenager at that. There was no chance, especially against an established Beta wolf. Forgetting about the unlikely odds and instead focusing on his own fight, he took a fighting stance, a slight tremor in his left leg.
But proving him, and many other narrow-minded people wrong Lucy sent a punishing claw to Adam’s calf, claws digging into the fibrous muscle of the man’s leg. Her wolf purred at such a sight and she continued burrowing her teeth and claws right into the bone, rendering the skin useless.
Adam roared, his calf in agony. His wolf snarled at the girl who dared to touch him, a Beta wolf.
Her eyes flashed with satisfaction as she watched the man writher in pain. Her wolf fed off the power she felt standing over the wolf. Crimson stained the timber floor as the man’s face paled from blood loss. He sent a claw towards her face but she dodged it, the attempt pitiful.
Even with two other fights still in motion, the crowd was transfixed on Lucy and Beta Adam. Lucy stood tall over the male as she reared her arm back and landed fist after fist into his face, breaking his nose then jaw. Red dribbled out of the male. He hit back but his accuracy was obscured by his blood congealing over his eyes.
The male knew how to fight. He ran his own gym back in the city but having little connection with his wolf meant that he couldn’t use his wolf strength to its full potential. His hits lacked power and while Lucy harnessed her wolf’s rage and resentment into every punch, he grew weaker and weaker.
He managed to stand up on his carved leg, but he wobbled. Watching him with predatorial eyes, Lucy slashed Adam’s other leg and the fight had been determined but the fiery female continued. The darkness whispering that she had been denied her mate due to this male. She wouldn’t stop until he was dead.
She straddled Adam as he wriggled sluggishly underneath. Her eyes blazed and danced with the devil as she strangled the life out of him. The proud Beta male conceded, baring his neck to Lucy in submission but she couldn’t see that.
All she could see was red. The darkness pushing her instincts to end his life, then he could never compete for Marigold’s heart again.
All eyes were on her as she deprived the male of oxygen. Marigold watched as her mate continued to attack Adam. Her heart was torn, ripping painfully down the middle. Her body hummed in response to her mate’s dominance but her body also felt like it was bleeding alongside her bond mate’s. Lucy’s black eyes flickered to her mate. Regarding the horror painted on her face, she paused; her clawed hand still wrapped around Adam’s throat.
Marigold pleaded, literally begged with her eyes as tears fell from their confines. Her friend held her as she struggled to stay standing on her own two feet. As Adam’s face turned blue, she couldn’t help but call for him.
The straw snapped for Lucy.
One clawed nail across his throat ended the young Beta’s life.
Blood squirted in all directions as the jugular artery pulsed the remnants of Adam’s soul onto the wood floor. Lucy stood up from the body and wiped her hands on her shirt hide, the beautiful deer skin splattered with blood. Marigold, unable to witness such brutality, ran out and away from the scene, a small group following to console the distraught female. Lucy watched with pained eyes as her mate left, but she had done what was right, her wolf now content and sated with being covered in their oppositions blood. A threat no more. Duskfall cheered while the French remained silent. Many wolves shock soon turned to anger, for when was murder allowed?
Voices became raised as French wolves pointed and cursed at Lucy who simply stood there, her wolf still very much present in her blue eyes. Some Spanish wolves also raged as their winnings were lost. It also posed a risk to their whole ideology that females weren’t strong, females weren’t capable of violence. Sexist slurs joined the mix and just as Lucy was about to shout back that she had done nothing wrong by defending her right, Brett came to her side.
“While I admire what you did remember that these wolves do not understand the wild ways, leave it to me.”
Struggling to button her lip, she clenched her fists as the insults and slurs continued. Noticing, Brett whispered, “Go to your mate, she’s the one who needs you most.”
Lucy’s wolf didn’t need to be told twice. Nodding to Brett, she turned to leave and track down her mate. His eyes twinkled at the young teen, “and don’t forget to change. The blood won’t help.”
Turning to face the rowdy crowd while Lucy walked off, Brett asserted his dominance, an Alpha perk that made many swivel their anger towards him. “Enough.” His voice echoed unforgivingly against the hardwood structure.
His arms crossed over his exposed torso as he quickly claimed the attention of the room. Eóghan watched on, impressed but bitter at the presence that Brett had. While Eóghan didn’t want to be Alpha, the fact that Brett’s ease at controlling five packs, including Duskfall, came so naturally multiplied his insecurities. This was more his pack than Brett’s but all the wolves here had seen how Brett had treated Titania and with that, came respect. He knew Brett was a great match for Titania, so the sour emotions from his wolf’s superiority complex were not needed. Straightening up, Eóghan pushed the petty emotions away.
“As you all know from living up here with us, wild wolves do things differently-”
“You got that right!” A disgruntled wolf shouted.
Outraged at being interrupted, Brett’s peeve, he growled murderously. His usually stoic face turned as his features sharpened and his eyes flickered between him and his wolf. Brett’s temper was one well hid, but when it poked its ugly head out, it was not pleasant. It was terrifying.
As he heaved air into his lungs to stop himself from shifting, Brett once again addressed the room while sending the wolf who interrupted him a vicious glare.
“As I was saying, we have traditions and rules up here that aren’t the same elsewhere. You’ve had a taste of how we live up in Scotland and what we have to do to survive.” He watched the crowd, making eye contact with every wolf. “While we don’t condone murder, it is a part of life.”
Mutters and disbelief sounded out while Duskfall wolves nodded along to Brett’s words, respect in their eyes at the wild Alpha.
He continued, “Wild wolves used to hard conditions are more in tune with their wolves. We have bonds that run deeper than you can imagine, we train with them and we listen to our instincts, which is something those living near Humans have forgotten throughout the generations.”
The usually jolly Lithuanian Alpha nodded sadly as he held his remaining child to his chest.
Brett’s eyes met those of the angry French wolves as he tried to make them understand. “This connection with our wolves is great but it also means our emotions are heightened,” Nathan rolled his eyes at Brett’s words, especially when Brett was one of the most unemotional people he knew.
“When it comes to mates, our wolves push harder and considering Lucy is mated to Marigold, whose bond mate you now see dead, goes to show how hard it is to control one’s wolf. Lucy fought for her soulmate with a worthy fight so I see nothing wrong. Adam was a strong contender, but not when it comes against a wolf’s mate.”
The murmurs ceased. The French Alpha’s shared a look, and with a resigned sigh, Alpha Jules approached Brett. His glance landed on his dead Beta before he spoke, “I see your point, but it’s hard for us to understand, don’t be too hard on the wolves.”
“I won’t Alpha,” Brett said, head dipped. While it pained his wolf to lower his head to another Alpha, he showed the man the respect he deserved, for it was hard in their world to admit wrong like Alpha Jules had. Brett was glad the male could see reasoning, especially when so many lacked it.
Deciding the show was enough for many, especially with a dead body that was being dragged out by two Duskfall wolves, wolves dispersed. Unsurprisingly, Duskfall wolves remained to train, unphased by the events. A few others also stayed. This included a couple of ranked wolves as they tried to swallow their disgust from the fight.
Eóghan left with the majority, leaving Brett to supervise and train the remaining wolves. After twenty minutes of sparring, a sullen figure approached him from the side-lines. She had stood meekly off to the side as wolves fought and he had wondered why she had bothered to stay. His question was answered as she spoke up.
“I d-don’t know who else to talk to...” She muttered quietly as she readjusted her bun and straightened her blouse.
Brett regarded the small female. Adorned in rather sophisticated clothes and with a pencil tucked tightly behind her ear, Brett knew she wasn’t a fighter. With curiosity, he couldn’t help but want to know what she was talking about. “Whatever it is, I’m open ears.”
Athdara fiddled her fingers as she stood beside the strong male. His dominance was obvious in his stance; his broad legs apart as his kilt left nothing to the imagination. Thick muscles were speckled with dark hair that seemed to grow over the majority of his body, the lack of hair however resided on his head. His buzz-cut hair and five o’ clock shadow only highlighted the intimidation exuding from the male, but despite his harsh appearance she could sense a softness within, which was why she decided to finally let go of the secret that was plaguing her.
“Well-I-I...” She took a deep breath, “I know when the attack will happen.” Her heart lightened at the admission of her sins.
If Brett was shocked, he didn’t let on, instead he kept his eyes focused on the wolves that continued to spar. If observed closely, then the tick of his jaw gave away his displeasure.
“When.” Was his only response.
“Tomorrow night, they plan to attack, they know where Titania is.” Athdara admitted, voice low so no wondering ears could listen in.
A nod of the head was the only acknowledgment Athdara received before he shooed her away, his notorious temper boiling. While furious, he did not want to do something he regretted and ripping the female’s head clean off her shoulders was what his wolf was longing for. Noticing the dangerous spark within his eyes, she returned to her cabin.
As she lay on her bed, Athdara felt relieved but it was not long lived. If she survived the upcoming battle, she knew questions and wrath would be turned her way. Her stomach churned at the very thought but she knew she deserved it, a small price to pay for her families’ freedom.