A/N: Please note that this book has been published on Galatea! The 3 chapters below are the only chapters available on Inkitt for free. If you would like to read the adapted and continued journey of Ariel, please use this link to Galatea: https://hyzr.app.link/BrokenQueen
Hunters, otherwise known as humans with a superiority complex.
Personally, I believe they feel inferior to supernatural beings and decided to lash out at us. Why else attack packs that mean them no harm? Why else kidnap a 17-year-old girl during the attack to experiment on?
The chains are pulled tighter and I fight back a cry of pain. The silver bites into my raw wrists. Being chained this early in the morning is never good. You would think that I would be used to the pain after two years of being treated like a worthless animal and kept as a science experiment. No way in hell can I ignore the pain caused by the silver, but it doesn’t weaken me anymore.
Silver hasn’t weakened my wolf since the incident.
The first year was the worst. The wolfsbane tests. Injecting liquid wolfsbane into my veins and analysing the effects on my body. The burning feeling coursing through my blood as it weakened and cut off my connection to my wolf. A whole year without my wolf. Only feeling her faintly in the far corner of my mind, whimpering in pain and sadness.
Never in my life have I ever felt so alone. They took me from my family, my friends, and then I lost my wolf as well.
I’m pulled from my thoughts by a sharp smack across my bruised cheek. I lift my dull grey eyes to face the leader of the hunters, Curt. His cold brown eyes stare at me with a hatred I never understood. I didn’t do anything to this man, but he still hated my kind. His mouth pulled into its familiar sneer as he grips my chin tightly.
“We’ll be having some guests today. A couple of new hunters I have to teach the trade of keeping your kind at bay,” he chuckled darkly.
I just stare at him, knowing that any snarky comebacks would result in punishment. I wonder how many newbies will be coming today and just what he will be using me for. I hope it’s not more wolfsbane tests. I don’t want to experience the burning sensations today.
When he sees I won’t comment he squeezes my jaw once more before tossing my head to the side. My head smacks against the wall and I let out an involuntary growl.
The leader just stares at me strangely and takes a step closer to me. “Do you need to be reminded of your place, mutt? I can always change tonight’s plans from a lecture to a practical lesson for the new hunters. Yes, that sounds much better to me.” He turned to the two hunters guarding the door. “Throw her back in the cage and no food. Chain her hands to the cage.”
They nodded as he left and removed the chains connecting me to the wall. They drag me to my small cage and I snarl at them. “Did you idiots forget I have legs to walk on? You don’t need to drag me around.”
Not a smart move on my part, but I was tired of this treatment. The hunter on my left turned and I didn’t duck fast enough. His fist connected with my already bruised cheek and I spat blood on his boots.
“I can’t wait to see what Curt has planned for you tonight.” I’m thrown into my cell before they stalk out and turn off the dim light.
Left in the darkness I lose myself in the memories before my life was turned upside down.
James and I were sitting by the lake after our patrol duty ended. We got the early morning shift as newly marked pack warriors. Adam, Shane and Dwayne went back to the pack house for food. Those boys are always hungry.
“Do you know why your brother is acting so strange these last few weeks?” I ask James as we stare out at the sparkling lake.
James’ older brother, Xavier, is our future Alpha. He will take over the pack after finding his mate as per the tradition of our pack. These past weeks he has been staring at me more than usual and getting upset when I get injured during training.
“I have no idea, Ari. He doesn’t want to talk about it when I asked him,” James shrugs as he stands up. “Come on, let’s see if you can skip more rocks this time.”
We skipped some rocks and soon the rest of our warrior squad showed up with arms full of food. We ate, spent the day just messing around and enjoying the summer sun and being young.
We never thought that life would tear us apart.
I must have fallen asleep because it’s colder when I jolt awake from the loud music above me. It must be early evening and the new hunters have arrived.
“Soon, my child, you will get your revenge on these people. They do not know not to harm my children.”
The voice in my head is soft and ethereal. The Moon Goddess hasn’t spoken to me since the incident almost five months ago. The hunters were truly awful that day. Their experiments were crueller than normal.
Cuts were made on my arms and legs, so they could observe how the bones break and reform during shifting. My wolf couldn’t heal the cuts fast enough and the blood just kept flowing.
Over and over they would slice my skin open. The worst was when they examined my spine. The biggest change of my body as it lengthens and curves to form my back and tail. They cut too deep and when I shifted a rib punctured my lung.
I was losing too much blood while choking on my own blood. They tried to save me because they didn’t want to lose their experiment. Foul human beings.
I don’t recommend dying. It’s not as easy as falling asleep. It is painful and disorientating with my wolf howling in my mind to stay awake; that she was trying her best, but the black spots just kept growing bigger.
I felt them try to close the cut on my back and the needles in my arm to get blood back in my body, but I knew this won’t help. I was tired. So tired of the pain but scared to die.
I hadn’t even had the chance to find my mate. I was taken before my 18th birthday so I couldn’t recognize my mate. The pain numbed as my wolf grew quiet and then it was bright around me. Too bright.
As I looked around I noticed I’m standing by a lake. Not just any lake, but the lake back home where my friends and I always hang out at. The bushes behind me rustled and I turned to face the treeline.
“Who is there? James? Amy? Where are you guys?” None of my friends stepped out from behind the trees, but instead a beautiful woman. Her silver hair shone in the sun and her pale skin seemed to glow.
But her eyes were captivating. Grey eyes shot through with specks of pale blue. I stared at this woman as she came to a stop a few feet in front of me.
“It is an honour to meet you, my dear. Though, I do wish it was under better circumstances, Ariel.” How did this woman know me? I didn’t realize I said this aloud as she gave a soft laugh and introduced herself.
“I am Selene, child. Do you remember the stories your mother told you as a pup?” Oh, my goodness, the Moon Goddess is talking to me! I bend down to my knees and tilt my head in submission.
“Forgive me, Goddess, it has been a while since I thought of my mother and the stories she told my sister.”
She moved to sit on the bank next to me, “Come sit, Ariel. We have much to discuss and so little time.”
I was confused, but I moved to sit next to her. “You weren’t supposed to fall into their hands, but my sister Fate was feeling vengeful that day. I must apologize on her behalf, she isn’t very fond of me most of the time.”
I snorted, “I know what that feels like.” My sister and I never saw eye to eye, we were too different.
“Yes, you would. But I am here to right the wrong she has caused. You were not supposed to fall into their hands and most definitely not supposed to die. I had your life planned very differently. It was a very good life if I must say so myself.”
All I can do is stare at the Moon Goddess thinking of what could have been. “I wish I could have lived the life you had planned for me. What will happen to me now?”
Selene turned to me with a soft smile, “Now it is time for you to return. Your mate is still searching for you. You will find him and have the life I planned. I will help you to escape the hunters, but you must give me some time to do so. I will give you a special gift that will help you and prevent them from injuring you this badly again.”
I was dumbfounded as I stared at her with tears in my eyes. She leaned forward and kissed my forehead. “May you be blessed with the gift of healing, my child. To heal those around you and yourself in dire times. Only entrust this secret with your most trusted.”
Warmth ran through my body, healing my wounds. I looked down at my arms and legs and saw all that remained of the cuts were light scars. “Thank you, Goddess. I don’t know what to say!”
“Use the gift wisely, Ariel, and I will help you with your escape.”
I opened my eyes to see hunters looking down at me startled. Then the yelling started as they gave orders to have me restrained. Shortly after that I was thrown back in my cage and left untouched for nearly two weeks before their tests started again.
“Good to hear your voice again, Goddess. Is it time then?” I faintly heard yes echo in my head as the light switched on and the door bangs open.
Curt is standing in the doorway with a sick smile on his face. “Ready for some fun, mutt?” I will have to bide my time and play the act of weak little wolf until the time is right to strike.
My wolf growls and paces at the back of my mind. They won’t know what hit them.
Curt opens my cage, but I keep my eyes down. I don’t want him to see my plans. My dad always said that the eyes are the windows to our souls. He would take one look at my eyes and know I was planning something.
He unchains me from the cage and tugs me forward. “Come on, mutt, time to meet the new hunters.” He seems rather excited, but then I catch a whiff his breath.
Curt reeks of alcohol and as I glimpse at his eyes, I can see they are slightly unfocused. My word, what idiot gets drunk knowing that he wants to flaunt his pet experiment to the other hunters? I can only hope that they are also intoxicated.
He drags me to the door and I notice the guards aren’t at their post. I glance at Curt, “I see it’s just the two of us,” I say slyly. “Where are your two goons?”
He grunts out, “Upstairs,” before stumbling up the stairs. I’m a step behind him and evaluate the situation. He has a knife tucked in the waistline of his faded brown cargo pants.
I shiver in the thin rag-like dress I’m wearing. Halfway up the stairs, I try my luck again, “So how many lovely guests will you be entertaining tonight?”
He turns around with a gleeful expression to answer me. “Three new hunters to train up tonight. Should be good.”
I nod and reply straight-faced, “Yes, it should be.” He merely turns back and continues up the last few steps. At least six hunters to kill.
As we reach the top of the stairs he stumbles, and I use this to my advantage. With my hands tied loosely in front of me, I grab the knife and tug the chain to turn him around. Bewildered, he turns around and before he can open his mouth I stab him in the chest. He lets out a gurgled moan before slumping to the ground, but the music covers any noise.
One down and five to go.
I feel his pockets for the key to take the chains off. I rub my wrists and see the silver burns slowly fading. “Thanks, Moon Goddess!”
I look down the hallway and see dark rooms to the left but light coming from the right. Following the noise, I hear four voices over the music playing in the room.
Where’s the other hunter?
Suddenly the door right behind me opens and the missing hunter steps out of the kitchen. He looks shocked and I use his reaction to my advantage. I make a grab at his neck to snap it, but he shouts moments before I hear the resounding crack. His body slumps to the ground. The music stops abruptly, and I turn to face the four remaining hunters across the hallway.
The hunter that punched my face earlier looks livid whilst the three younger ones look frightened. Well then, let’s have some fun with these newbies.
My claws lengthen, and I give my wolf some control. I let out a warning growl before charging at the older hunter. He pulls his gun out as I tackle him to the ground. The newbies yell in the background and search for the knives they foolishly left on the couch.
A gunshot rings through the chaos and I yelp as pain spreads through my right shoulder. I grab the gun from the hunter’s hands and bash him on the head with it. One newbie comes rushing over to us with some silly war cry as I slash my claws across the hunter’s neck.
The charging newbie’s steps falter as I stand up with blood dripping from my clawed hand and my canines growing sharper. “See something you like, Blondie?” I snarl at him.
His two friends jump into action as he makes a grab for me while slicing his knife at my side. I grab his knife hand and twist him around to use his body as a shield.
With the gun in my other hand, I shoot at the other two. They fall to the ground clutching their stomachs, guess my aim was a little off. I was aiming a little lower... Oh well.
Blondie breaks out of my grip as I stare at the brothers on the ground. They must be related, similar freckled faces screwed up in pain with pale green eyes staring at me. The blood oddly resembles their bright red hair.
“You... you monster!! You shot them!” he screams at me, gripping his knife tightly as his brown eyes scan the room probably looking for an escape.
“I’m a monster?” I laugh manically. “No, you people are the monsters! My pack lives peacefully without harming humans, yet you attacked us and took me!” I look at the gun in my hand, “Maybe I should show you what a monster I can be. Would you like that?”
I toss the gun to the side behind a couch and I let my claws out again as he makes a lunge at me with the knife. I manage to dodge the stab, but he nicks my stomach. Warm blood drips from the wound.
I grab his neck in my hands and toss him against the wall. My wolf wants to play with her prey for a bit, get some proper revenge.
Remember who you are, Ariel. Do not stoop to their level.
The pained moans behind me fall silent as I stalk the few feet towards Blondie. His eyes are unfocused, and he blinks slowly, looking a bit dazed. Smacking your head against a wall will do that to a person.
I close in on him as he reaches to his right behind a couch. He pulls the gun out and aims it at me before standing up. I should probably not have thrown him against the wall beside the gun.
I dodge the first shot aimed at my head and charge at him. He drops his aim to my legs as I reach him. Two shots slice into my thigh as I plunge my claw into his chest. His eyes widen as I close my hand around his heart, “Wrong move, Blondie.” He slumps to the ground and I drop his heart on the floor.
I send a silent prayer up to the Moon Goddess as I look around the room. The scent of alcohol, blood and death fill the room. I need to find where they keep the notes they made on me. I take a step towards the door and pain shoots through my left leg.
Oh yeah, I was shot.
I limp over to the hallway ignoring the burn in my shoulder and the throbbing of my leg. The basement only has the one room where I was kept. The notes must be in one of the darkened rooms at the other end of the hallway.
The two rooms next to each other are bedrooms. I cross the hallway to the last room and listen before trying to enter. Trying, being the keyword. The door was locked, so I broke the lock and entered the room.
Jackpot! The lab is lined with cabinets filled with wolfsbane and other poisons, a large desk is in the corner with a filing cabinet next to it. I head over to the desk and see it covered with books and notes on supernatural beings, same with the filing cabinet. I need to get rid of it all.I scan the lab for something flammable.
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