T H I R T Y - E I G H T
I watched as two Wolves, one of which was my brother, snarling as circled each other.
My heart lodged itself in my throat once again when I saw Ares, the slightly slimmer Wolf, lunge toward the other Wolf with his teeth bared.
Rhys glanced at our friends and cursed
“What’s wrong?” I gripped his hand
“A Protector, as far as I know, is a Wolf who is given special abilities in order to protect you. A Protector is usually someone you know and trust”
“Okay..” I said slowly “So that means whoever Ares is fighting is one of my friends?”
I relaxed slightly, knowing that my friends would never intentionally hurt Ares
Rhys winced “Remember how I just said usually...”
I wanted to throw up now
This Wolf stuff this was going to be the death of me
I looked at all the familiar faces of my friends on the porch of Rhys house and noticed that every single person I knew, both old and new faces alike, were standing there.
“So if they’re all here...” I looked back at the fighting Wolves “Then who’s fighting Ares?”
Rhys winced for the second time “I don’t know”
I felt woozy
“How many Protectors are we supposed to have?”
“I thought you only had 6 Protectors” he said “The Twins, Matt, Mia, Everly, and Shawn”
“And you’re sure you don’t know who this is?”
“Yes...” he started but his was immediately cut off when I heard a whimper.
I snapped back to the fight and noticed that one Wolf was on the floor.
Which one, I wasn’t sure since they were so far away from us.
“Rhys...” I whispered, frozen to my spot
“Stay here” he commanded before nodding to Matt and Everly to follow him.
Normally, if anyone tried to “Command” me to do something, I would usually do the opposite of what they told me to do. However, when it came to situations like this, I could barely breathe, let alone think about trying to disobey what he told me.
I watched as all three of them approached the Wolves slowly.
Rhys was at the front with Matt and Everly flanking his sides.
Hands came down on each of my shoulders and I jumped
“He’ll be fine” Taylor moved her hands so that they were wrapped around my waist in a side hug
“Yeah” Ethan’s voice sounded before he wrapped an arm around my shoulders “He’s a tough little dude”
I hugged them both back “I hope so or else I’ll be one Protector down”
“It’s not the other Wolf’s fault either, Kass” Taylor reminded me
I sighed “I know”
Suddenly, the two Wolves shifted and I sagged in relief when I saw that Ares was not the one on the whimpering.
Rhys motioned to the woods at Matt.
Matt nodded before jogging to the direction Rhys pointed at
Everly knelt down next to the other Wolf, asking him something.
A couple minutes later, Matt came back with a handful of clothes.
He passed a set each to Rhys and Everly before kneeling down on the other side of the fallen Wolf.
Rhys passed the clothes to Ares and once he was dressed, Rhys murmured something and pointed in our direction.
Ares ran to me, nearly tripping on both the shirt and shorts that was substantially bigger than his small frame.
I broke away from my friends and nearly fell over when he slammed into me “Kassi!!”
I started silently crying, hugging him as tightly as I could without squeezing the life out of him.
I wiped my tears away before Ares could see them and noticed, from the corner of my eye, that both Matt and Everly were supporting a boy, only a little older than Ares, inside the house.
I pulled back and looked at my baby brother, really taking in his features.
I noticed, while although he looked the same as he did before he shifted, there was something different about him.
He felt different and I just couldn’t pinpoint what exactly changed about him.
Well...Besides the obvious.
Rhys came up from behind him, giving me a tight-lipped smile.
I looked back at Ares “Hey buddy”
He beamed and hugged me again “I missed you so much Kassi!”
“I missed you too buddy” I hugged him tighter before pulling back “Why don’t you go talk to Taylor and Ethan for a bit? I just need to discuss something with Rhys real quick”
“Awe” he pouted “But I wanted to stay with you. To show you my Wolf!”
I smiled slightly, noting that I would have never thought, in a million years, that I would ever hear the sentence outside of one of my Werewolf novels.
“I’ll meet him later”
“But he wants to see you now!” Ares whined
There was a bark and everyone turned to see that Orion had shifted into his wolf. He barked again and I looked at Rhys for translation.
Ares ran to Orion “Really? I can join you?”
Orion barked again and Ares looked at me “Can I go sissy?”
“Uh...” I looked at him “Where?”
“On a run” he said in a ‘duh’ tone “With Orion”
“I don’t know...” I said, still unsure if he could shift back once the run was over
“Please?” he gave me his puppy dog eyes “Orion’s just like me! I promise I’ll be back soon!”
“Let him go” Rhys whispered in my ear “Pup’s generally have a lot of excess energy when they first shift and if they don’t release that energy, they could throw dangerous tantrums which usually turn into fights”
“Fine” I said to him “But come back before the Sun goes down”
He ran excitedly to me for one last hug before running back to Orion.
After a minute of nothing happening, I asked what was wrong.
“I can’t turn back into my Wolfy” Ares whined
Rhys chuckled at both my worried face and Ares’ whining
“Close your eyes and imagine yourself as a Wolf Ares” Rhys said “Imagine what you felt while you were a Wolf. How the wind felt against your coat, the leaves underneath your paws, the trust you put into your wolf and the trust he put into you”
I watched in fascination as Ares shifted into his Wolf.
The process was quick, quick enough for the human eye to miss it if you blinked, and surprisingly painless.
Ares yipped before taking of, weaving in and out between the trees.
I looked at Rhys “He’ll be okay?”
“He should” he nudged me toward the house “Your brother’s watching him. He won’t let any harm come to him”
“I hope so” I muttered
“Why do you say that?” Rhys questioned “He’s your older brother. He wouldn’t let anything harm you two”
“Being my brother has nothing to do with it” I sighed “I’m just very weary when it comes to new people. I know absolutely nothing about him. The only thing I do know that up until a few days ago, he was locked in an Attic and raised by my psycho grandfather”
“You don’t trust him” Rhys confirmed
I nodded “Something’s not right”
I walked towards the forgotten journal, which was a few feet away from where Ares original brought it before the fight began. It must have been pushed back during the scuffle.
“But this is our key to fill in the missing pieces”
“What is it?”
“My mom’s journal”