Order of Protection

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Beta Polina’s POV

The pilot who Shura had hired had returned to his home, sending a text message to me saying he never showed up.

I sank into my chair, closing my eyes, my head tilting forward so my long black hair could cover my face. I didn’t want anyone to see me break down. I was stronger than this, I could survive this. Shura must have been captured again, and this time they would kill him.

“What’s going on, Polina.”

I squeezed the arms of my office chair, gathering myself before I answered. “Shura… my mate… he didn’t make it to the pickup, Alpha.”

“Did they kill Jessie?”

I had to look down so he couldn’t see my reaction. I had just been informed my mate was gone, and his only worry was whether Jessie was dead? Was he really that obtuse? For days we had been stuck in this underground bunker, breathing stale air and eating dehydrated food, and for what? I pushed my anger down before I looked at him. “I do not know, Alpha.”

“Sir, if I may,” one of the technicians said. “We are still getting emails from the Council, and we can access their network. We just got an announcement from them, Alpha.” Yuri was staring at him, and he was shaking under the dominance. “They are holding a trial in one hour, broadcast live on the secure server.”

“Of my Shura?” I couldn’t face that, not now.

“No, Beta. The trial of Alpha Yuri Zubkov.”

Yuri’s POV

I watched the entire trial in silence, writing down the people who had wronged me. I would not forget, and I would not forgive. I would not only kill them, slowly and painfully, I would kill their families and anyone they cared for in front of them first. I wanted their entire bloodline wiped out.

Traitors, opportunists, turncoats.

The evidence against me was overwhelming. Alpha Sven had recorded the videoconferences with me, both when I originally purchased Jessie’s death, and when I needed her body produced. He and Jessie testified how they had used her powers to fake her death, and the payments were from an account that the Russian Police later seized as being mine.

Beta John Pearson and Jessie both testified about the attempt on their lives in Grand Marais, which resulted in the deaths of two Coven leaders and one member of the St. Croix Pack. Killing witches was dangerous; they were human, and the Council had treaties with them to keep the peace. Miriam's coven was demanding reparations for her death.

Finally, they got to the recent events. Luna Linnea testified about her captivity and the loss of her guards. Captured rogues and warriors all confirmed that Beta Shura had hired them, made the plans and gave the orders to attack the Vermillion Pack. Even Alpha Michael made an appearance by video, his deathbed confession about his conversation with me proving my direct involvement. He looked like hell, and he died shortly after, his mate choosing to die with him.

The only person who didn’t testify against me in a bid to save their life or have a quick death was Beta Shura. He was nowhere to be found.

In the end, the combined jury of the European and North American councils reached a unanimous guilty verdict and returned a sentence of death for Beta Shura and myself. I was now wanted by the Russian Police, the Councils and the Sicilian Mob.

Fuck them all.

I finished the bottle of vodka and went back to the small room that was my own, falling asleep almost immediately.

Beta John’s POV

He took the whole thing better than I thought; when he asked for the phone, I was surprised. A man who was second in command to a feared Mafia boss and Alpha, willing to give him up to save himself and his mate. I just nodded and moved the plank, so he was head up instead of head down.

I grabbed his cellphone from the table, the one we recovered from his car, and put it in my pocket. “Guards,” I said loud enough for them to hear outside. Two men entered, once carrying a cattle prod and a stun gun, while the other had a long stick with needle and autoinjector. “Watch him while I uncuff his hand.” I pulled the key out of my pocked, unlocking the shackle. “Do the right thing, Shura,” I told him.

He took his phone out and dialed a number he had memorized. He smiled as he heard her voice. “Is it really you?”

“Yes, my love. I’ve been captured, they want me to ask you to turn yourself in, and make sure Yuri is captured and faces the Russian justice system.”

She paused. “What do you want, my mate?”

“Avenge me,” he said before I knocked the phone out of his hand. It smashed against the wall, breaking into pieces. He swung his hand towards my face, but I jumped out of the way just before the cattle prod hit his chest. He couldn’t scream, he couldn’t move as the electricity coursed through his body. When it was done, two of us forced his arm back down and put the shackle back on.

“You know, I’m kind of glad you didn’t play ball,” I said. “There are a whole bunch of people who want a piece of your ass before you die.” One of the guards pulled out a gag and tied it around his mouth, we didn’t want or need to hear anything from him again. He had his chance.

I called more men in, and we took hold of the plank and carried him out. He struggled and tried to curse, but we couldn’t make out the muffled Russian and we didn’t care. Out of the interrogation room, and into the big building with the dirt floor that Jessie and I had been brought to all those weeks ago. The place was packed, filled with members of over a dozen Packs and two Councils. We carried him to the punishment pole, set deep in concrete and surrounded by gravel, and tied the plank upright so he was facing the crowd. “He refused to cooperate,” I said as I bowed to the Council Chairs.

“Very well,” Robert said. “Beta Shura, you have been found guilty of attempted murder, recruiting rogues, kidnapping and attacking a sovereign Pack. Your sentence is death.” There was a cheer in the crowd. “Due to the number of people killed or injured, your death will not be quick or painless. Those left behind and those hurt by your actions have been given the option of participating in your death. Those with the greatest hurt, they will hurt you first. As the Alpha of the attacked Pack, Alpha Sven will end you.” He looked over the crowd. “My Enforcers will monitor his condition to ensure that he doesn’t die too quickly. Have consideration in your choices to allow everyone a chance.”

He tried to yell and struggle, but he wasn’t going anywhere. A line formed to his right, and three objects were placed on a table at the front of the line.

An aluminum baseball bat.

A Marine combat knife.

A propane torch.

The next two hours must have been agony for him; the people got their pound of flesh and then some. When he was hanging there, almost every bone broken, cuts and burns everywhere, the enforcers said something, and Alpha Sven was called forward to finish his sentence.

It would have been merciful to slit his throat, even to bash his head in with the bat, but Yuri’s one remaining eye got wide when Sven picked up the blowtorch. Starting it up, he adjusted the flame until it was as long as his hand. He walked in front of Shura, holding the flame between them. “You took my mate, you killed my people, and the last thing you will ever see is me.” Turning the flame towards him, he grabbed his hair to hold him in place while the flame advanced. He screamed as it burned through his eye, and he kept going, pushing the flame into his skull, until he was dead.

Letting his hair go, he turned off the torch and tossed it aside. “Bury him deep, where no one can find him,” he told his guards. “We’re done here.”

Polina’s POV

I was up late, unable to sleep. The techs were on shifts, one was still up monitoring traffic, while the others were sleeping. I was searching the internet for information on the search for us when I felt my emergency phone vibrate. A pay-as-you-go phone that had never been used, only Shura knew the number. I looked over at the tech, he had headphones on, and I closed the door between us. Answering the phone with a smile, I recognized the number. “Is it really you?”

“Yes, my love. I’ve been captured, they want me to ask you to turn yourself in, and make sure Yuri is captured and faces the Russian justice system.”

I was shocked, he was talking about surrender, about betraying our Pack and our Alpha. “What do you want, my mate?”

“Avenge me,” he said, then the phone went dead. I was shaking, I had to set the phone down, hoping he would call back but knowing he would not. He had been captured, and he was going to die.

I was thinking about what to do next when the Council broadcast went live again, this time with my mate chained to the pole. I listened as he was sentenced to death, and the line formed.

I couldn’t watch.

I couldn’t stay here.

Yuri would never give up, and I would die here if I stayed. My mate was gone, and the only thing I had left in my life was to do what he had asked- to avenge his death.

Death I could do.

I opened the cabinet, withdrawing the syringes and the drugs I would need. Loading the four, I walked through the door and into the computer room. The tech didn’t even turn around before the needle was in his neck. Death was instantaneous, the wolfsbane stopping him from using the link, the potassium chloride stopping his heart. I took the next two, stepping into the bunk room and injecting the remaining techs while they slept.

Stepping back out, I there was only one other heartbeat left. I couldn’t kill him, that would be doing their work for them. I couldn’t let him stop me, though. The last syringe was filled with a mix of wolfsbane and propofol, a powerful sedative. I opened the door to his sleeping room, the smell of vodka and sweat overwhelming my senses. “Alpha,” I said as he woke up and looked at me, “You need to see this.”

I stepped aside, and he pushed himself up to a sitting position then got out of bed. He walked past me, his eyes on Shura as he suffered for what Yuri had told him to do.

I stuck the needle in his neck and injected the mixture in.

He turned to me, betrayal in his eyes as the sedative took effect. His mouth opened in a scream that never came, as his wolf was taken from him right before his eyes rolled back and he hit the ground.

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