Bound by Duty

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Killing them Softly

It was five weeks later that some of her father’s minions caught up to her. They began to badger her all through the route she was taking. While some trackers were able to find her by luck, most weren’t able to trace her at all. She wanted to make sure that no one would know about where she was heading.

Six months later, when she smelled them again, she groaned with irritation. To her, they were nothing more than pesky rodents which she could get rid of with one sweep. She knew that her father was aware of her capabilities. So, the fact that he still sent his people after her as cannon fodder meant that capturing her was not his primary agenda. The callous man would pull every string and use every despicable method to bring her down.

When she felt herself being herded to an alley, she had no choice but to turn and face them. “If you go right now, you will live to tell Jacob where I am.” She warned them in a hoarse voice. Weeks of disuse had done that.

“You think you can take us all on?” The man looked taken aback. He barked out a laugh. “You sure are confident for a pup.”

Another woman smirked and perused her relatively small frame. “Look at her, no meat anywhere. Where does she get the guts from? And who does she think she is to call the alpha by his name?”

Danielle sighed. The insults which used to infuriate her hot-headed self before no longer affected her. How much more could you fill a bowl which was already filled? They used to provoke long debates of self-reflection at the end of which Lupa would angrily shout at her and stop talking. So she silently contemplated these days, diving into despair often. The term ‘get a grip’ was her favourite. It was the only reason she was able to move on.

“Alright.” She rasped. “I’ve warned you.” Saying this much, she had lunged at the man, half-shifting mid-air. Her spine bent slightly; some fur and her ears grew out; her nails turned into claws, and her feet and hands turned into dexterous paws. She was truly half-woman, half-beast. The woman froze in shock. Partial-shift was a rare ability, and the owners of it were deadly fighters.

She quickly extended her claws and took a swipe at Danielle’s back. The shirt tore, but the skin only had a small scratch. Danielle aimed for the man’s neck and heart, to make a clean break, ignoring the woman like she was a buzzing fly. When two other people joined in, the fight got intense with bits of flesh flying around, sounds of fists slapping skin echoing across the narrow path. It wasn’t as if she was invulnerable; she too sustained some injuries and deep gashes.

Halfway through, she began to hear growls. She was always relieved when they shifted into wolves. It was easier that way. A loud rumble came from her chest as she shifted completely. Lupa was indisputably larger and bigger than most Alphas. Some wolves in the front whined, stepping back in fright.

She snarled loudly again, sitting on her haunches and looking down from above. All the wolves bowed and flattened themselves on the floor, unable to resist an Alpha’s Absolute Will. It was a trait that all true alphas possessed, and depending on their strength, the Absolute Will they enforced would be that much powerful.

Then she got to business, decapitating and beheading each one of them systematically. Leaving loose ends was never advisable; these loose ends would return and bite her back when she least expected it. Her experience with such incidents was vast.

When she shifted back, she cleaned up the area muttering, “They never listen. I hate killing.”

It was a messy job. Oh, she had done it many times in those eleven years; so many that she had become numb to it. But it was still an undesirable, distasteful activity. Not what she had in mind when she thought of job prospects.

Swinging up her duffel bag which she had thrown to the side, she walked out from the alley and headed towards the more populated areas of the town. She ambled with her bare feet, taking in her surroundings, allowing herself to heal. She looked like a walking disaster and no place would let her in while looking the way she did.

Soon, an inn that had a neon sign outside saying, ‘The Belle’ came into her view. It was relatively out of public sight and was quite remote. It seemed perfect for her to stay that night. As long as the innkeeper didn’t attack her for being a Wanderer.

Pushing the doors, she walked in and put her bag down with a thud. This startled the middle-aged lady sitting behind the reception counter, who was watching the news. When she saw Danielle, a huge smile spread across her face, without blinking an eye seeing her bloodied form. “Travelling alone, love?” She asked rather eagerly.

Danielle was slightly taken aback by the enthusiasm. She nodded at the innkeeper. “Room for one night, please.”

“Need some dinner with that, hun?” the lady said. She seemed to be overfond of endearments. Danielle shook her head. She preferred to hunt for her food these days. “Don’t be like that, love! My mate just caught some game, goddess bless his wolf, and we managed to get quite a number this time!”

Danielle was getting rather impatient. “Lady, as long as you give me the room and leave me alone, I’m up for anything. Here’s the money,” she tossed a couple of bills on the desk.

The innkeeper sensed her irritation and quietly took the money. As she went through the processes of booking, Danielle’s eyes absently fell on the news channel which was playing on the TV. “... vampire clans have been under attack in the past three weeks. The spokesperson of the Imperial Palace has conveyed that rigorous investigation has begun and the people responsible for these attacks will not be spared.”

“Tch,” The innkeeper clicked her tongue. “Serves them all right,” she said casually about the vampires. Danielle merely glanced at her and looked back at the television set.

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