Chapter 34: Rescue Mission
“Everyone ready?” I asked as I placed my new sword into its scabbard that is attached to my belt.
“Yes, my Queen.” I heard echo through the room.
“Wait.” Perseus said as he ran over to me.
“Are you okay?” I asked worriedly.
“I’m fine.” He smiled as he opened a cloth sack. “This is for you.”
My eyes grew wide at the tiara. What is with this place and bejeweled crowns?
“But I thought I already had one?” I said confused. “And wasn’t it filled with rubies.”
Perseus chuckled. “Yes, my Queen. But this is a battle tiara.”
“A battle tiara? Is that even a real thing?”
‘It’s pretty though.’ Artemis laughed. ‘So I’m not mad. And I actually really enjoy wearing crowns.’
“This isn’t like a normal tiara. The way it’s shaped makes it rest against your forehead.” Perseus explained as he carefully placed it on my head. And he was right. I could feel where the jewel was located touching the middle of my forehead. “This is what the Queen wears when she goes into battle. It hasn’t been worn for quite some time though, which is good. But seeing as how we are about to rescue King Ares, you should wear it. And it’s also very special.”
“Why is it special?” I asked interestedly. “Besides the fact that the Queen wears it when she goes into battle.”
“It was a gift to the very first werewolf Queen from the Moon Goddess herself.” Perseus smiled as he held up a mirror for me to see my reflection.
“No way.” I said amazed as I looked at it. The emerald sparkled in the light and the gold looked really smooth.
“When you shift, the tiara doesn’t break or bend. In fact, it kind of shifts with you.” Perseus explained. “Don’t ask me how because no one has ever been able to find out how it does it. But it does.”
“This is so badass.” I laughed.
Perseus gave me a chuckle. “I’m glad you like it, my Queen.”
Once I was done staring at the tiara in the mirror, I turned to face the warriors. Some were still getting their weapons ready and cleaned, but more of them were ready and waiting for my command.
I cleared my throat and everyone turned their attention to me.
‘Take a deep breath.’ Artemis said reassuringly. ‘You got this girl.’
“Listen.” I started. “I can’t help but feel that it’s all my fault that Ares was kidnapped. And even though I haven’t been you Queen for long, this is my pack and no one messes with my pack.”
“Woohoo!” Apollo hollered.
I rolled my eyes and continued my speech. “We are going to get Ares back and finally take down Rick. We are going to show them what the Royal Blue Moon Pack is all about. They will bow down before us and beg for mercy.”
‘Damn girl.’ Artemis laughed.
The warriors yipped and hollered some more as they raised their fists in the air.
‘I knew you had it in you.’ Circe said proudly through the link.
I looked up and saw her wink at me with a smile.
‘Are you actually being nice to me?’ I teased.
She laughed and nodded. ‘I know I was hard on you at first and I do apologize. I just want what’s best for the pack and you. I knew your plan was dangerous and I was worried something would have happened to you. I didn’t mean to belittle you in any way, my Queen. I do like you and I know I have a weird way of showing it.’
‘I accept your apology.’ I smiled. ‘Thank you.’
“Now who’s ready to head out?” I asked. “Let’s get going before the sun comes up.”
With that, we all drank the potions and exited the building. Some guards stripped from their clothes and shifted as the rest of us piled into the cars.
We were a couple of miles from reaching Rick’s territory when the sun started to peak over the horizon. That’s when we decided to park the cars and walk the rest of the way.
“Theseus.” I called out as I walked up to him. “You and your team ready?”
“Yes, my Queen.” He nodded. “Red team. Move out!”
I watched as they shifted and began to run towards Rick’s territory. Thank you, Hecate for these potions.
They weren’t gone long before they came back to where we set up base.
“What did you find?” Janus asked.
“The first wave of guards are about five miles away from us.” Theseus said. “On this side, he doesn’t have very many.”
“I counted ten guards.” Atlas said.
I nodded. “Perseus. Are your guys ready?”
“Oh hell yeah.” He said excitedly as he loaded up his rifle but then stood up straight and cleared his throat. “Uh. I mean. Yes, my Queen.”
I laughed. “Go get ’em.”
“This is the most excitement I’ve had in a long time.” He smiled widely as he stood in front of his team. “Blue team. Let’s roll.”
We all followed Perseus and his team for a couple of miles before we stopped so they could go do their part. Didn’t want to follow them the whole way and risk us being heard.
I smiled in victory as I heard a small gunshot sound from the rifles. The rifles that Perseus brought for this mission are relatively quiet. Humans can’t hear them at all and for werewolves, it’s sort of a faint sound so they think that their minds were just playing tricks on them. But for us Royal Bloods, we can hear it thanks to our amazing hearing.
‘Deflate your ego a little bit.’ Artemis teased.
I rolled my eyes and smiled when I saw Perseus.
“The first wave of guards, gone.” Perseus smirked as he puffed out his chest slightly.
‘And you say my ego needs to deflate.’ I joked to Artemis.
“Good job.” I smiled as I gave him a high-five. “Theseus. You’re up again.”
Theseus’ wolf nodded and he and his team shot off into the forest once more.
As we were waiting for Theseus to make his round, we walked forward to where the first wave of guards were. Circe and a couple of other warriors dragged the bodies off to the side and into a pile to get them out of the way.
Theseus came running back to where we were all standing. ‘Ten more guards seven miles ahead.’
“Why does he have so little guarding this side of his territory?” Apollo asked. “It’s weird. I feel like he should have more.”
“This isn’t a very large pack. So considering he has to guard all sides, put guards so many miles out from the packhouse, and also guard him and everyone else, he probably doesn’t have a lot.” I said. “He’s got to spread them out as well so this will probably be the last wave of guards. Let’s hurry and take them out.”
“Way ahead of you.” Circe smirked as she grabbed her knife. “Green team, let’s move.”
As Circe and her team left, I looked at all my pack members. They all seemed determined and ready for action. But I could still tell a couple of them were not sure that my plan was going to work.
“How have we not been discovered yet?” Atlas asked slightly confused and worried.
“His security hasn’t always been the greatest.” I replied as he looked at me. “And the security that he does have, don’t really take it seriously.”
“Still.” Atlas mumbled.
‘You guys can come on up ahead.’ Circe’s voice filled the link.
“Theseus.” I nodded.
Theseus returned my nod as he and his team ran up ahead of us to finish scouting.
Apollo groaned. “I just want to kick his ass already.”
I laughed as I stepped over a fallen branch. “Patience child.”
“That’s something that isn’t in his vocabulary.” Janus teased.
“I’ve noticed.” I smirked as Apollo glared at us.
As we came up to where Circe and her team was, I noticed there were a couple of hunters that lay on the ground with the other dead bodies.
“Looks like he was saving these guys for his last defense.” Achilles said, thinking out loud.
“How many hunters does he have working for him?” Jason asked.
“I can’t imagine a lot.” Janus answered. “Even if Rick promised them something in return, I don’t see hunters wanting to work with werewolves. I mean they are hunters for a reason. And if they do promise to work with an alpha, they usually backstab the alpha in the end. I’ve seen it multiple times.”
“Maybe we’ll get lucky and the hunters already took Rick out.” Apollo joked.
“But we would still have to deal with the hunters.” Janus laughed.
“I’d rather deal with them than Rick.” Apollo growled. “Rick is a giant pain in my ass.”
“Tell me about it.” I laughed.
‘You’re good to go, my Queen.’ Theseus said as he ran up to us. ‘The packhouse is five miles ahead of where we stand now.’
I nodded and then turned to face my pack members. “In just five miles, we will come face-to-face with Rick’s pack. Be careful and watch for hunters. Let’s finish this.”
My members growled and we started our journey towards Rick’s pack.
‘You do realize I can see right past your calm exterior.’ Artemis said in a duh-tone.
‘Yes, I know.’ I sighed. ‘I’m just trying to keep it together for them. I have to be strong.’
’Well, you don’t have to be.’ She suggested. ‘Everyone knows you are freaking out on the inside. You aren’t fooling anyone.’
‘I’m not trying to fool them.’ I said as I continued to walk forward. ‘I just don’t want them to see me falling apart. I’m absolutely terrified.’
‘And you have every right to be.’ Artemis said softly. ‘They won’t think any less of you if you show them that you are scared.’
‘But I don’t want to show them that I’m scared.’ I explained. ‘I am their leader right now. I need to act like one.’
‘Even a leader can be scared.’
“It’s just up ahead.” Theseus whispered.
“Alright.” I nodded. “Everyone, get behind a tree to stay hidden.”
“Athena.” Apollo gulped as we had our back to the trees.
“What?” I asked.
“Who are they?” He asked as he pointed ahead of us.
I peered around the tree and saw three black SUVs pull up by the pack house.
“I-I don’t know.” I said confused. “Theseus?”
“They weren’t there before.” Theseus admitted. “They must have just pulled into the territory when we were walking up here.”
“Someone get into the tree and see if you can get a better visual.” I commanded.
“On it.” Circe bowed as Apollo and Janus helped her up.
“What do you see?” I asked.
“Umm.” She hummed. “Nine guys.”
“It looks like hunters.”
“Did Rick call in some more friends?” Apollo asked.
“I don’t think so.” Circe said as she shook her head. “One of them is having a heated argument with Rick the Dick.”
I had to cough so I could cover my laugh.
“What do you mean?” Janus asked. “Why would they be arguing?”
“I have no idea but he looks like he’s ready to punch something. I’d say this hunter has a slight temper.” Circe continued. “He might be a boss guy and the two other guys with him might be his goons.”
“I don’t underst-”
“Shit! Get me down.” Circe said frantically as she practically fell out of the tree. “Those three are coming our way.”
“Fall back.” I yelled in a whisper.
We made our move backward, but the three hunters kept coming our way.
“Hide.” Janus hissed.
I help my breath as I pressed my back firmly against the tree. I looked over to my right and saw Apollo and Janus hiding behind a tree several feet away from me.
Just great. This couldn’t possibly get any worse.
“I don’t understand why we can’t just bid now boss.” A man practically yelled in frustration.
‘You really need to stop saying that.’ Artemis said.
‘Oh shut up.’ I growled as I tried to remain quiet.
“Shut up.” Another man said in a deep voice. “Who are you?”
I jumped in fright as the man stuck his head around the tree that I was hiding behind and stared me down.
“I-I.” I stuttered.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Apollo grab Janus just as he was about to run over to me.
“Well out with it.” He demanded.
‘Lie!’ Apollo said quickly.
“I-I’m a new recruit for A-Alpha Rick, sir.” I lied.
‘Nice!’ Artemis said. ‘Keep going.’
“New recruit, aye?” He asked.
I nodded. “Y-Yes, sir. I’m still kind of young so he put me closer to the packhouse.”
“I can’t believe he brought a girl for a guarding position.” The blonde man said.
‘I’m killing him first.’ Circe growled.
“Maybe she’s a good fighter?” The man with brown hair suggested.
“Still.” Blondie shrugged.
“So what’s this about bidding?” I asked.
“Why do you want to know?” Brownie asked
“Easy there.” The older man laughed.
“Sorry boss.” Brownie said as he looked at the ground.
“Rick there has a wolf we want.” Boss man explained.
“Oh.” I nodded as I pretended to know what they were talking about.
“What’s with the crown?” Blondie asked with a laugh.
“Huh?” I asked as I touched it. “Oh. Uh, it was a gift. From my mother.”
“And the sword?”
“My weapon of choice.” I replied with a fake smile. “As I said, I’m still kind of young, so I haven’t had much experience with fighting in my wolf form. But I love swords.”
“Wait a minute.” Boss said as he took a step closer to me and focused on my crown.
“What is it boss?” Blondie asked.
“That crown looks familiar.” He said slowly. “Almost like I’ve seen it somewhere.”
I’m pretty sure the people in Africa could have heard my nervous gulp and my pounding heart.
“I’m so confused.” Brownie said.
It looked like something clicked in the boss’ head because he just gave me a smirk that could make anyone shiver in fright.
“What is it?” Blondie asked in anticipation.
“Hello, my dear Alpha Queen.” Boss winked as he took a step closer to me.
“Perseus!” I shouted.
Perseus jumped out from his hiding spot and held his rifle up, pointing it right at the trio.
Boss man laughed. “I should have known you weren’t alone.”
“I wouldn’t reach for that knife if I were you.” Circe said as she held her gun to blondie’s temple.
Blondie sighed and put his hand back to his side.
“Let’s take a walk.” I said as I turned around and started to walk further away from the pack house.
We walked about a mile back before I had my members put the hunters on the ground.
“What’s this about a bid?” Janus asked.
“I ain’t saying anything.” Boss man huffed as he looked away.
I sighed and turned to Circe. “Circe. Do you think yo-”
But before I could finish my sentence, Circe launched her fist directly into the man’s face. He let out a loud grunt and fell on his side, with his shoulder digging into the dirt.
“You’re going to pay for that.” He heaved as he spat out blood.
“Bring it.” Circe smirked as she hopped back and forth with her fists up. “I love a good fight.”
‘I feel like you should have seen that coming.’ Artemis laughed.
‘Eh.’ I chuckled. ‘I’ll let her have some fun.’
‘Now this is what I’m talking about!’ Artemis hollered.
“You’re a bitch.” He snapped.
“Can I hit him again?” Circe asked me with excitement.
“Hold on.” I laughed when she let out a reluctant groan. “Now. Do you want to explain what it is you are bidding on?”
“Not really.” He smirked as he gave me a bloody smile.
‘That is disgusting.’ Artemis gagged. ‘You should let Circe punch him just for that.’
“I suggest you tell me or else I’ll let my girl have some more fun with you.” I threatened.
“Don’t promise me with a good time.” He winked.
“I’m going to kill him.” Janus growled.
“Hold on buddy.” Apollo said as he grabbed Janus just in time.
“Someone needs to control their temper.” Blondie teased as his friends laughed.
“If you could let us go so I can go claim my prize.” Boss man started. “That would be much appreciated.”
“We should take her with.” Brownie laughed.
Take me with? What the hell is going on?
“Oh my gosh.” Perseus gasped.
“What?” I asked as Perseus and boss man had a stare down.
“Rick is going to see King Ares.” Perseus explained. “He’s going to sell him to the highest bidder.”
“Excuse me?” I growled. I could feel my eyes change and I knew Artemis wasn’t happy either.
Boss man sighed as he looked at brownie. “Way to go idiot.”
I growled as I grabbed boss man’s collar and pulled him close to my face. “You better tell me where Ares is being kept and tell me what Rick has planned or so help me, I will tear you limb from limb.”
His eyes widened at the sudden change in my voice and I knew instantly that he was looking at Artemis.
“I-I.” He stuttered.
“Out with it!” Artemis commanded.
“I-I don’t know everything.” He admitted. “I promise.”
“Then tell me what you do know.”
“All I know is that the hunter Rick is working with is having an auction for the King. Whoever bids the most on him, gets him.”
“And what is the hunter going to do with my mate when they buy him?” Artemis asked, but I’m pretty sure she already knew the answer. I think she just wanted to scare him some more.
“I-I don’t want to say.” He whispered.
“Why not?” She asked. “Just spit it out already and I might make your death painless and quick.”
“She scares me when she’s angry.” Apollo whispered to Janus.
Me too Apollo. Me too.
“I think you already know.” Boss man said quietly.
Artemis growled and pushed him back on the dirt. “Get them out of my sight.”
“Athena?” Janus asked quietly.
Artemis growled again and looked at Janus with glowing eyes.
Janus jumped and bowed his head. “I’m sorry, my Queen. I didn’t mean the disrespect.”
‘Please don’t be so mean.’ I said softly but Artemis ignored me.
“Listen up everyone.” She commanded with a deep voice. “We are getting Ares back right now. Kill anyone you see. Screw the element of surprise.”
“What about being quiet?” Jason asked carefully.
“That all changed when they put my mate up for auction!” Artemis growled. “Do you have a problem with that?”
“No, my Queen.” Jason bowed. “Of course not.”
“Then let’s go raise some hell.” Artemis smirked and she pulled my sword out of its scabbard. “Let’s show them what the Royal Blue Moon Pack is all about.”