Chapter 35: Raising Hell
We finally made it out of the forest and I gripped my sword harder as a couple of Rick’s pack members saw us.
“A-Athena?” Robby asked in shock as he saw me.
‘I still remember that punch he gave you on your thirteenth birthday.’ Artemis growled. ‘Your face was bruised for a week.’
I growled as I stalked closer to him. “The one and only.”
“W-What are you doing here?” He asked as he walked backward, trying to get away from me.
“Raising hell.” I smirked as I stabbed him with my sword.
His scream rang through the clearing and I’m pretty sure that if Rick’s members didn’t know we were here, they sure did now.
“Now it’s a party.” Circe laughed as she threw her dagger at the closest wolf. “Let’s roll.”
“We need to find Ares.” I commanded. “I think I still remember where the cellar is.”
“Lead the way.” Janus said determinedly. “It’s time to get my best friend back.”
The walk to the cellar wasn’t too much trouble, especially since Circe and Perseus were having too much taking out any wolf that tried to stop us. I really don’t think I’ve ever seen Perseus so excited.
‘It probably gets boring being in the castle all the time.’ Artemis pointed out.
“There’s the cellar!” I called out as I pointed to it with my sword.
“Shouldn’t there be guards standing in front of it?” Apollo asked confused.
“Cover me.” I said as I brought my sword up to my face.
“What if it’s a trap?” Perseus asked.
“He’s got a point.” Circe pointed out.
I groaned. “Fine. Follow me, but stay behind me. I don’t want anything happening to you guys.”
“We should be the ones saying that to you.” Janus complained as he rolled his eyes.
“Just shut up and let’s go.” I laughed. “Jason and Achilles, you two stand guard.”
“Roger that.” The brothers bowed as they took their post.
The five of us carefully made our way inside the cellar and it wasn’t guarded at all even though most of the cells seem to be occupied.
“Where are the guards?” Apollo asked confused as he looked around.
“They left with Rick.” A young boy spoke up as he walked towards the cell door. “And then they left with another man.”
“Was this man tall with short black hair and hazel eyes?” I asked worriedly.
“Yeah!” The boy nodded.
“Did he have tattoos on both arms?”
“He did.” The boy confirmed.
“Shit.” I growled. “What did Rick do with my mate?”
Everyone in the cellar flinched as I slammed the blade of the sword into the ground.
“H-He said something a-about a private place.” The boy stuttered as he cowered in the corner of his cell. “I-I don’t exactly know w-where.”
I growled again and motioned for him to stay back. “Stay right there.”
“What are you doing?” Apollo asked.
“Breaking them out.” I said as I lifted my sword above my head and quickly brought it down with enough force to smash the lock. I smiled in victory as the lock broke into pieces and fell on the dirt. “Go.”
“T-Thank you.” The boy smiled as he ran out of the cell when I opened the door.
After breaking the rest of the locks, Apollo, Janus, Perseus, Circe, and I left the cellar with Jason and Achilles.
“What place could be private?” Janus asked. “Not going to lie, didn’t think Rick would have a backup plan.”
“He must have moved Ares when he heard we arrived.” Apollo said thinking out loud. “What place could be private?”
I was lost in thought but looked up to see everyone staring at me. “Why are you all staring at me?”
“This was your pack before. Shouldn’t you know?” Janus asked confused.
“I don’t know what place would be private though.” I confessed. “I was barely allowed to leave the packhouse.”
“Try to think.” Circe urged.
I glared at her. “What do you think I’m trying to do?”
“Better make it quick.” Apollo said as he looked behind me. “We got company.”
I turned around and saw Zack standing there with about ten more wolves behind him.
I scoffed. “I was wondering when you would show up.”
Zack gave me a smirk. “Didn’t want to disappoint you.”
He rolled his eyes at me. “So? Are you going to give up?”
“The Queen will never surrender!” Perseus yelled as he held up his rifle.
I smiled and slowly pushed his rifle down. “It’s okay Perseus.”
“Oh, that’s right.” Zack teased. “Do I have to refer to you as Queen Athena?”
“I personally like Royal Highness.” I suggested.
“We should have killed her when we had the chance.” A wolf behind Zack whispered.
Apollo, Janus, and I growled and the wolf flinched.
“Watch it pup.” Janus threatened.
“How did you make it out alive that night?” Zack asked. “I thought a hunter got to you.”
I shook my head. “It wasn’t a hunter. It was a witch and she took me in and nursed me back to health.”
Zack growled. “Whatever. I’ll just finish what I started.”
“Bring it.” I growled back as Zack and his friends shifted.
Circe shifted and met a couple of wolves head-on, but easily overpowered them.
I brought my sword up as a wolf tried to jump over me, causing the sword to slice through his underside and making the wolf fall on the ground. I turned around and shoved my sword through his heart to finish the job.
“Athena!” Janus yelled right before he shifted.
I turned around, but not fast enough.
I let out a grunt as a wolf’s body slammed against mine. My back hit the dirt and I felt the wind get knocked out of me.
The wolf gave me a wolfy smirk and I instantly knew it was Zack. I gave him a growl and shoved him off of me.
I went to reach for my sword, but Artemis interrupted me. ‘Forget the sword. Let me at him.’
‘You want too?’ I asked.
‘It’s long overdue.’ She growled.
I gave Zack a sweet smile as I felt my eyes start to glow.
“Hello, Zack.” Artemis said sweetly, but I knew my face said differently. “Ready to get your ass kicked by the Alpha Queen?”
Zack’s wolf whimpered and took a small step back.
I felt the familiar cracks and pops before I was fully shifted into my white wolf. Artemis gave him a roar before she sprinted off towards him.
Zack made a move to leap away, but he didn’t get very far. Artemis grabbed him by his ankle and tossed him to the side against a tree stump.
As Zack slid down the large stump, Artemis slowly stalked towards him.
Damn, she is one terrifying wolf.
Zack whimpered as he tried to stand up, but instantly fell back down when he put pressure on the foot that Artemis grabbed.
Artemis snarled as she got closer until she was practically on top of him. She looked downward and bent down so she was face-to-face with him.
Zack’s eyes grew wide, but he slowly closed them as he accepted his fate.
‘Just make it quick.’ I said softly.
Artemis let out a loud growl as she quickly clapped her teeth around Zack’s throat and bit down hard, instantly killing him. She let go and got off of him and walked back to where Perseus was standing.
“My Queen.” Perseus bowed as he held out a shirt and shorts with his eyes closed.
I quickly shifted back and put the clothes on.
“Thank you.” I smiled.
“You’re bleeding.” He said worriedly as he looked at my shoulder.
“Must have been from when I hit the ground.” I mumbled as I looked at the dirty cut.
“We need to tend to that right away.”
“Not now.” I said as I shook my head. “We need to find Ares. Where are the others?”
“I’m here.” Apollo said winded. “Janus and I got the rest of them.”
“More like Circe got the rest of them.” Circe laughed. “That was so much fun.”
“Are you alright?” Janus asked worriedly as he looked at my shoulder.
I rolled my eyes as Perseus gave me an I-told-you look. “I’m fine. I promise.”
“I don’t know.” Janus said unsurely as he continued to look at it.
“Stop.” I laughed as I pushed away his hand playfully. “We need to focus on finding Ares.”
“Well, wherever this private area is.” Perseus started. “It’s going to be heavily guarded but I’m pretty sure Rick will also try to keep it secret.”
“That’ll be easy.” Circe said. “We just need to find a place where there are a ton of guards.”
“It won’t be that easy.” Perseus said as Circe huffed. “He could have more than one location heavily guarded to throw us off or if he places the guards right, the area won’t look so guarded. It’s all about positioning.”
“Then we’ll use that to our advantage.” I smiled. “Perseus, I want you to look at the groups and if anything looks suspicious to you, we’ll check it out.”
“Is there any place that rings a bell?” Apollo asked as we walked around. “Any place at all?”
“Not that I can think of.” I mumbled as I stopped walking to think.
“We need to get out of the open.” Jason said as he looked around. “Even though there doesn’t seem to be a lot of activity over here, we are sitting ducks.”
“He’s right.” Janus nodded as he too looked around. “We can go hide somewhere while we think.”
“What about that place?” Apollo asked as he pointed to a large building. “Is that their pack-”
“The packhouse!” I shouted with a smile. “That’s it!”
“What is?” Perseus asked confused.
“The only place where no one was allowed to go was Rick’s office.”
“So.” Apollo said. “A lot of people aren’t allowed in Ares’ office.”
“That’s the point.” I said. “Ares will still let you and Janus go in his office. Rick never let anyone in his office. That’s the one place that no one was allowed to step foot in. Even the maids when they were cleaning. It was strictly off-limits.”
“Do you think Rick is holding Ares in there?” Apollo asked. “Seems a little weird to me.”
“Only one way to find out.” I said as we walked closer to the packhouse.
I felt Jason pull me back as an arrow landed in front of my feet.
“I think we are heading in the right direction.” Perseus gulped as he lifted his rifle.
“What the hell?” Janus growled as he looked up. “There! Second story window all the way to the left.”
“Got it.” Perseus said as he held up his rifle. He took a quick breath and pulled the trigger.
We watched as the bullet hit the hunter, making him fall forward out of the window. He landed on the ground with a big thud.
“Move forward.” I commanded. “And keep your eyes open.”
Everyone ran forward, finally making it to the front door without a scratch.
“Get ready.” Apollo said as he placed his hand on the door handle.
He flung the door open and we were immediately met with two wolves.
Circe growled as rammed her knife through the chest of the wolf that was closest to her as Janus grabbed the other one and twisted his neck, successfully killing him instantly.
“His office is on the third floor.” I said. “The stairs are this way.”
‘Someone is coming down the stairs!’ Artemis warned.
“Watch out!” Circe yelled as she pushed me away and took the punch.
“Circe!” I yelled as she fell backward. I growled and tackled the wolf. “You jerk!”
I got one punch before he kicked me off and quickly stood back up. He went to stomp on my head, but I luckily rolled away at the last minute.
I looked up as I heard another set of footsteps coming down the stairs and saw a hunter.
The hunter started to grab his bow and an arrow as I was standing up. But before he shot the arrow, I quickly got behind the wolf and used him as a shield as the arrow flew through the air.
I pushed the wolf away when the arrow hit his chest and I used my sword to knock the bow out of the hunter’s hand before piercing his chest with it.
“Nicely done.” Perseus complimented.
“Thank you.” I bowed laughing before putting my sword away. “Come on.”
We all ran up the stairs as fast as we could. We ran into a couple more wolves, but Apollo and Janus took care of them quickly.
After finally getting to the third floor of the packhouse, Rick’s office was finally in sight. But of course, there had to be a wolf standing guard in front of the door.
‘I’m really starting to hate this guy.’ Artemis growled.
‘You and me both.’ I sighed.
“Circe do you think yo-” I started to say but before I could finish, Circe grabbed a dagger and threw it at the guard.
She smiled as the dagger hit the guard square in the chest and caused him to fall straight down. “Bull’s eye.”
“That works.” Apollo laughed.
I shook my head and we all ran down the hall and stood in front of Rick’s office door.
I growled as I jiggled the handle only to find the damn thing locked.
“Watch out.” Circe smirked as she scooted in front of me and knelt down in front of the door.
“Why am I not surprised.” I joked as she pulled out a small pouch of lock picking tools.
“Always got to be prepared.” She winked as he pulled out two small metal pieces and placed them inside the lock. She smiled in victory as we heard a small click. “That’s how it’s done.”
Apollo grasped the door handle and looked at us. “Ready?”
“Ready.” I confirmed as he nodded and flung the door open.
I jumped inside the office with my sword drawn, ready to fight. But no one was inside.
“Why would a guard be standing outside if no one is in here?” Circe asked confused as she looked around.
“I honestly have no idea.” I said unsurely.
‘Why was I expecting more?’ Artemis asked. ‘This office is kind of empty.’
I put my sword away and walked around the small room.
“Why does he keep this place so hidden?” Janus asked and he took a look around as well.
“He never said.” I replied. “He just made it very clear that no one was too step foot in it or else.”
“The more I hear about this guy, the more I hate him.” Circe growled.
I stopped walking as I heard footsteps coming down the hallway. I growled and got my sword out, ready to fight.
“Queen Athena?” Dan asked in surprise.
“Dan?” I asked, matching his surprised tone. “What are you doing here?”
“I heard Ares got kidnapped.” He explained as he relaxed and walked over to us. “I was worried you did too since I couldn’t find you anywhere.”
“Rick moved Ares out of the cellar when we invaded.” Janus answered. “So we have been looking around everywhere for him. We found the packhouse was heavily guarded so we just kept looking around in here.”
“Have you found anything?” Victoria asked.
I sighed and shook my head. “Nothing. But it’s weird because his office was guarded, but we can’t find anything.”
“This is getting so frustrating!” Apollo growled as he leaned against a desk. He jumped in surprise as he heard a loud click.
The bookcase closest to the desk jolted, sliding backward and then sliding to the right. A hallway appeared as the lights that lined the top lit up.
“A secret passageway?” Perseus asked.
“What did you press?” I asked Apollo.
“I don’t know.” He said confused as he looked at the desk.
“Well good job, whatever you did.” Janus laughed.
“Mindlink the pack and let’s get some more people over here.” I said. “This must be why Rick never let anyone in here. I don’t know where this hallway leads too and I want to be prepared.”
“Yes, my Queen.” Achilles nodded.
“I’ll link some of my pack members too.” Dan said.
“Good idea.” I smiled. “We’re going to need all the help we can get.”
A couple of minutes passed and soon Rick’s office was filled with a lot of wolves.
“Everyone here?” Apollo asked.
“Then let’s go.” I commanded as everyone nodded.
We walked through the hallway as quietly as possible and it finally began to get a little bigger.
Jason and Achilles moved slightly closer to me and I could practically feel Janus breathing down my neck.
“You do realize you guys don’t have to be so close to me, right?” I laughed.
“Not taking any chances.” Jason said sternly as he looked in every direction.
I sighed, but then let be. Whatever floats their boats I guess.
‘They are just doing their jobs.’ Artemis laughed.
‘I know but I do like my personal space.’ I retorted.
“Is that an elevator?” Dan asked.
“How is there an elevator?” Victoria asked confused.
“That’s why his office is so small.” Janus said. “The rest of the third floor is filled with this hallway. And then the elevator must be right at the edge of the house and that goes down into the basement. Or below the basement.”
Now I kind of want one of these secret passageways.
“That’s actually pretty smart.” I mumbled. “Well then. Shall we?”
“Wait.” Apollo said as he grabbed my arm. “You aren’t seriously going on that first, are you?”
“Why not?” I asked. “It’s just an elevator.”
“And what if someone was waiting for you when the doors open?” He pressed. “You’re dead.”
‘He’s got a point.’ Artemis agreed.
I rolled my eyes. “Fine. Then who’s going first?”
“I’ll do it!” Circe yelled excitedly. “I want to kick some more ass.”
“I’ll go with.” Dan volunteered. “I’ll take some of my guards and when the coast is clear, Circe can let you know.”
I nodded. “Be safe.”
Dan nodded back as they got on the elevator. I watched as the doors closed.
A couple of minutes passed by and I still haven’t heard from Circe.
“Do you think they are okay?” I asked concerned.
“It’s Circe.” Janus laughed. “I would be more worried for Rick’s pack members.”
‘Good to go!’ Circe yelled through the link.
“See.” Janus laughed as the rest of us piled into the elevators.
We had to wait a little bit because we had to take a couple of trips since everyone couldn’t fit into the small space at the same time. But after everyone was finally out of the elevator, we were ready to go.
“Is this the basement?” Dan asked.
“I think we are under the basement.” I mumbled as I looked at the dirt that was surrounding us. “I’ve never been this far down.”
“Wait.” Janus said as he paused. “Do you guys hear that?”
“Hear what?” Perseus asked as he clutched his rifle to his chest.
“I hear it too.” I nodded as I closed my eyes and focused harder. “I hear voices and it sounds like it’s just up ahead.”
“Stay here.” Janus said as he walked a little farther.
He came running back almost instantly and had a worried look on his face.
“What is it?” Victoria asked nervously.
“Rick is just up ahead.” Janus explained.
“That’s great.” I smiled, but Janus shook his head.
“And so are the members of some of the biggest hunter families in the country.” He finished.
My smile instantly dropped. Well, that’s not good.