Way of the Wolf: Liberty (The Wulvers Series Bk4)

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Chapter 2 ~ Released

The pub was crowded and buzzing. The thump of the music playing seemed to thrum through the walls and pound along to the beat of my heart. I grinned, feeling alive as I greeted the pack who'd come to say goodbye and have a good night.

Flidais was behind the bar, signature cigarette hanging from her lips as she scanned the room. She was often employed to keep the younger wolves in check as they drank. No humans came to this pub luckily. It was run by Wulvers for Wulvers, a safe place where we could let lose without fear of what would happen when drink lowered our inhibitions and instincts were freed.

Kailum tugged me to the bar and Flidais gave me a grin that I returned.

"I take it that since you're here, you've convinced your uncle to let you go?" she asked, leaning over the bar.

I nodded, laughing. "Like he could have stopped me had he said no."

She snorted but didn't argue. In all honesty, I wasn't sure that I'd have managed to go without his permission.

Kailum ordered our drinks and as I looked around the room and towards the makeshift dance floor, I cringed. Raeghan was the centre of attention as she danced with her hands raised, dark copper hair flying wildly around her.

"She's been here a few hours," Flidais muttered. "Drinks like her mother."

When I raised an eyebrow, she smirked and leaned in closer to whisper. "A lot at once but can't handle it."

"I guess we'll have to watch what we drink so we can make sure she gets home safely. We don't need Alpha Roarke hunting her down later. . .again," Kailum muttered.

I cringed again at that. Raeghan had turned eighteen earlier in the year and had gotten more than a little carried away on her birthday night out. Alpha Roarke had dragged his drunk pup home and she'd been scolded in front of half the pack.

We weren't the only ones watching our future Alpha Female. I didn't like the way male gazes lingered on the female I considered my little sister. Drink in hand, I marched my way through the crowd, growling my warning at any male I considered a threat to her.

Glowing eyes met mine but most bared their necks and backed away. I didn't really hold rank in the pack, not like my uncle or even Raeghan, but I was the niece of the Beta and that put me somewhat in a position not to be messed with.

"Fenna!" Raeghan called out, launching herself at me and spilling some of her drink down my top.

I half hugged her, half kept her from collapsing. "You're having a glass of water, Rae."

Wide, pale green eyes looked up at me, her bottom lip jutting out but my expression must have conveyed that I wasn't pleased with her. She sighed heavily and nodded.

"You were meant to be here hours ago, I had to drink on your behalf," she accused with a huff.

I rolled my eyes and helped her over to Kailum who'd already gotten her a glass of water.

"I had a family dinner and then I had to convince Quillan to let me run away," I explained, passing her the glass.

She took a few sips, scrunching her nose. I watched her closely, not letting up until she finished the whole glass.

"You need to be more careful-"

"Don't even try to tell me you never got drunk at my age. I'm the Alpha's daughter, nobody is going to do anything and the whole pack watches out for each other. Someone would have made sure I got home alright," she interrupted haughtily.

Her eyes were swirling green and gold now, her fur rising as I questioned her. Hands on hips, I narrowed my eyes at her, the power of my own wolf rising until her fur settled.

I knew she was right though. I could see a few of her friends dotted about the pub and knew one of them would be abstaining from drink. It was one of the Alpha's rules, to make sure one sober friend was able to keep an eye on the others.

"This is our last hurrah before we lose you to the wilderness! So you are going to let loose and enjoy yourseld" she demanded before leaning over the bar and shouting. "A round of tequila please!"

I shook my head in amusement. Though I was sure tequila was the last thing any of us needed, I didn't argue as she passed me the shot. She handed out the rest to Kailum and her friends, grinning wickedly before tossing it back. I squeezed my eyes shut as I drank mine, stiffling a cough as the liquid burnt its way down. The urge to gag swelled but I wouldn't give any wolf here the satisfaction.

"That wasn't so bad," Kailum admitted, reaching for another.

I shuddered and took a swig of jack and coke to get the acetone taste out of my mouth. "Yeah. Not so bad."

He chuckled, noting the disgusted look on my face. Kailum knew how I felt about tequila, but he took delight in the fact. Before I could come up with a snarky remark, Raeghan was grabbing my hand and pulling me towards the dance floor again.

I danced happily along to whatever pop song was blasting through the speakers. Raeghan was right, I needed to let loose. Kailum joined us for a little while, his presence helping keep cocky males at bay. My eyes met with the brown eyes of Theo as he made his way towards us. I'd admit to myself that he looked good tonight, his shirt hugging his muscled form. We'd messed around a few times, but I'd put an end to that.

I felt Kailum stiffen beside me but I carried on dancing, trying to get my friend to join in again. Theo and Kailum butted heads a lot, perhaps from jealousy at first but Kailum held no interest in me as a mate now and Theo was too busy screwing his way through the pack to care to settle.

I turned my back to the male trying to entice me and heard the rumble of his annoyed growl. It was a subtle way of telling him no. Raeghan and her younger friend Shannon gave me knowing grins.

"You're not interested in him anymore?" Shannon asked, casting her gaze back to Theo.

"I was never interested. Not really. It was fun while it lasted but it's over," I replied, studying her. "You're welcome to him if you're interested."

Raeghan barked a laugh and nudged the blushing female who huffed and glowered before muttering. "He thinks I'm too young for him."

While I didn't say so out loud, I had to agree. Theo may not have been famous for his monogamy, but he respected those he was with and I was glad he wouldn't mess with the younger females. I was so busy thinking that I didn't notice the male himself had decided to ignore my refusal.

Kailum muttered about going outside for fresh air just as the scent of wild heather filled my senses. My back prickled as Theo came up behind me and I rolled my eyes as Raeghan and Shannon giggled between themselves.

"Was my earlier action not clear?" I asked as hands settled on my waist to sway with the music.

"It was clear," Theo murmured huskily, lowering his head to my neck.

Pulling away, I fixed with a scowl only to find a playful grin stretching his lips. "I just came to say goodbye. I hear you've decided to go after all. Finally realised no male here is for you so you're off to find one elsewhere?"

"I'm not leaving to find a mate, Theo," I growled, irritation flaring.

My skin shifted as my wolf rose, the press of fangs against my lip making me take a deep, calming breath. I could feel eyes on us as the air filled with the power of a pissed off, high ranked female. I lifted my chin but Theo only chuckled. We were equally matched in dominance and he knew which buttons to press to get a reaction.

"Forgive my teasing, Fenna. I've had a bit to drink and I'm feeling lonely. Perhaps I wanted to have you one last time before you went," he purred, his eyes holding the golden glow of his wolf.

Grabbing the hand of a drunken Raeghan, I pulled her to my side. She grinned up at Theo, something almost shy about the way she turned her body towards me. I rolled my eyes. Every young female had a crush on this damn male.

"I'm here with my friends, and I'm done being your bedmate. Go and attempt to seduce someone else," I said firmly.

He bowed his head in respect to Raeghan then gave me a smile. "As you wish, Fenna. I will leave you to enjoy your night.

"Thank you."

I relaxed when he turned to go then readied myself for some snide parting words when he turned back.

"I'll miss you, seriously. We've had fun and I consider you a friend. I hope you find whatever it is you're looking for out there" he told me honestly.

I was shocked at first, waiting for the punchline to the joke but he simply nodded to hismelf and went back to his group of friends. I smiled. Maybe he was maturing after all. The moment was ruined by Shannon retching beside me.

"Is she staying with you tonight?" I asked Raeghan, studying a very pale Shannon who began sliding down the wall she was leaning against.

Raeghan nodded, helping her firmed stay upright. Chuckling, I put on my in charge hat. "I'll go get Kailum and we'll get you both home."

I wasn't sure either female was listening as they giggled drunkenly. Deciding they were safe enough where they were, I marched for the door to find Kailum. He was standing a little ways from the door outside, his breath clouding in white as he breathed out.

"It's time we get the pups back home," I joked, touching his arm.

He laughed and nodded, looking up at the starry sky. "It is getting quite late. Maya will send Quillan after you soon."

I rolled my eyes. Quillan and Oria would be home now, asleep most likely. I knew Alpha Roarke would be awake until his daughter came back. Grabbing Kailum, I dragged him back inside and immediately regretted leaving Raeghan and Shannon unattended.

The group around them at the bar was chanting 'shots' while she and Shannon attempted to finish the line of what looked like some sort of apple sours. Stomping my way towards them, I growled and the chanting stopped.

"You can tell they're both drunk and definitely need to go home and you're encouraging them!" I snapped, my glare swinging around the wolves.

At least a few had the decency to look guilty before leaving us to it. Raeghan was swaying where she stood her skin flushed red with alcohol. I shook my head and wrapped her arm around my shoulder. "We should get you home."

"No!" she whined, trying and failing to pull away from me.

I tried to not to laugh, sharing a look with Kailum who was equally amused by her. Shannon was a lot more compliant, happily sinking into Kailum's side as she mumbled something unintelligible. Taking more of Raeghan's weight, she began to protest again.

"You've had enough and your parents will kill me if I don't get you back safely," I argued, carefully guiding her out the pub.

Slowly we made our way up the hill and towards the Alphas house. The cold air sobered me up and seemed to clear Raeghan's head as well. She groaned when the lights from the window flickered into view and I chuckled. Looking back I saw that Kailum was now carrying a softly snoring Shannon.

"She knows she's in for it," I stage whispered to him.

He grinned back. "After making me dance, they both deserve it."

We laughed but it was cut off when the front door swung open and an angry Alpha Female stood with her hands on her hips. Raeghan's head lowered, her shoulders hunching submissively and I attempted to keep my features from giving away my amusement.

"Alpha Female," I greeted cheerily, urging Raeghan ahead of me.

Cathwulf eyed her daughter and the female asleep in Kailum's arms before moving out the way so they could get inside. "Thank you for getting them back safely, Fenna."

"Of course. What else is a big cousin for?" I joked.

She smiled, shaking her head and inviting me in as well. I shuddered as the warmth of the house hit cold skin, watching Raeghan drag her half awake friend upstairs while Kailum went to get them more water.

"Did you have fun?" she asked, smiling softly.

I nodded. "It was a good way to say goodbye to everyone."

Sadness swept over her features, golden eyes looking distant. I tried not to get upset too. Cathwulf was more than just an Alpha Female to me. She'd helped train me with Weylin, we'd spent hours together, she'd been on my side when I first voiced my want to leave.

"Don't cry, or ill start crying and that's not how I want things," she teased, going on tip toe to brush her cheek against mine. "When do you leave?"

"In a few days. I won't be packing more than can fit in a backpack. I want to do some travelling in my fur too but I can't carry anything that way," I explained, excitement growing again.

For some of my travels, I'd truly be like my ancestors; travelling as a wolf without money, or a phone, while hunting my food. There would be no use in packing much clothes and I'd buy a cheap phone that I wouldn't miss when I had to leave it behind. Not that I'd told my mother nor my uncle this part of my plan. They'd say it was too dangerous, that with no way to get in touch with me or I them, I was taking unnecessary risks.

"I used to wish I could travel," Cathwulf whispered wistfully. "Make the most of it. I better go make sure my female isn't throwing up in her room."

I laughed. "I might see you before I leave."

She nodded, patting Kailum's arm as he passed. Make the most of it. Those words kept circling round and round my head until a familiar cry of a pup caught my attention.

"Ready to go home?" Kailum asked.

"There's something I need to do before I go. I'll see you tomorrow?" I said absentmindedly, already leaving him behind as I made my way to the Alpha's office.

I heard Kailum mumble a vague goodbye, hearing the confusion in his voice.

The door to the office was already open and my alpha was walking back and forth carrying a whimpering pup in his arms. I recognised the lavender scent of my cousin Maebh, and smiled at the way Roarke whispered softly to her in Gaelic.

"Your uncle and aunt needed rest," Roarke spoke, smiling over at me before motioning for me to come in. "I thought I'd settle this one down for them."

I shut the door gently behind me, a soft rumble leaving my chest to let the pup know I was here. Big blue eyes met mine and I grinned, stroking her cheek.

"I didn't want to go home before saying goodbye to her," I said.

Alpha Roarke nodded in understanding. I brushed my cheek against Maebh's, inhaling deeply and hoping she'd remember my scent too. Another wave of anxiety had me questioning my decision to leave. My Alpha noticed of course. He knew how to read his wolves, he could scent the change in our emotions with practiced ease.

"You can come back at any time you know, Fenna. If anything happens in the other packs, we will come for you. You need only call. You're still part of my pack. You're still under my protection. Nobody will think less of you if you decide you want to come home earlier than planned. This is your home," he comforted, reaching out to squeeze my shoulder.

That had a crushing feeling come over me. The same feeling that had been building and leaving me irritated and restless. His words hadn't brought the comfort he'd meant them to. How could I truly be free if I was still pack? How could I truly immerse myself in the world if my loyalties still lay here? I didn't want the safety net of the pack lingering in case something happened and I fell back there because it was easy to.

I think he could see it in my eyes, the conflict raging inside me. Pain flashed across his features and I knew he knew what I was about to ask of him.

"Fenna. . ."

"I want to break my ties to the pack," I interrupted quickly, making him sigh heavily.

Standing taller, I went against instinct and held the gaze of my alpha. His eyes flashed, his wolf meeting the challenge and I could see the shifting of his skin. I swallowed, keeping my head up. "Wanderers don't have packs. It'll be safer for me to travel through other territories if I have no affiliation with a pack."

A sad smile slid onto his face, pale green eyes shimmering as he nodded before turning away to lay Maebh in the small cot. I fisted trembling hands, biting my tongue to stop me from taking my back my words. When Alpha Roarke looked back at me without trying to talk me out of it, I wondered if he always knew it was going to come to this.

"I will ask you only once if you're sure you want to do this," he said slowly, urging me to think.

"I want to do this."

He nodded, holding out his arm and I gripped his forearm as he did mine. My wolf seemed to only grow more restless, power rushing through my veins. The thrum all wolves felt inside that linked them to the pack grew until it vibrated through my very being.

"I release you from the bonds of pack and my power over you as your alpha," he murmured.

Such simple words, but the moment he said them something snapped inside and the constant thrum disappeared as if it never was. I swayed, kept upright only because of Roarke's hold on my arm. Instincts told me to howl, adrenaline rushing hot through my veins. From this moment, no wolf held rank over me. Not really. I was my own Wulver.

"The pack will sense this about you. It might make them uneasy," he warned.

I nodded, trying to grasp at the emotions flooding my thoughts. Gently, Alpha Roarke released me, that sad smile back in place. "I know my mate said this already, but do make the most of this. Make sure you do everything you want to do before you even think about coming back. That's my final order for you."

Out of respect, I bowed my head. It was exhilarating knowing that if I truly wanted to, I didn't have to. Yet, I was aware he was stronger than I, and for the first time, it put my wolf on edge. Rough fingers tilted my chin up, pale greens boring into me.

"Pack or not pack, you'll always have a place here. You're family, always."

I frowned. Why was he talking like I had no intention of coming back? I shook that feeling away. I'd come back. This was just a holiday, time to explore, to be free. It was an experience very few Wulvers got, true liberty.

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