Child Of The Moon

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Chapter Twenty-One: Explode

I wasn't happy. Not in the slightest.

Marc was preparing to go off to battle today. After two weeks of strategy, our warriors deduced that the Hunters would be here today. Marc, Aria and the other warriors were getting ready for a fight. A fight in which many of them would not return.

We were standing outside, the women who weren't fighting, the elderly and the children were all wishing the warriors good luck. The warriors were all hugging their families, maybe for the last time.

My eyes were solely on Marc, taking in every line of his face. My Wolf whimpered. She didn't like him being in the front lines of battle anymore than I did. She had played it cool but now that the time was here, she was beside herself with worry for her Mate.

"I'll be okay," Marc said, taking my hand in his.

My hands were cold due to the weather and because of my worry for Marc. However, when he took my hand, all the coldness faded away and I was suddenly very warm.

These past two weeks, Marc and I had become closer. Ever since our kiss, our souls seemed to have been wound tighter. Now, my feelings for Marc were inescapable. He had mentioned something about Marking me. I'd heard a little of Marking during classes. Marking was something only Alphas and Lunas could do. It was where the two head Wolves souls literally blended into one, where their hearts beat as one. Alphas were extremely possessive. Marking was mostly for their benefit. To show other Males that their Mate was taken and if you tried to make moves on her, it was your head.

My Wolf wanted to be Marked. She wanted us to bear the Mark of our Fated One. I, on the other hand, wanted to wait. I knew that being Marked was inevitable, but I wanted to do it when the time was right. Hovering on the edge of a war didn't seem like the best time.

"You can't promise that," I protested, a knot forming in my throat. "You can't promise me you'll come back, Marc."

"I've told you before," he said, stepping close to me and resting his forehead against mine. "Even if I died, I would never leave you, little Mate. I would wait for you on the moon."

We stood there just like that for a moment, with nothing but the cool autumn air surrounding us.

"Alpha, we've got to go," one of the warriors said. "The Hunters will be here any moment."

Marc nodded once and took my face in his hands, placing his lips gently to mine. We stayed there for a moment, a moment far too brief for me.

"I'll be back soon, little Mate." His eyes held mine with a promise.

"I'll be here," I told him, managing a weak smile.

He pressed a quick kiss to my forehead and hurried off.

"He'll be fine," Jane said, coming up behind me and wrapping me up in her maternal embrace. "The Wolves from other Packs are meeting them on the battlefield. This isn't the same as what happened five hundred years ago. We aren't a small Pack of unprepared Wolves. There are thousands of us now. We will win this war, Tanaya."

I could see her Wolf was at the surface as she watched her Mate and her son head off to a death match, but she was trying to be strong for the sake of everyone here. I couldn't help but feel in awe of her. Jane had what it truly took to be a Luna.

We all watched them until they faded into the trees. I prayed this wouldn't be the last time I saw them.

†††††††††††††††††††

The women who weren't participating in the battle, the elderly and the children were all in the safest place--Rosary Academy's gym. Because our gym was used for battle practices, there were plenty of weapons here and everyone was trained in basic hand-to-hand combat, save for the pups. If something did go wrong, we wouldn't go down quietly.

I was sitting in the corner alone. My eyes swept over the members of the Pack. I could see the worry on their faces, worry for their loved one who had gone to fight a senseless war. It was pretty evident that a large number of them wouldn't return. I looked at many of the pregnant She-Wolves, knowing that one of them would give birth to a child who would grow up without their father.

This deeply saddened me.

Also, I was worried about Marc. My Wolf had been restless ever since we'd watched him disappear into the thicket of trees with the brave warriors of our Pack. She had been pacing relentlessly, only sure that he was alive because she could feel his adrenaline pumping as he battled the Hunters.

She wished we were at the front lines of battle with him. Sadly, though, she knew that was not where we belonged. He was out there on the battlefield and we had to stay here, just in case something went wrong and the Alpha died. It was rare, but in many cases when the Alpha died, the Luna had to take over the Pack.

I was worried about Lyssa, too. For these past couple of weeks, my Wolf had been feeling like Lyssa was in some kind of danger. And now, with her going into battle, I had a feeling I knew why. I prayed Lyssa wouldn't be hurt during the fight, but my Wolf was still sure something was going to happen to Lyssa. If it hadn't happened already.

My Wolf suddenly stopped her worrying, taking over my body and using my nose to sniff the air. Something wasn't right here. Awareness shot up my spine as I caught the scent of humans. There were at least fifteen of them along with ten Wolves.

Wolves working with Hunters? Had Aria been right about having a traitor in our midst?

Jane sidled up beside me, she must have sensed our unwelcome guests as well. She looked toward the door, her nostrils flared.

"You smell that, right?"

I nodded, my lips pressed together in a tight line.

"Hunters and Wolves. Do you think they're working together?"

"That's the only explanation," she responded, eyes narrowed. "But these Wolves aren't Wolves from our Pack. They're Wolves from the Brazilian Pack."

My eyes widened, then narrowed to slits. "Cortes."

She nodded even though we both knew I wasn't asking a question.

I looked over at the hundreds of innocent Wolves behind me.

"We have to get them out of here," I told Jane. "If the Hunters and those traitors get here, many of them are going to die."

Jane nodded in agreement and said, "There's a tunnel that runs underneath the school. It's hidden in case of emergencies much like this one. If we can get them all there, I know how to get us to a place where we'll all be safe."

"Then take them and go," I said. "I'll hold them off."

Her eyes widened and her head snapped over to me in shock. Her mouth opened and closed and she shook her head.

"We're not leaving you here, Tanaya."

"Yes, you are. The only way for you and those Wolves to get away is if you have a distraction. Besides, we both know they're here for me. Cortes won't want me harmed, they'll capture me, but won't kill me."

"You can't be sure of that," Jane protested. "I can't let you do this. Marc would never forgive me. I would never forgive myself."

I smiled at her and shook my head. "Marc will understand that this was what was best to protect the Pack. Besides, they're working with someone it's high time I met face to face."

She looked at me for a moment before she sighed and said, "There's no way in hell I'm talking you out of this, is there?"

I shook my head. "Nope."

She threw her arms around me, hugging me tightly.

"If this is the path you think you must take, then take it. Be careful, Tanaya. May the Moon Goddess be with you."

I smiled, hugging her back.

"Thanks, Jane. For everything. Tell Marc I'm sorry and I love him, okay."

She smiled sadly, nodding her head. She was leading the Wolves away when the door was kicked down and in stormed the Hunters and the traitorous Wolves. The twenty cowards stalked toward me, trying very hard to be intimidating.

I wasn't very intimidated, though.

"So you're the Moon Blessed Luna of the Moon Howlers Pack," a male Wolf spoke, his lips curled up in a rather sadistic grin. "I must say, you are every bit as beautiful as the stories say."

"We're not here to flirt with her, dog," a Hunter spoke, looking at the male Wolf in disgust. "We're bringing her in." The Hunter turned her attention to me, then. "Any chance you want to go quietly?"

They all looked like they were prepared for a fight, a struggle. More than that, they looked like they wanted me to fight. They were all interested to see what a Moon Blessed Wolf could do.

I wasn't going to give them the satisfaction. My Wolf agreed with me.

"No, I'm not going to fight you. Although I could wipe you all out with a wave of my hand if I wanted to. I want you to take me to Dolos."

Everyone's eyes became guarded and they all looked at each other. Clearly, Dolos hadn't told them I knew about his existence.

"Yes, I know Dolos is the one behind this." I tapped my forehead lightly. "Moon Blessed, remember? The Moon Goddess warns me of danger. Dolos was a danger."

From across the way, I recognized the three Hunters who I had knocked out with my abilities. The silent male Hunter was looking at me with a mild curiosity. My Wolf was telling me to keep an eye out for this Hunter. He could be useful later.

"All I want," I continued, eyes scanning the room and sizing up the people in front of me. "Is to meet Dolos. So, you tell Alpha Cortes to bring him to me."

A male Wolf walked forward until he was standing right in front of me, he was holding a blindfold and was looking like he was waiting for me to explode.

"We'll talk to...our Alpha about it," he said.

"Your Alpha doesn't control us," a female hunter with long black hair and a sour expression hissed, practically snarling at the Wolves around her. "We'll do as we see fit."

The male Wolf let out a loud "ha!" before chortling loudly and putting the blindfold over my eyes.

"Yeah, right. We'll see about that."

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