1. The Evergreen Pack
1. The Evergreen Pack
“Finn, don’t move,” I whisper quietly and he gives me a small nod while we watch on from a small crevice between three massive boulders. We were hardly hidden as we watched the rival wolf pack search the remains of the dead. Our only real cover was night.
I was glad it was so dark - it meant I didn’t have to see my brother’s tears so clearly. If he started to break I was going to be next.
For now, I stay stoic, numb and unmoving as I watch the Evergreen Pack sniff around the dismembered body parts of my pack.
Evil witches had done this in some stupid revenge plot - it was quick power for them and death for three innocent wolves... the only other members of my pack. Including my brother, the five of us used to be a group of cocky, impulsive young adults who had never found a pack - so we bonded together, our commonality was our love for isolation, adventures and distance from humans.
We lived in the forest peacefully in a secret part of the Evergreen Forest which we had claimed as our territory. Until witches decided we were residing in a place of centred magic. Which meant there was an uncanny connection to the Otherworld where we had settled.
We were told to leave. Warned once. We scoffed.
Now three of my pack were slaughtered and for what?
I now knew, there was something in this forest that the witches were hiding from us. Finn and I had gone scouting for some forest food inside the Evergreen Pack territory - trespassing - because we knew where some nice berry buses there. Werewolves didn’t always crave meat.
When we returned with the berries, we had no idea we had been tracked until we caught on at the last minute. We smelt them as the wind changed and Finn and I hid in the nearest spot we could find above our dead pack. We watched as a small group of Christian’s pack entered the area - including the Alpha himself. That infuriating werewolf. I probably hated him more than humans. He was incredibly irritating. I couldn’t give you a good reason why, I didn’t even know him, I just knew I hated his... attitude.
He might be the Alpha, the boss, but I guess his dominant genes jarred with my own. I loved to lead and I hated to watch other wolves take control when I had a desire to hold the reigns.
“Those conceited little brats got what was coming to them...” I hear one of the werewolves snarl at the half torn body of my now dead best friend - Paige. When he goes to put his foot on the carcass, Christian growls and stops him before the foot makes contact.
“Get a grip - pay some respect. These are our kind,” Christian snarls at the idiot pack member of his, grabbing his shoulder, he shoves him away from Paige, “Search the perimeter - the other two are bound to be here somewhere.”
Finn and I stop breathing as the five werewolves with Christian start scouting about, going for the trees; ignoring the boulders overlooking the blood stained Earth.
Christian is the one to slowly approach the boulders, his eyes narrowed and keen for a find.
“I’m going to find you, shewolf,” he mutters quietly under his breath, his nose sniffs the air and he begins at the end of the line of boulders, slowly making his way towards us.
I grab Finn’s arm and dig my nails in, twice. A sign to attack when the rival Alpha was in range.
We were going to attack because our lives were already at risk. Technically all of Evergreen Forest was Christian’s ground and we had not just been infiltrating on unknown Witch territory - but on his as well. The punishment for trespassing was often harsh.
You’d be lucky to leave alive - especially when the territorial pack mentality took over and they wanted to do nothing but rip you to shreds for posing as a threat to a pack’s home.
If we managed to get past Christian we may just be able to outrun the others.
Finn and I were fast.
Step by step, Christian comes into range. I start to make out his shoulder length chestnut hair, thick, wild and untamed - more like un-brushed. Clearly he wasn’t claimed, he looked completely ungroomed and rough. I scowl just witnessing it.
One more step.
Finn and I move together, swiftly and with the advantage of height as we jump out of our hiding place and land right on top of the rival Alpha. My legs close in around Christian’s neck, Finn helps tackle into his side. I use my momentum from my fall to pull him down with me while his neck was in my hold.
With a massive thump, Christian hits the ground and so do I. I knew my side would bruise up later but I couldn’t feel anything now from the rush of adrenaline.
Finn gets up first, making a run for it. I scramble to my feet and I’m about to follow - when a hand snakes out and grabs my ankle.
“Finn!” I call out to him and he comes running back, but before he can even reach me, Christian has hauled himself up and first grabs one of my wrists as I aim to punch him - and then he grips my other arm as I try to hit him again.
“Not today, little vixen...” Christian growls, turning me around so fast I’m almost mesmerised how quickly he is able to have my wrists behind my back - completely incapacitating me, “...not ever.”
“Shit,” Finn looks over his shoulders to find we are surrounded - the other wolves bounding back in wolf form and trapping us in-between them, the boulders and the Alpha.
“Leave us,” I snarl at the wolves and then finally over my shoulder up at Christian, “Let us mourn our dead.”
“We are sorry for your loss but you only have two choices,” Christian growls at me, shoving me forward into Finn. The other wolves start growling and snapping - ready to rip in any moment.
“Which are?” Finn asks, his voice shaky and nervous while I just grit my teeth - glaring at Christian.
“Did I say two choices?” Christian’s eyes lock with mine, a slow smile slowly spreading across his perfectly chiselled face, “I meant one. I’m not going to make this easy for both of you - in fact what happened here this night to your little pack is more reason for you not to resist.”
“Resist what?” I grind out, trying to fight the urge to pounce and challenge him to another fight.
“Both of you are joining my pack,” Christian states, “You are both coming back with us - willing or not - it doesn’t matter.”
“Why do you care about recruiting us into your pack, we are your rivals!” I snarl.
“You are hardly rivals, you are both rogue werewolves now. I have a responsibility to keep you both safe - and besides all that - it’s my choice. I’m the Alpha now, you listen to me or I’ll make you,” Christian crosses his arms over his chest with a confidently raised brow, “Turn around and start walking, the Evergreen Pack is going to take care of you whether you like it or not. You’re too young to survive on your own.”
“Ruby,” Finn mutters, and I snap my head towards him.
“What?” I hiss.
“I think we should consider the benefits... we have no where else to go, sis,” Finn shrugs, and I slowly relax my stance - realising something as my anger slowly subsides. Logic sets in.
At least if we joined the Evergreen Pack - we’d have a better chance at finding the witches who killed our own.
And we would kill them in return.
“Okay,” I give in and nod to Finn and then turn to Christian.
“I said turn around and start walking darling, I know you used to be the Alpha of your own pack but you’re going to have to let that go,” I curl my fingers into my palms and turn slowly with Finn - not bothering to answer Christian back - lest I start a fight.
My anger quickly rises again, my genes screaming at me to turn around and challenge him for leadership. But I suppress my instincts and try to focus on Finn, Paige, Lucas and Jerry.
I would join Christian’s pack.
But only to help me avenge my own.