THERON

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TWO.

I frown at the sky as one single snowflake caresses my nose. Clouds have moved in, blocking the rising full moon and dulling the colorful sunset into an ugly grayish-blue. The promising whisper of more fluffy white shit is carried by the wind that lightly blows through my high ponytail.

Of course, it would snow now.

A nagging feeling of impending doom threatens to consume my very being and I have no choice but to ignore it. I cannot waste time pondering if the incoming weather is a bad sign for our little rescue mission. Human instinct tells me to leave—abandon my fruitless endeavor and go home... but my love for Theron is stronger.

“Fuck Lina,” DeLoren swears, “this is like military-grade shit... where did you get this?”

I glance at the night vision goggles he’s diligently inspecting before returning my eyes to the binoculars that followed Rhys as he enters the guard tower. “I stole them,” I mumble, honestly.

It’s quite amazing the amount of military-issued weapons I had acquired over the years. If one thought for just half a second that the government did not also profit off the drug cartels, they are fooling themselves. It’s almost laughable how the U.S. government spouted on and on about the war on drugs, yet behind closed doors funded the continuation of such a revolting business. The corruption runs deep.

So it’s not surprising to me one bit that their tentacles stretched into Superlunar.

Rhys’s voice suddenly cracks through my earpiece, “Target acquired.”

In the distance, I watch as he disappears inside the security tower, package in tow, “Roger that, Gamma,” I murmur. He’s now on his own. Should he find trouble within, I will be powerless to help him and he knows that.

“Delta, what’s your status?” I ask in an attempt to quell my growing apprehension. Every piece of this puzzle has to come together perfectly if we’re all going to survive this mission.

Timing is everything.

My earpiece comes to life once more. “Seven seconds,” Anthony replies, computer keys tapping away in the background. He and Kai sit tucked safely away, half a mile from us, within the confines of a work van we had hijacked about two years ago. Anthony had sat up a command station inside, rigging a satellite to the roof. While I had thought it was a waste of resources, I now begrudgingly admit that it will be the biggest weapon in our arsenal today.

“Yo man, what’s up,” Rhys nods to the guard, overly disinterested as if it’s just another routine and boring Monday morning at a job he loathes to clock in at. I watch my friend anxiously through the windows that cover all four sides of the structure. The obese guard stands alert, knowing very well this is an abnormal occurrence, “Who the fuck are you?”

Rhys doesn’t reply as he quickly stomps up to the unfortunate man—the element of surprise giving him the greatest advantage. Grabbing his head and quickly ramming a knife into the side of his neck, the guard drops to the floor almost immediately. “Target down, Alpha,” Rhys’s voice chimes in my ear.

I do not relish killing innocent people. Every mission we attempt is formulated specifically not to harm unwitting bystanders and we have always been successful.

This one, however, is different...

I am on a warpath.

Anyone can blame Theron for my downward spiral—being around the evilest of creatures could have corrupted me, blah, blah, blah... but the truth of the matter is much worse: I chose this path.

Because of Superlunar, I am homeless, mother and fatherless, and now mateless. Pain and sadness have suddenly turned into vengefulness and rage.

And these fuckers have yet to feel my rage...

Today, they will learn.

The siege of the tower will give us control over the camera monitors as well as the surrounding area. Alex had informed us that Superlunar’s fatal flaw is hubris: They’ll never anticipate someone trying to enter their facility unannounced as their only concern since Theron’s previous escape has been keeping beings in, not out.

It’s a lucky break.

I give a single nod, mostly to myself as Rhys can’t possibly see my confirmation from that far of a distance. Anthony and Kai will handle it from here. “Ready for penetration, Delta,” I softly speak into the earpiece.

I hear Kai snicker in response, “That’s what she said.”

I roll my eyes, knowing damn well we had gone over this particular word numerous times with an overly amused Kai. Penetration testing is the common term for attempting to circumvent the security system. Once Anthony and Kai break through the firewall and upload the virus into the mainframe, the door locks will be offline and forced entry will no longer be required... but telling Kai to grow the hell up is another headache altogether.

“Two minutes, Alpha,” Anthony hisses through grinding teeth. On a professional level this couple got along swimmingly—bonding over technology and a healthy dose of competition of who out of the two is the best hacker this side of the Appalachians. Personally, however, they are too different to ever be compatible. Kai’s laid-back, carefree attitude clashes explosively with Anthony’s obsessive neuroticism. Thank Goddess they won’t be forced to tolerate one another’s company much longer.

Taking a deep breath to center myself, I check on Marius, “Ancient One, how are we looking?”

His job is to painstakingly cut through the fencing that borders the perimeter. In a perfect world, this would have been one of the easiest parts of our plan but, of course, Superlunar’s fencing is custom created—no expense spared. Made of pure silver and electrified from top to bottom, the barbed wire above is almost laughable. Most likely they think it nothing more than a snazzy decoration, knowing damn well no werewolf will make it past the electric silver to scale high enough for that barbed wire.

“Ancient Two disabled the power, but silver is tricky. I need another three minutes,” he replies.

I rolled my head back and sigh at the sky in anxious frustration. If the hackers get through in two minutes then three is a minute longer than we can afford. While I am a bit wary of ordering around an Ancient, I don’t have much of a choice. Marius will need to be quicker, “Two minutes. Make it happen Ancient One.”

I glance at DeLoren who is smirking arrogantly at Keeley.

“Ancient Two,” he points to himself, “that’s me.” Keeley, as usual, appears unimpressed, not giving DeLoren a second of her time. “If you’re not first, you’re last,” she quotes her favorite movie with a roll of her eyes. DeLoren huffs, his common response to Keeley’s constant rejection. While I had gotten used to the awkwardness of the whole idea of these two together, it’s still disturbing to me on some deep, soul level to the point of annoying... especially in the direness of this moment particularly.

In exasperation, I pinch the bridge of my nose, “Okay, okay, enough foreplay. Get to the generators. As soon as Marius is through the fence, you’re up.”

“Yes Master,” Keeley salutes, her sarcastic tone not lost on me. She spins on her heels and sashays off, allowing DeLoren’s eyes to follow her swaying hips. Regardless of how she treats him, I know she loves the attention he dotes on her.

DeLoren licks his lips and groans before returning his attention to me with a mischievous wink. “That’s what she said,” he mocks wickedly, causing Kai’s bellowing laughter to pierce my sensitive eardrum. I wince, willing myself not to rip the mic clean out of my ear.

Fucking Ancients.

Maturity does not come with age, apparently.

“Lina,” DeLoren grasps my shoulder, all joking now aside, “Just because we aren’t all doom and gloom doesn’t mean we don’t agree on the importance of what’s happening here. Theron is our brother after all, and we love him just as much as you. Trust in us to be serious when the time warrants it, yeah?” His hazel eyes bore into mine, allowing me to truly feel the weight of his words.

Though I know the Ancients also want their brother back, it isn’t until this very second that I accept we are on the same side. DeLoren proved to be a comforting anchor in turbulent waters, something no one, myself included, would ever expect from him. As mordant as he is and as douchey as he can sometimes be, it’s moments like this that bond us.

It’s moments like this that make me appreciate him more.

Suddenly, and without warning, my rageful walls fall... anger giving way to sorrow. My vision clouds with unshed tears and my voice cracks with unspoken possibilities, “But what if—”

DeLoren shakes his head fervently, “No. We don’t do what if’s.” Placing his free hand on my other shoulder, he jiggles me gently, “We will get him back, Lina.” My eyes search his, finding nothing but truth... cold, hard truth. Any of these Originals would lay their life on the line for the others—proven by Theron in his attempt to protect them (and me) by giving Superlunar what they demanded—and that was the one thing I needed to know. We are all on the same page... we all want the same thing.

And we will all take the same risks to get it.

“Now turn that sadness into anger and use it,” he demands. With a deep breath and a newfound resolve, I can only nod.

I will use it.

Unfortunately, things don’t always work out as we hope...

Out of the blue, an intense explosive pain hits my heart, instantly bringing me to my knees. I wail in agony and clutch my chest as my heart feels as if it’s being yanked straight out of me.

DeLoren squats beside me, his hand on my back. His moving mouth appears to be calling my name, worry painted clear as day upon his face but an explanation to ease his discomfort is not my top priority.

Panic grips my insides as I know this pain is not mine alone...

Instinct screams at me to get to Theron...

Something is happening to Theron and courtesy of the matebond, I feel it too.

Fuck the plan.

Timing be damned.

Between gasping for air and the tug of war my soul plays with an unseen force for my heart I muster up the strength to yell, “BLOW THE GENERATORS!”

DeLoren looks at me wide-eyed and confused, “We can’t yet. It isn’t time—”

“DO IT NOW!”

An eruption of fire and smoke comes immediately, the ground quaking beneath me, signaling the end of those fucking generators.

If Superlunar didn’t know we were here before, they sure as hell know now.

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