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Alpha Darren’s POV
Of all the times to lie to my mate and I chose this time to be one of them…
I headed to the High Stone pack, pretending I was investigating some concerns by the Counsel because of some recent transactions of theirs.
And wolf or not, nobody wanted the IRS on their ass…
It was bullshit. I was there because I suspected something seriously illegal was going down here and that it affected and had hurt my baby sister – Lesley. So I came here. Investigating. Ready to take anything and everything I found and hand it over to her mate since the Counsel wouldn’t help him for now. And this pack needed to be taken down. Quick and fast!
Alpha Cedrick was the best in the field at that…
The second I entered pack land, I could sense something was off. It all looked and seemed normal, while at the same time, it wasn’t. The houses needed repairs and the air smelled like mold and uncirculated air. I met Alpha Harry (Lesley’s Uncle) and his two kids; His mate was a cripple and tied to a bed so I didn’t get to see her. But they all seemed charming and welcoming and---
And things just went to shit from there…
I grunted, trying to get into a more comfortable position. Or as comfortable as you can get when you’re hanging from a ceiling. I placed my legs back under me, wincing when my broken leg touched the concrete floor.
Bloody silver in my system!
With my wolf suppressed – and not happy at the moment – my healing abilities were slim to none, making it heal almost as slow as that of a human. With my weight only on one foot, I managed to raise my body, to make breathing more bearable. But the hoarse and grunted sounds leaving my lips assured me, that… yeah! There was water in my lungs.
And just to make it a party, having your hands raised above your head for four days straight--- doesn’t really leave you with hands anymore. They were more like lumps of flesh that I desperately tried to keep attached to my body by clenching and unclenching them, forcing some blood into them the hours I was conscious.
Just fucking great!
I glanced around again. There was a new guard this time, but instead of torturing me, this one was sleeping in the cell right across from mine.
I could almost sigh in relief.
I’d noticed that there were two sets of guards. The big, mean ones who came in and tortured me for hours on end, asking why I was there and who sent me (I lied!). And then there were these guys…! I couldn’t really describe them as anything but tired! The guard was sleeping most of the time and from the looks of things, it was the only time they got to sleep. Their skin was sagging from their bones, their eyes were hollow and their feet were dragged across the cement on the floor.
I’d make a zombie joke but--- I didn’t have the brains for it!
The metal door rattled and my attention – or the one good eye I had left – glanced over at the newcomer. My insides twisted, curling, and coiled, reminding me, that I was in no shape for another round of stabs and punches. But to my relief the man walking in was in just as bad shape as my supposed guard, reassuring me that he was one of the ‘other’ wolves. The others that didn’t come in here and beat me to a pulp.
That’s another strange thing with this pack – to add to the already tall crape-pile of shit that was wrong with the High Stone pack. It seemed that one part of the pack warriors was mean, lean, and well-groomed bullies without very strong wolves. While the warriors with actual strong wolves looked mistreated and downright beaten and broken.
Just like the short, dark-haired wolf who just walked in!
The male walked into the other cell, waking the guard. But instead of a scolding, he just gently nudged the wolf from sleep, telling him to go home. Whit a regretful look and shame in his eyes, the old guard got up and left; avoiding eye contact with me at all costs.
The newcomer, however, walked around the table and picked up the keys. He then picked up the bottle of water he’d been holding and came over to my cell. Even with my wolf suppressed, I could still sense his. A beta and an extremely powerful one at that. But like the other wolf, I could sense he was drained and tired. Like he’d given up the fight and just existed for the sake of not being dead yet…
To my surprise he held out the bottle to me, urging me to drink. I tried not to be too eager but sensing that the wolf in front of me didn’t wish me any harm, I let myself take a gulp or two.
Never had water tasted so good!
He let me swallow before giving me another sip, letting me satisfy my thirst for the first time in days.
“Thanks,” I whispered hoarsely, receiving only a nod in response. He left the cell, closing the door again, before sitting across from me – like the other guard before him. And just like him, he kicked his legs up, and let his head hang into his chest, looking ready to sleep.
“You look tired,” I tried, hoping to get more out of him, than the other wolf. To find out what the hell was going on here and find a way to fucking escape. Because if I wasn’t home when my Izzy gave birth--- I was a dead wolf…
Yep! Those are my priorities!
“I am,” was his muttered reply. He didn’t look up, but I could see by the way he was breathing, that he wasn’t falling asleep right away. His voice was young, but his body and expressions were old. Like someone had aged him from within…
“What’s your name?” I tried asking again. Because at this point, my best option of getting out was by making an unlikely friend. He made an almost annoying sound before he looked up at me again. Studding me, as if assessing if I was worth his sleep or not.
“Sean Harris, Beta,” he said, after a short examination, and sighed. “For whatever its worth,” he looked away humbly. “I’m sorry about this.”
“Then open the goddess damned door!” I couldn’t help but growl. I didn’t need pity or sorry! I needed to get out, get a message to Alpha Cedrick (let him take care of this mess) and then get home before Izzy ripped my balls out…
“I can’t,” he shrugged, still not meeting my gaze. “Alpha Command.”
“Alpha command?” I repeated and was honestly confused. First: alpha commands were such a violation of free will and self-preservation that alphas’ only ever used it in case of extreme emergency or punishment. And second…
Their alpha was weak!
So weak in fact I could snap his neck with my pinky if I liked. And I would have if that bastard hadn’t drugged me and injecting me with silver!
“Your alpha is weak,” I felt like I had to point out the obvious. “If…”
“So are we,” he sighed, his hollow eyes glancing over at the cold concrete wall. “He makes sure of it.”
I could barely feel my wolf, but at that moment, even I felt the revulsion and hatred he felt for Alpha Harry. An alpha’s life wasn’t his own. It belonged to the pack. He lived for the pack and he protected the pack. His greatest strength was the loyalty of his pack.
Yet this alpha…
“Fuck,” I groaned in a low annoyed tone. But the scoff of approval from the other side of the room let me know it wasn’t as low as I thought. And it confirmed my suspicion: their alpha did abuse his power and the pack was suffering for it…
He didn’t say anything else and I was let alone to my thoughts. And that’s when I realized, that the pain in my leg was easing off. Surprised, I also now realized, that the pain in the rest of my body wasn’t as bad as before. So, not only did the beta not want to hurt me, he was trying to help me by putting some pain medicine into the water. Which led me to one conclusion: he couldn’t go against their alpha’s command, but apparently he was used to working around it.
And now I had something to work with…
“Is there anyone,” I asked, getting the beta’s attention again. “Anyone at all, that can get a message to the Silver Moon pack?”
He shook his head.
“No one has had permission to leave the pack’s ground for weeks now,” he sighed, sounding almost annoyed. But mostly tired as shit. “Not even the kids are allowed to go to school…”
And then he suddenly lighted up. Just a fraction of a second there was some sort of realization on his expression and then--- Then it was gone again!
“What?” I quickly urged him, knowing that this might be the one shot I’d been looking for. “You just thought of something, what?”
He sighed, and I could see the restraint and doubt in his body language. But after a short consideration, he got back up and walked back into my cell. His eyes traveled up and down the hall as if he was afraid of being overheard before he again stepped close to my cell.
“There are two females who can slip between the borders,” he said in a low tone, barely audible even to my wolf’s ear.
“Who?” I murmured back, hoping it was as low as his tone – but with an eardrum pashed in, I highly doubt it…
“One is our secondary healer, Tanja,” he continued. “But I don’t trust her.” He shrugged “Call it a gut feeling, but I don’t like her. She and Alpha Harry are way too close. Even had some big plans to take over Silver Moon, but--- I don’t know the details.”
Take over Silver Moon?! Good luck with that!
“And the other?” I asked instead, leaving that bit for Alpha Cedrick to figure out. The Slayer could defend his own territory. I was here to get justice for my little sister…
“Amanda Franks,” he said her name with a smirk in his voice that almost sounded like admiration. “Her wolf is strong. She’s the only daughter of our previous Head Warrior, Aiden. And she was Lesley Williams’s best friend, the old alpha’s daughter.”
Lesley! My wolf couldn’t help but wag his tail at the mention of her name. Especially when the beta spoke it with such care and respect, it made our hearts swell. He clearly cared about his old alpha’s daughter…
“Amanda’s gone most of the day but comes back in the evening with supplies,” he continued, staying on track. “Medicine and food mostly.” He grinned; a bit of pity and respect at the same time. “I’ve told her it‘s a waste of time, but she says it’s what Lesley would want her to do. To take care of the pack.”
Something I’m guessing isn’t new or foreign around here…
“You’re denied food?” I asked anyway and the beat nodded.
“The ones who aren’t loyal to him are denied any kind of good treatment,” he said, shrugging as if he doesn’t care that much. He didn’t care, that he was a beta, not loyal to his alpha, so he didn’t mind the mistreatment. It made sure that everyone knew where his loyalty was…
“And you just put up with it?” I frowned. Surely if there were more than one of the wolves who felt like this, they should be enough to at least take Alpha Harry down…
“We can’t retaliate,” he shook his head sadly. “He is weak, but an alpha nevertheless and he has followers – loyal followers.” He sighed and a shiver of disgust coiled through his body, as his eyes averted mine again. “And he’s broken our wolves in more ways than one.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” I asked--- but already had a bad gut feeling what that might be.
“He used Alpha Jones’s daughter against us,” he replied, still avoiding eye contact. “Our old alpha.”
“Lesley?” I asked with a shiver, knowing it probably wasn’t anything good. “How?”
He sighed again, and this time the disgust was rolling off him in thick waves.
“He would order us to rape her,” he said, his voice cold and full of self-loathing.
“What?!” I asked again. Confused and surely, it must be some mistake or my bad ear was more screwed than I thought. Because--- what?! Rape? He’d order them to--- what?! No! No, man was that cruel. Nobody with a soul, would ever…
But as my mind went racing and blank at the same time, the beta clearly hated having to relive the memories.
“He used the command on me,” he said in a tired, spiteful voice. “I tried to fight it and partly succeeded, when…” His teeth gritted and his nails dug into his skin. Anger and resentment rolled off him in thick waves. He knew he was a victim in all of this, but didn’t see himself as such. He took the blame – just like many others after him. “He threatened to exile, my mother. To force her to go rogue and my father along with her. He’d already turned my younger brother into an omega before he banished him and he went rogue. He’s probably dead now.” There was no doubt in my mind, that if Sean hadn’t been threatened, he’d broken the command and killed the alpha. He was definitely strong enough. But the second the threat to his family entered his head, the fear and doubt in his mind was enough for the control to slip and for the command to take over. He didn’t have a choice…
“I knew he’d do it,” he continued, staring at the floor beneath him as he confessed to his crimes. “He doesn’t care about anyone but himself. He’s a sick son of a bitch.” He spat the last few words out, before taking a deep breath, composing himself, and continued: “My wolf – like so many others after that – was broken. We couldn’t go against him – not after what he made us do to her; terrified he’d make us do it again.” Finally, he looked up, the tired and broken look back in his eyes. “I’m just glad she’s safe and away from all of this now.”
And now, they were too weak and too broken to retaliate at all. I nodded, understanding. As much as I wanted to kill the bastard, I also felt sorry for him…
But I was also enraged, at the torture they’d put my sister through. A young, sweet innocent girl, and he’d---! His brother’s flesh and blood! The rightful alpha--- No, just to do that to another being, it was… Grose! Grotesque! It was the worse of the worse that humanity had to offer, and Lesley had been thrown into it at such a young and fragile age it---it was so unfair! The people that were supposed to keep her safe and protect her had---
No wonder she had trust issues!
Even when I’d felt her wolf bond with mine, I’d still felt a reserve in her. I knew she held back and didn’t trust me completely. Not even Izzy, who could win over the devil himself if she wanted to. Lesley was just too guarded, too careful, and protective of herself.
No fucking wonder, if---!
I took a deep breath. This had to stop.
All of it!
“This--- Amanda Franks,” I said, now more determined than ever to put an end to this. “Is there a chance that I may talk to her?”
He glanced up at me, knowing what I was asking. He considered it for a while. Then nodded and kicked himself off the wall. He walked over to the door, pulling it open, before glancing back at me.
“Alpha Darren,” he said in a low whisper. “I pray that this works.”
I nodded back at him.
You and me both…