Hope Springs

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Chapter 34

Today was the day. Not to sound overly dramatic or anything, but today was the day of the final confrontation. Today was the day where everything would end and we would either come out victorious or we would lose. The mood of the whole pack was somber as we went over the plan once more.

The youngest members of the pack would be staying behind with Raven, because we still did not trust her to not betray us. I ate breakfast slowly, trying to calm my nerves. I had to have confidence that we would win. After a few more minutes of just relaxing and settling our nerves we all shifted and headed out. We made our way back toward Hope Springs, climbing carefully down from the mountain and once we were on the forest floor we broke out into a run.

According to Sydney and the others Jackson’s Rogues were start hunting in the forest today so we wanted to arrive as quickly as we could and hopefully take them by surprise. My fur brushed against Max’s as we ran towards where our territory had been.

As we got closer I could smell the scent of the Rogues. Their scent kind of smelled acidic and like burnt fur, it didn’t have the homey smell that pack wolves seemed to have and it was definitely a smell that warned you away and expressed danger.

Rogue wolves were always dangerous of course, especially when assembled in such large numbers because they were unpredictable and they had no inhibitions. They had nothing holding them back. That was a concerning thought, especially now when we were about to attack them.They had nothing to hold them back so they would attack us ferociously.

But we had everything to lose so I felt that we would be more vicious. In the distance I could see a few shapes of darker colors, streaking towards a deer and I sped up my pace. Max met my newfound speed before running ahead of me and, Sydney, Dawn and surprisingly Lyla followed after him. Max leapt at one of the wolves, taking him by surprise and promptly tore out his jugular. Blood poured out of the wolf’s throat and onto the ground, and Max turned to look at me. Blood stained his muzzle, and I took a few steps towards him, nuzzling his shoulder.

There was a yelp of pain, and I whirled around seeing Lyla on the ground with a Rogue standing over her. Without a thought, I ran towards them, sinking my teeth deeply into the Rogue’s shoulder. The metallic taste of blood hit my tongue but I didn’t flinch. I simply held onto the Rogue’s shoulder tighter before jerking my head and yanking him away from Lyla. As soon as he wasn’t standing over her, Lyla got to her feet and sprang, locking her jaws onto his neck and holding on for all she was worth.

Slowly the life bled out of his eyes and I released my jaws. Once Lyla let go of his neck he crumpled to the ground and we turned to face Max. He had been watching the entire encounter with concerned eyes, ready to step in if he needed to. Dawn and Sydney had both effortlessly killed their Rogues and the pack headed further into the territory.

We were treading more cautiously now, since we had already killed four Rogues and they must be aware that something was amiss. We didn’t want to be taken by surprise. I made sure that I stayed close to Max as we moved further through what had been our territory. We reached a clearing in the forest and froze.

There standing in front of us was a tall, muscular man with greying hair and gold eyes that glinted evilly in the light of the sun. Two large wolves flanked the man and behind them were assembled at least thirty wolves. Ten more came from the left side of the clearing and ten more came from the right side. The man crossed his arms over his bulky chest and stared at us before he shifted into a large, imposing dark grey wolf.

He snarled at us and Max answered with his own snarl, his hackles rising. Josh and Keith both took steps closer to me, so that they were flanking me and I assumed that they had been assigned to protect me. Max took a few steps forward, still snarling. Jackson didn’t reply instead he looked to his left and the ten wolves on the left flew forward followed by fifteen of the thirty wolves behind him and the wolf that had been flanking him on his left side. Max leapt forward, meeting one of the wolves head on and killed him quiet easily. Two wolves headed towards me and Keith and Josh darted forward, tearing out their throats before returning to my side.

I shot towards a wolf who had been attempting to sneak up on Anya and bowled him over. The Rogue climbed to his feet snarling at me and I echoed his snarl. He leapt at me and I ducked underneath him, sliding under his stomach and biting him on the side. On his golden fur, the blood appeared brown.

He growled at me, using one of his paws to swipe at me but I caught his paw in my jaws and yanked. There was the snapping of bone and he howled in pain. I let go of his paw and was about to go in for the kill when a brown wolf knocked into him, pinning to the ground and beginning to tear into him.

Soon the Rogue’s body was just a mangled mess of muscle, fur and blood. The brown wolf that had rescued me had familiar eyes and observed me for a moment before darting off to help a golden wolf. Rhea.

So the wolf that had rescued me must have been Finley. Josh and Keith hurried to my side and the three of us took down a few Rogues together. Josh and Keith did most of the killing but I contributed a fair deal. Max tore out the throat of another Rogue and stood still, panting heavily and glaring at Jackson.

Jackson looked absolutely livid and snarls were erupting from his body. He was obviously mad that we had taken out twenty-five wolves like it was no issue and that one of his had defected to our side. He jerked his head and the other twenty-six wolves that he had assembled shot towards us and after a few moments he followed. He outran most of the wolves and Max ran towards him.

The two of them clashed and the air was filled with their snarls as they rammed into each other and bit and clawed. I worried for Max but was quickly drawn into the battle as a Rogue leapt at me and knocked me over. I twisted under them, reaching up and clamping my teeth into their throat. I shook my head back and forth and felt a little disgust when the wolf’s throat tore open and blood poured onto me.

I shook it off. Now wasn’t the time for disgust, I had expected this. I had known that the fight was going to be bloody. I leapt at another wolf and was about to bite them when Josh shoved me out of the way and took the Rogue on himself.

I felt some frustration and tried to turn my attention to another Rogue but most of them were already dead or dying. I huffed and my eyes strayed towards the center of the clearing where Max and Jackson were still fighting. Jackson had blood coating his flank and blood was streaming down his face from a wound in his eye. He was also limping, but Max didn’t look any better.

I took a few steps forward, I needed to help Max but Keith and Josh both blocked me. Why? I needed to help him. I tried to shove my way past them but they refused to budge.

Let me through! I snarled trying to shove past them again but they refused to move.

No, Josh growled and Rhea came up beside me with Finley at her side.

Trinity if you go out there you’ll only distract Max, Rhea murmured and I turned my attention to her. Max will be fine. He will win, but you can’t risk distracting him or that will all change. Just relax.

But I’m worried.

I know you are, we all are but just have faith in him that he will win.

I fell silent and stopped struggling. I had to recognize that Rhea was right. If there was this commotion of me trying to get to him, he would get distracted and he could die. I needed to stay here and be supportive of him.

Max would win.

I turned my gaze back to Max and Jackson and saw with relief that Max had him pinned and was waiting for Jackson to submit to him but he wouldn’t. Jackson just continued struggling beneath Max and staring defiantly at him. It didn’t seem like there would be any other choice. Jackson had to die.

Max sunk his teeth into Jackson’s throat and after a few seconds of tightly holding on he jerked his head, ripping his throat out. Then he lifted his head and howled. The pack streaked towards him and I pushed myself to run as fast as I could to reach him. I stood by his side and joined in his howl.

Soon the rest of the pack had also joined us in celebrating our victory.

This was it.

We had won.
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