Beloved Runt: Part I

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15- Dalton West

I am still trying to make sense of everything that has happened after Artemis finally shifted. I could feel her wolf’s power rolling off her forcing my wolf to submit to her. First, she walked over to Lord Edmon. She must have blasted him with her power because the next thing I see he is on the ground grasping his chest. When he recovered something had changed in him. What it was I couldn’t know.

Then Artemis’ wolf turned and walked towards me. I felt a knife stabbing through my chest followed by a pull. I thought I was being ripped apart from the inside. Just when I thought I would lose myself the pull turned into a hum and a voice in my head called me Gamma.

Before I could respond the wolf went back into the packhouse down to the basement where Artemis’ room was. I tried to follow her in, but the beast growled and snapped at me when I tried to enter. So, there I was at the base of the stairs just staring at the beast curled up in the pile of blankets staring right back at me. She was agitated but calm.

I knew she must be getting hungry and thought one of the other warriors could bring her something.

Teddy? I called. Normally Teddy being Gamma of our pack responds right away, but I felt no return response. Odd.

Russell? Nothing.

Anyone hear me? The silence I felt through the link was crushing. That’s when the panic settled in. Somehow, I had lost the pack bond. I started to run up the stairs to find anyone but once I reached the top I ran in to Lord Edmon.

“We need to talk,” he said. I didn’t want his help. He had done enough. Instead I brushed past him to search for someone else. Anyone else. I only got a few steps away, before he called out to me in my head.

Can’t feel the pack bond, can you? I whipped my head back around to look at him. How did he know? Lord Edmon looked at me almost like he had pity for me.

“Come on,” he called. “We have a lot to talk about.” He walked from the stairwell down the hallway to the kitchen. I followed him inside taking a seat next to him at the breakfast eyeing him carefully. If he was pulling my leg to keep me from Artemis, I was going to strangle him. He gave me a sad smile before speaking.

“How are your ribs?” he asked. My ribs were the least of my worries right now and he damn well knew that. Seeing my displeasure, he took a deep breath before saying, “What do you want to know?”

“What happened to my pack bond? How did you know it was missing?” Lord Edmon began tapping his finger in thought.

“I knew it was missing because mine is missing too. I can’t feel my old pack.” He lost his pack bond too?

“But why did we lose it?” A pack bond was strong. There wasn’t much that could break it.

“We lost our pack bond because another one was put in it’s place. A wolf can only belong to one pack.”

“We’re in a new pack?” Edmon nodded his head. “Does that mean you’re my new alpha?” I didn’t like the idea of being forced to listen to him. This guy already rubbed me the wrong way. Edmon chuckled at my question. “What’s so funny?”

“Relax. I’m the Beta not the Alpha.”

“Wait, then who is the Alpha?” who was there that was more powerful that Lord Edmon?

“ Artemis is… or at least her wolf is. She is the one who made the new pack and she selected you and I as its first two members.”

“No one else wanted to join?” I was a little disappointed no one would support Artemis would had practically raised some of the warriors.

“It wasn’t a matter of want. Artemis’ wolf called upon those who she thought was worthy to join. Which right now consists of just you and me. I sure more will follow down the road but for right now we are it.” This was so weird I couldn’t wrap my head around it.

“I don’t get it. Artemis is so timid and shy. How could her wolf be so dominant?” Lord Edmon smiled at my question.

“Most people think that the wolf and the man are two sides of the same coin. That they are a reflection of each other. But in truth we are really to parts of a whole. One part completes the other. Artemis is shy because her wolf is dominant. Her wolf can be called on to protect her and she can balance out the aggressive side of her wolf…well once she learns to control it. Whenever that may be. How was she down there?” I thought about Artemis laying in her pile of blanket and grew worried. What if she could never gain control back from her wolf?

“I tried to go down there after her, but she wouldn’t even let me past the doorway.” Lord Edmon snickered again amused.

“Yeah I wouldn’t try that again. She won’t let anyone in her den now that she’s claimed it.”

“How would you know that?” I asked confused on how he could know her that much.

“My sister is a white wolf. I loved her to death but one of the few times we actually fought was when I tried to sneak into her den without her knowing. I thought she was just being a selfish girl but something in their wolf nature compels them to protect it. She’ll only let one person in there with her.”

“And who’s that?” I asked a little too eager.

“Her mate,” Edmon said simply. Disappointment flooded my thought has my face fell. Lord Edmon must have known what I was thinking. “No, I’m sorry Dalton. You are not her mate.” I tried not to let my sadness show.

“I always knew she thought of me as a brother,“ I explained. “I just hoped that maybe someday she would grow to love me back.” Lord Edmon nodded understanding my plight.

“I think it’s better that you know now then. Maybe it will save you some heartache down the road.” I didn’t respond as I was feeling uncomfortable about the subject. Instead I switched to a new concern.

“So, what happens now?” I asked. “Do we go somewhere to start our new pack? Do we look for others to join?” It was hard to know where we would go from here. The thought of it almost seemed overwhelming.

“For now, we wait,” Lord Edmon explained. “Artemis has gone through a big ordeal. She is in connection with her wolf for the first time in over a decade. We will need to give her time for her and her wolf to get situated. After that we will head to the capital.”

“What’s in the capital?” I asked further.

“A great many things. The most important is protection. And we will need it.”

“I can protect Artemis on my own,” I said defensively. “We don’t need no hoity toity capital soldiers to keep her safe.”

“You really think that want slightly above average Gamma and one middle aged ancient is going to be able to face off against an entire pack of ruthless rogues so terrifying that even the crown the and the royal guard have a hard time keeping them in check? Because that is what we are facing.” That got my attention. If the rogues were a threat to Artemis, I would take them out by any means.

“What could the rogues possibly want with her.”

“Other than her unique abilities to find those that threaten her? What do you know about the line of ascension with the crown?” How did royal politics get brought into this?

“Well when the old king dies, the kings’ son get to become king. Plain and simple.” Edmon scoffed. I was getting really annoyed at hear that noise.

“You’re a bit off there.”

“How?” I demanded.

“Well you are partially right. For the most part the king’s son does become the next king but being the king’s blood doesn’t automatically make you the next king. The way the next king is determine is by whoever is mated to the true Luna. The king wears the crown, but the Luna has the power that connects the kingdom together. It’s like with any other pack Luna except on and even grander scale.” This was getting confusing.

“Ok so whoever has the Luna as a mate is king?” I tried to clarify

“Look! He can learn.” Edmon said mockingly. I rolled my eyes but let it go for the need of information.

“I just don’t see what this has to do with Artemis. Why does it matter?”

“It matters because Artemis is the next ruling Luna.” That got my attention.

“There is no way you could know that,” I claimed.

“Artemis is a white wolf. The only wolves who are pure white are royal Lunas. It the moon goddess’s way of declaring who the next ruling Luna will be. My sister was the same way.” All this information was giving me a headache. If Artemis was the next Luna, then whoever her mate was would be the next king. I was starting to connect the pieces here. It would also explain the rogues’ interest in her.

“So are rogues trying to take Artemis so we can’t find the next king?” Edmon’s face grew serious at that question.

“It’s a bit more nefarious than that. This particular group of rogues are dangerous because in a way their leader has a legitimate claim to the throne. Ralack was the eldest son of a king. He was expected to be the next in line to rule. That all fell apart when it turned out that his younger brother was the fated mate of the next royal Luna and therefore would become king. He grew jealous and broke off from the royal pack. He would eventually gather a group of fanatical followers with the claim that he should be the rightful king. The rule is whoever is mated to the next ruling Luna is king. It isn’t specific at how the pair is mated.” A cold chill ran down my spine. I knew what Lord Edmon was trying to explain.

“So, they don’t want to kill her. They want their leader to force a pairing on her so their leader can be king.” My wolf growled at the thought pushing himself forward wanting to deal with the threat he now saw. “I would die before I let that abomination touch her.”

“As would I,” Lord Edmon responded. “But we can’t do that alone. Hence why we need to go to the capitol I can train Artemis to defend herself while we look for her mate whoever it may be. Until then it is of utmost importance, we keep her true identity a secret.” I didn’t like the idea of hiding things from my home pack, but I would do anything to keep Artemis safe.

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