Chapter 11: Dolor
His approval is all it takes for the females to get right back to their task at hand. One to my right uses the heel of her shoe to push my face in to the ground as another one of her friends spit on y face. “Stupid fucking Rogue," she mutters as she does so.
“You should know better than to come out of hiding. Our Alpha eats pathetic Shifters like you for a snack,” she sneers at me as she lands a kick to my gut, sending me into a coughing fit. I don’t bother trying to defend myself. It would just make them push my body to more obscene limits then they are right now.
“She didn’t come out of hiding,” Enforcer Cyrus calls. Alpha Kaine’s head turns to him, confusion etched in his tan features. ”She got caught." Alpha Kaine says nothing as he turns back to me, scanning my body for the damage that has been done before deciding that I am able to take so much more than what I’ve already been given.
The crowd erupts in laughter around me, men elbowing each other in the sides as they make quick jokes about how horrible of an informant I must be for the Rogue Army.
“You’re pathetic. What kind of girl betrays the Alpha who has offered them so much more to live for in their pathetic human lives. You should thank us for the wonderful life you have thanks to King Slethius and all of our Alpha’s that help make this place worth living in. Even though I have to share the air I breathe with your kind I still love the District.” She turns to Alpha Kaine, beaming. He nods once in acknowledgement and she promptly blushes under his gaze.
“Your Alpha and believers that follow his word to the letter are the reason the human suicide rates are higher than they’ve ever been,” I say without thinking. The girls pause again, looking to their Alpha for guidance on what to do with me.
They’re probably expecting him to bend down and strangle me with his bare hands. Not that the pristine Alpha Kaine would soil his hands with the dirty blood of a human.
The girl turns back to me, her eyes blazing with fury. She grabs my arm, yanking me to my feet with superhuman strength before slapping me clear across the face with a smile. She used more force than I am capable of and I can almost feel the burn of her slap deep in my bones.
She grabs my chin in her hands and pulls my eyes back to hers. Their gold hue flashes to me and her cheshire cat grin widens a little. “Got anything else to say?” I lick my lips, hollowing my cheeks a bit as I calculate my next move. Her grip on my arm loosens as I fling a large wad of spit at her.
The liquid lands on her face and the entire crowd holds their breath to see what will happen next. Alpha Kaine does not move but Enforcer Cyrus’s eyes flick nervously around him, no doubt wondering what the Lycans will do about this display of hatred from me.
Her arm swings back again but this time it is not the palm of her hand that meets my face. The nails on her hand extend, changing form only slightly before they come down on my cheek. The claws glisten in the sunlight as they scrape my skin, tearing my flesh and bringing fresh blood to the wound.
Other women gasp, their hands moving to cover their mouths as shock washes over them. They wait for their Alpha to react as if his reaction means anything to them. Whatever he did next would determine my face.
My body drops to the group quickly, my eyes closed tightly to help manage the pain I’m feeling right now. The other Lycans break out into a cheer at my misery and cry for more.
By now they know I am not one of them. I’m not a Lycan. My broken nose and slashed cheek that have gone unhealed are proof of that all on their own. “Alpha?” Enforcer Cyrus asks. He steps forward like he wants to intervene but I don’t know if he’s asking about continuing the test or punishing the girl who struck me.
I risk a glance, looking back into Alpha Kaine’s eyes, hoping that I’m pleading just enough to have him come to my rescue. He turns up his nose and looks away. “Continue!” someone cries from the crowd.
The women obey, quickly losing every human instinct in their body to shy away from the violence. Their eyes narrowed into slits as they trade their fists for claws, making as many cuts in my skin as they can before their Alpha stops them, or before I die of blood loss. Whichever comes first.
One behind me grabs my leg, her kanines making a meal out of the skin on my ankle. My blood splatters against the grass as they continue to assault me. My eyes grow heavy, my body unable to stand the pain when suddenly it disappears altogether.
Enforcer Cyrus blows the horn that signals the end of the testing ceremony and the female Lycans retreat back into the crowd, wiping their mouths of my blood and cleaning their grass stained hands on their skirts.
I look up, expecting to see Enforcer Cyrus with an evil smirk on his face, but his expression is vacant. He blinks once, focusing on something behind me that I do not turn to see. Alpha Kaine’s cool fingertips grasp the wound on my ankle, turning the skin in his hands, observing the mark on my flesh.
“Does this hurt?” he asks, his finger pressing into the wound directly. I can feel the warmth of my blood coat my leg and I hiss in pain. I bring my arms in front of me and cradle my head, uninterested in anything other than a moment to myself, away from the crowd.
“The Alpha asked you a question girl,” Enforcer Cyrus speaks up. I don’t take it as an insult, like I should. Girl is the nicest thing I’ve ever been called by a Lycan, the fact that he was in a power position was just icing on the cake.
“Yes,” I whisper into the grass, twirling a blade around one of my fingers. Alpha Kaine’s grip on my ankle tightens, his finger spreading the blood around the lips of my wound.
“Yes, what?” he demands. I bite my lip to keep from screaming out in pain. I know the nobles are still watching me from the edges of the clearing. They hang on my every word and wait for Alpha Kaine’s instructions like mindless drones.
“Yes, it hurts," I tell him. He sighs and lets his claws out, scraping the inside of my wound painfully. “Yes it hurts, Alpha,” I say, knowing exactly what he wanted from me in that moment.
He lets go of my ankle, licking his finger clean of my blood before grabbing my uninjured leg and pulling me towards him in one quick tug. I pant and grab the grass as if it will save me, trying to pull myself away from him. No one interferes, they watch without a word as their Alpha wrestles me to him, grabbing my shoulders and forcing me to look him in the eyes.
“Do not fight me. You are lucky to be alive. They could have killed you,” he tells me. He sounds calm but when I look into his eyes they flick every which way, his feral side battling with his mortal body.
“Will you hold up your end of the bargain?” I ask, bringing one hand up to tuck beneath my chin. I rub my fingers against the skin on my throat. There is no blood but the deep scratches make for bumpy warm skin.
“My end?” he whispers. Enforcer Cyrus walks behind me, his shadow looming over the clearing. I nod and swallow the butterflies in the back of my throat.
“You told me if I tested and I succeed you would let John go free. That was your end of the deal.” I shrug off the hand that Enforcer Cyrus lays on my shoulder, standing up on my own accord to the best of my abilities. My ankle gives out and I fall into Enforcer Cyrus, gripping his arms to haul myself up again.
I don’t notice I’ve said John’s name until it’s already past my lips. My mouth falls open and I quickly cover it. Alpha Kaine grunts then stands, bracing his hands on his knee. He snaps over his shoulder.
The crowd turns and so do I, the sea parts and a man with a very large build steps forward, John in tow. He has more scars than last time. His left eye is swollen shut and he stumbles around on what looks like two badly sliced legs.
The Lycans don’t react, used to this type of dark imagery in their world. But that doesn’t stop me from gasping as tears flow down my cheeks, washing away flakes of dried blood with it. “No,” I say quietly.
Alpha Kaine studies my reaction, still unsure of the relationship I have with John. He can tell I’m upset but he doesn’t seem to understand why I’m crying over him or why I care what happens to him.
“Bring him,” Alpha Kaine says to the man. John stumbles towards me, the man kicking him in the back so he falls at my feet. John doesn’t greet me properly, instead, he leans his forehead against my knees and sobs against my calves. I cry with him, but I do not touch him.
It would make things worse for the both of us.
“You’re free to go,” Alpha Kaine tells John, disgust laced in his authoritative tone. John does not make any move to stand, opting to stare up at me with big puppy dog eyes, silent thank yous mixed in with his wonder filled gaze. I smile down and him and allow myself to run a hand through his hair before dropping it back down to my side.
John looks behind him, waiting to be helped up. His hands are still bound and he’s in no condition to properly get around anywhere on his own. “You heard the Alpha. Go,” Enforcer Cyrus says to John, nudging him in the butt with the toe of his boot. “You are lucky that you’ve been given this opportunity. Do not waste it on petty goodbyes.”
The crowd parts again behind me, making way for John to walk through without a fight. Enforcer Cyrus grabs John’s arm, pulling him up before pushing him towards the path, laughing as he falls again. I turn to Alpha Kaine, my injuries forgotten as rage fills me to the brim.
“You said you would free him,” I say, crossing my arms. Alpha Kaine shrugs, dismissing the man to his side before turning to me. “You promised,” I say. “You told me you would free him.” He shrugs again.
“I have. I just was not as kind to him as you might have preferred,” he supplies. “Take her back to the chambers I have provided her,” he tells Enforcer Cyrus, turning on his heel to step out of the clearing. Behind me John grunts in pain as he breaks out into a steady jog, checking behind him periodically to make sure he won’t be followed.
“You’re leaving him for dead,” I tell Alpha Kaine. “You know he cannot survive out there but still, you make him. Why?” Enforcer Cyrus steps in front of me, his nose mere centimeters from mine.
“The Alpha has granted your wish. Be grateful.” I crane my head around his, trying to look back to the Alpha.
“He’s going to die!” I plead. “Please. You have to help him get back to the village. He’ll get killed out there with those wounds. He’ll never make it back!” Alpha Kaine stops walking away.
“I don’t care, Anita,” he sighs, turning back to me with a fake smile. Enforcer Cyrus moves out of the way, anxious to hear what his Alpha is going to do to me for my outbursts. “You wanted me to let him go and I did. No clauses about his conditions were made. That is not my fault. That is yours.”
“You’re a despicable human being,” I tell him. He laughs, stepping back to me, his fingers wrapping around my shoulders as he brings his lips to my ear.
“I knew you were human all along. You reek of mortality and your blood tastes like a rotten apple.I merely allowed you to test for my own entertainment,” he tells me before pulling away. He turns back to Enforcer Cyrus, jerking his thumb back to me.
“Move her. The guest room off my quarters. Give her all of her personal belongings but that is all, you may not provide her anything else unless I ask you to. She must be monitored,” he says to his second in command.
Enforcer Cyrus nods on cue before sputtering and turning to Alpha Kaine’s retreating figure. “I can assign her a guard. She won’t be a burden to you then, Alpha.” Alpha Kaine shakes his head.
"My quarters. I want to watch her myself. I trust no one else. And Cyrus?” Alpha Kaine asks as Enforcer Cyrus practically jogs to keep up with him, nodding as he hangs on to each word from his superiors mouth. “Get this crowd off my lawn.”
Enforcer Cyrus stops jogging to turn and glare at me. He runs a hand through his hair then addresses the crowd. “Go home! There will be no feast after this testing.” The nobles grumble and retreat silently as a guard takes hold of my arm from behind, leading me out of the woods.