The assault team was fanned out around the building. The patrols were already dead. Luke gave the signal, and we all moved in. Marcelo crept up on the guard by the door and snapped his neck in a swift move. Inside the building it was quiet, too quiet. I sent two warriors to check ahead. They moved in unison, checking all the rooms down the corridor.
The place was empty. Where the fuck were they? Why was this deserted place even guarded?
“Search every fucking nook and cranny of this shit hole!” I roared. The warriors spread out. My blood was pumping and I was shaking with fury. Marcelo came up behind me and put his hand on my shoulder. I let out a growl, warning him. I was not in the mood to listen to his reasoning.
“Alaric” he said calmly. I snapped around and glared at him. He stepped back with his hands raised.
“Here!” a voice echoed around the bare, concrete walls. I stomped towards the voice at the end of the corridor. Gregory had a note in his hand. He looked up at me, his eyes filling with dread. I snapped the note from his hands.
She will pay…
I dropped the note and rushed outside. When I kicked open the door, the cold air hit me like a brick wall. I took deep breaths, trying to keep my mind clear. Losing control now would only make things worse. I had to think. My wolf was pushing for release, but now was not the time.
Suddenly I was overcome with pain. It felt like a kick to my gut. An overwhelming fear, gripped my throat, straining my breaths. Just as fast as it came, it was gone. I tried to search my mind for her, to see if she was safe. My eyes flew open. No emotion, no connection, nothing.
I let out a fearsome howl, calling everyone to my side. They all came running within seconds.
“Alaric, what’s going on?” Marcelo asked quietly.
“They took her.” I snarled.
“That’s impossible, I had twenty warriors patrolling the border and five stationed at the house” Luke said crossing his arms over his chest. His voice was dismissive, which infuriated me. I turned to him slowly and got up in his face. My eyes were burning in to his.
“If you had just killed him, like you should have done, five FUCKING years ago!” I roared in his face, before I turned and started walking away.
“He’s my cousin!” he shouted after me. I snapped around and sprang back up in his face.
“You put a fucking psychopath before a powerless girl! You risked the life of my mate, for a fucking rapist! And you defend your actions solely on him being family!” I barked. He tried to glare back at me, but ended up looking away.
“There’s no need to jump to conclusions, we don’t know...” he tried, but I cut him off.
“I already know.” I spat back at him. The warriors were lined up behind us, all of them trying not to stare at the ongoing quarrel.
“If she was high-ranked, would you have done differently? If she was your sister, would you still let him live?” I shouted, narrowing my eyes at him. He opened his mouth, but quickly closed it again.
“You better pray to the Moon Goddess that Jade remains unharmed. Every bruise, every cut, every bit of torture, mental and physical, I will repay you. Mark my words Luke.” I turned to leave again.
“When the time comes, you will leave him to me, I’m going to flay him alive.” I shouted back at him.
I shifted and bolted back towards the compound. I heard the others behind me, but they were keeping some distance between us. No doubt Marcelo was holding them back to give me space. He knew I was unpredictable in this state of rage. One wrong word and someone would either bleed or die, depending on how angry I was.
I searched my mind for a trace of her. All I felt was a faint presence. She was alive but I couldn’t feel any emotion from her. I tried to mind-link, but I couldn’t reach her. She was either out of reach or unconscious, or both.
We were close to the pack borders now. The stench of rogues filled my nostrils. I pushed myself to go even faster. I ran past a shredded body. I didn’t slow down, I already knew it was one of the patrols. I passed another mutilated body as Galina’s house came in to view.
The front door was cracked open. I carefully pushed it open with my paw. I heard crying from upstairs. I followed the sound, praying that my gut feeling was wrong, and that she was OK. As I walked through the door to one of the bedrooms, I saw Galina sitting on the floor, broken glass and feathers surrounding her. She looked up at me, and started howling in grief. I shifted back to human form and crouched down next to her.
“Where is Jade?” I asked as calmly as I could muster.
“They took her! I couldn’t protect her!” she howled, tears streaming down her face, her fists clenched white. I took a deep breath, trying my best to stay in control.
“Tell me what happened.” I said, just as Luke and Marcelo came up running up the stairs.
“They knocked me out cold and when I woke up, she was gone!” she cried out. She was shaking with anger. Gregory barged in and grabbed Galina in his arms. My heart twisted in pain at the sight. What I wouldn’t do to be able to hold Jade like that right now. Galina pushed out of Gregory’s hold.
“No time to waste, lets go get her back!” she said, pulling on Gregory’s arm.
“You were knocked out, you need to rest” I said, even though I knew she wouldn't listen. Gregory looked at her with concern.
“NO!” she screamed, snapping around to face me.
“I promised to keep her safe, and I failed her! I won’t rest until she’s back and none of you assholes will stand in my way” she roared, glaring between the men surrounding her. No one replied, so I nodded at her and walked outside.
“Spread out and find me a FUCKING TRAIL!” I roared to the crowd of warriors outside the house. They all bolted in different directions. I felt panic grip me. I had no idea where she’d been taken. If we didn’t pick up a trail, she might be lost to me, forever. Galina put her hand on my arm. I turned and looked down at her. Her empathetic eyes searched mine, and we both nodded at each other in agreement.
Luke, Marcelo and Gregory came outside and stopped in front of us. I pinched the bridge on my nose, trying to clear the dark thoughts trying to consume me and drive me in to a blind rage.
“What do you need?” Marcelo asked quietly.
“I need someone to start looking for clues” I said, glancing at him.
“Get me Jackson!” I continued. Marcelo nodded and pulled out his phone.
“Who the hell is Jackson?” Luke asked, confused.
“My hacker” I replied with a smirk. Jackson was a total waste in a battle but behind a computer screen, he was a force to be reckoned with.
“A hacker? How is a hacker supposed to help with a kidnapping? Her phone is here, what is...” I cut Luke off with a growl.
“Stop fucking questioning me! Why don’t you try to help instead!” I barked at him. He pressed his fingers to his temples and sighed heavily.
“I’m sorry, I tend to get defensive when I feel guilty.” he admitted.
“Well, then use that guilt, and help us. You’re the only one who actually knows him. Go, find something we can use!” I said sternly.
“Jackson is setting up in the conference room” Marcelo said.
“Why don’t we go there and come up with a plan while we wait for the warriors to get back to us?” he continued. I grunted and started walking towards the pack house.
I felt hopeless. I didn’t even know where to start. The thought of never seeing her again made me feel like I was gonna be sick. I had to steady myself on a nearby tree. Galina came up behind me and put her hand on my back.
“ We need to stay strong, for Jade. We're all here for you, we will find her.” she said, almost in a whisper.
In the conference room, Jackson was setting up his screens, computers and gadgets and what not. He was rushing back and forth, not even noticing us entering the room.
“Jackson.” I said, grabbing his attention. He halted and looked at me.
“Alpha, I’m almost ready.” he said tipping his head in my direction.
Suddenly I felt something stir inside my mind. I felt confusion. I felt worry. Then panic started to take a hold. And then It was suddenly gone.