Major Green heard Phoebe stirring long before her alarm went off. From what he had seen, she had a steady work ethic. And it was his opinion that she was a perfect addition to their ranks. He knew that everyone else thought so as well.
When four thirty struck, I silently opened my door and slipped out into the hallway. Giving a smile to the major, I hurried down the stairs to the kitchen.
It wasn’t long before the smell of breakfast began to drift up the stairs and one by one, the pack members began to wake up. At five thirty, I was standing before Major Green. “I’ll relieve you, sir,” I said as I handed him a plate filled with a hot breakfast. “Thank you, Phoebe.” I just dipped my head and took his place as he slowly entered his room.
Exactly at six, Prince Stone emerged from his room and quickly headed down the stairs. And like a silent ghost, I followed him back down. Once they were in the dining room, I chose a point where I could easily get to him if anything happened, and where I could see everyone and everything.
Twice I had growled at two of the female pack members and they quickly took a step backward. While my human side knew that they most likely didn’t mean any harm, my wolf side had been the most dominant part of her, and she saw them as a possible threat.
I mentally laughed at my wolf when she growled at how close the females were getting. She had been a little off since yesterday, but I trusted my wolf to quickly straighten it out. I also knew that she wouldn’t jeopardize our job, the job that we had worked so hard in achieving. The rest of the day flew by uneventful. By the time that the bonfire arrived, both my wolf and I were on edge. But I kept it hidden from the others.
As more and more unmated females showed up, the more anxious and upset my wolf grew. Making sure that my wolf was well under wraps, I blended into the background while staying just within arm's distance of my charge. Nothing would befall him while I was on watch. The party had lasted well into the night. When everyone finally broke apart and started to head to bed, it was almost two.
I told Major Green to go ahead and get some sleep; I’d take the night shift seeing as how we would be leaving in the morning. When morning came, the five of us left alone much to the disappointment of the females in the pack; many of them had hoped and prayed that they were Prince Stone’s mate. But none of the females were in luck. Pack after pack, it was the same. The prince’s mate wasn’t in any of them so far.
I found myself becoming disgusted with the female wolf population as a whole. From what I had seen, most females used and flaunted their body to get what they wanted. The women in First Death were not that way, I could clearly remember. They worked just as hard as the men for what they wanted. If they didn’t earn it, they didn’t want it.
“Phoebe, what exactly can you tell us about First Death?” Major Green asked me as his eyes briefly met mine in the rearview mirror. I could feel the prince’s eyes on me as well. “Well, as you know, second only to the king’s pack, First Death is the strongest pack in the world. In our past, our numbers reached well into the thousands. But currently,there’s only about six or eight hundred members.
“My father was Beta, and he was one of the few people in my life who believed that I could become a guard. He was killed when I was eleven. For the most part, my ex-pack is very kind to strangers, unless you are seen as a threat to the pack’s stability. First Death members swear their loyalty first to our king and then to their alpha. And they are willing to die for both if need be.” For the next several hours, I told them of the pack that I had grown up in. I entertained them with stories that my pack had passed down from generations. By the time that I noticed familiar surroundings, I realized that I had spoken for the entire car ride.
A dull blush spread across my cheeks as I closed my mouth and looked out the window. It was going to be great to be able to see my family again. The small feeling that something was wrong had blossomed into an overwhelming sense by the time our SUV came to a stop in front of my old pack house. Before anyone could move to open the door, I growled to catch their attention.
“Stay in the car until I check everything out. Something’s wrong.” Before they could say anything, I was out of the car and I heard the doors lock behind me. Our first priority was making sure that our prince and king to be, was safe. Slowly, I walked towards the house not liking the quiet I heard. The breeze shifted and I froze. It was faint, but I could easily make out the metallic scent of blood and the unmistakable smell of death.
My wolf was on instant alert the moment we heard the front door open. I watched as my brother appeared, but he was changed. He walked as if his feet hurt and his face was a mask of anger and pain. But what stood out the most was the red color in his eyes. Get the prince out of here now! I commanded Major Green as my brother slowly came closer to me.What about you?
Don’t worry about me. Just get him out of here now. Don’t stop until you’re back at the palace. He’ll be safe there. I listened as they peeled out as they raced back down the drive. Lincoln’s eyes followed the receding car until it was gone. Before I could blink, my brother surged towards me and I barely jumped out of his way, my foot connecting with his shoulder.
He growled at me and I knew then that he was no longer my brother. Never, not once in my almost twenty-two years, did I ever think that one day I would be facing my brother in a fight to protect my ‘charge’. “What happened to the pack Lincoln?”
“Why do you care?” he sneered at me. “You left us, you don’t care about us.” I knew that he was just taunting me, trying to get under my skin. He charged at me again and I quickly landed several blows, stunning him. We fought long and hard. Sure, he was a Beta, but he hadn’t trained every day of his life for the past fifteen years as hard as I had. With on final blow, Lincoln fell, unconscious. I stiffly bent down and slowly picked my brother’s body up.
When I stood back up, I saw a very tall, very angry man with very unnatural red eyes heading towards us. That man was a rogue it was plain to see. But I could also tell that he held the title of alpha. I had seen a rogue take over a pack once, and he had returned to normal. But I didn’t know what to make of this. By the way my brother was looking and acting, it was as if he was turning rogue.
Spinning around, I take off still carrying my brother’s body. The rogue alpha’s howl filled the air and I knew that my old pack would soon be on my heels. And something told me that the pack border wouldn’t stop them if they were in fact turning rogue. Picking up the pace, I shot through the thin woods, hoping and praying that they would let me escape.
I could hear more and more wolves racing after us, but I didn’t stop. It wasn’t lost on me that by now, most people would have abandoned my brother by now in hopes of saving their own skin. But I refused to leave him behind. He did not deserve that.
I blocked everything from my mind except for surviving. It was around midnight or so whenever I realized three things. The first thing that I realized was that I was no longer being chased; the second was that I had just entered another pack’s territory, and lastly, my body had lost a good bit of blood. My wounds from my fight with Lincoln hadn’t healed well whenever I started to run.
Stumbling to a stop, I gently laid Lincoln’s body on the leaf covered ground before allowing my body to fall beside him. I could hear several wolves running towards us but I didn’t move. “It’s the prince’s guard, Rivers.”
“Is she alright?”
“Who’s that beside her?” Their voices reached me and I made myself sit up as much as I could. I met one of their gazes as he knelt beside me. Gasping for breath, I spoke quickly. “Place him in a cell and have the pack doctor look after him. And have your alpha call... Call the king. Tell the king... First Death has fallen... Fallen into the hands of rogues.”
When the man nodded, I let my eyes drift shut. It wouldn’t take my body long to recover and once Lincoln was better, we’d both head back to the king’s pack. My last conscious thought was about First Death and what the king would decide to do with them.
Darcy watched as Phoebe became smaller and smaller until she was gone from his sight. “Major, what’s going on?” He demanded as he turned his eyes to the guard driving. “Rivers told me to get you out of there. Something’s wrong.” When Major Green didn’t add more detail, Darcy found himself growing madder.
“I demand that we turn around and go back for her.” His wolf was chewing him out for letting them leave without her. The idea of her being in trouble just to protect him rubbed both of them the wrong way. Green tightened his grip on the steering wheel but kept driving. “I can’t do that my prince. I may be higher rank than Rivers, but she’s your guard; therefore, when it comes to your safety, her word out powers mine and yours too.” He added quickly when he saw the set of the prince’s jaw.
“Under whose authority?”
“The king’s.” Green’s reply brought Darcy up short and he fell silent. Even he knew that no one would dare go against the king’s word or his direct order, especially the guards. They would die willingly to carry out a demand or order from him. Huffing quietly, Darcy crossed his arms and stared out of the window. Once they were back at the castle, he would find a way to go back for Phoebe.
Back at the castle, King Stone was sitting at his desk staring out his window. The shrill ring of his phone startled him for a brief second. He quickly scooped it up and answered. “Hello?”
“King Stone, this is Alpha Ryder from Red Cliff. One of your guard members, Rivers, was found just a little while ago on my land.” Fear for his son raced through him but he quickly shook it away. He knew Phoebe and he also knew that she would have made certain that the prince was safe. “Is is alright?”
“She’ll be fine in a day or so my king. Our doctor said that she has lost a good bit of blood but otherwise, she’s fine. She had a message that she wanted us to pass along to you.”
“What is it?”
“First Death has fallen into the hands of the rogues.” A chill ran through him as he slowly dropped the phone back into its cradle. His gut and his wolf told him that something very bad was coming their way.