Chapter 17- Betrayal
Days turned into weeks and the longer I was waiting to save Ryker the more frustrated I became. I knew he must still be alive as I would have felt if he had died but no one could mind link him, it was like hitting a solid wall.
I was of little help when trying to help everyone find their alpha as I couldn't feel Ryker the way I would feel him if we were fully mated. I cursed myself for not allowing myself to experience what Ryker was offering but I knew he respected me and my boundaries and allowed me to process everything at my own pace.
I did curse whoever had taken him, how had robbed me of something so precious who had forsaken a whole pack, I knew the pack wanted their alpha back but I also knew they needed a leader and if Ryker was not found soon then they would have to choose someone else to be their leader, which means I don't know what will happen to me. I had no pack and no family that wanted me, I would be a rouge.
I cursed the moon goddess for putting me in such a situation as I stood in Rykers office, his scent fading away with every breath that I took. The vampires had not given me an update yet and I was starting to doubt their abilities of finding Ryker.
The ghost of Rykers presences haunted me and I knew I need to control the powers that had been given to me for whatever reason but everytime I brought it up with Rafe he refused and said the time would come when I would be ready but everytime I asked him when that time would come he could never give me an answer.
Every day was the same, I would get up and I would train and read about different packs and their history, I would read about different war strategies and figure out the best ones to use in made up secarniors. I would ask Rafe to train me in using my powers and everyday he said no.
I would try to help the pack and do the duties that Ryker would normally do but it wasn't that easy and all the harder paperwork and difficult decisions was left to Diego and Nolan, which I was thankful for.
I sighed as I marched my way over to the training grounds where I could see the vampires already training. I had improved over the few short weeks we had been training together but, I was nowhere near their level but I doubted I ever would be considering they had had decades of practice.
"Good you're here, we have some news to discuss with you that can not wait." Rafe didn't look at me as he said these words but I could see he was uncomfortable with whatever news he had found out as his spine was rigid and he didn't even look at me. I only prayed it was not news about Ryker being seriously injured or even worse.
I looked around nervous for the first time and scared of what I was going to hear even though I had been waiting so long for some news.
A thousand thoughts whirled in my head at the possibilities that Rafe could have found out.
I looked at the other two who had stopped training to listen to the conversation we were having but neither of them could meet my eye either.
"What news do you have?" I knew my voice came out as desperate and scared but in the moment I didn't care I needed to know what they knew, I needed to find Ryker and tell him how sorry I was for everything that had happened, I never should have left him there, I should have listened to what he had to say instead of running from my problems and my past.
I was done running from all my problems and I was ready to stand up for myself and not let myself cower away from what I know is the right thing to do, even if it was the easiest thing to do.
"There has been a development with the search for Ryker." Rafe spoke slowly, like he was trying to gauge what my reaction might be to the news he had buried in his brain. I kept quiet as I waited for him to continue but I knew my face was a picture of concern and worry.
"We have followed the trail from Rykers disappearance in the forest and it has lead not too far from here, only around 60 miles east of here in a secluded part of a forest that is mostly overgrown, it appears there is some sort of underground bunker that he is being kept in but we are not 100% sure because we couldn't get in to confirm it but that is where the trail ends."
I kept my mouth shut as I tried to process the information that had come out of Rafes mouth. They knew where Ryker was and they hadn't told me?! What else did they know, did they know who had taken him and why, there must be more answers than what he has given me.
"Why didn't you tell me earlier that you had a lead and were following it? Do you know who has taken him? Do you know why?" The words spewed out of my mouth. I was worried Rafe couldn't tell what I was trying to say as he finally looked at me and stared without saying a word.
"I didn't want to tell you anything until I was certain I could back up my claims, I also didn't want to give you false hope for anything I just needed to be certain. I do know who has taken him but I need you to promise that you will not get upset or do anything rash when I tell you. I also need you to know that my clan had nothing to do with it." I nodded my head but I already knew where this was going but I needed to hear Rafe say it out loud.
He regarded me one more time as if deciding if he was really going to say anything or not. After weighing it up Rafe seemed to have made up his mind as he started to speak again.
"We are certain a group of rogue vampires have taken Ryker and are holding him captive, I'm not entirely sure why or what they plan to do with him but it is definitely them. These vampires can not come out during the day hence the underground bunker. I do not think these rogues would have worked alone on this. It is too thought out and planned for them to work by themselves. We just haven't been able to find out who they are working for."
I felt my heart stop as I looked at Rafe after discovering this new information. How could I have been so stupid to let Vampires into our home, to have trusted them, I knew I should have trusted my gut instincts and turned them away when they showed up, their timing for showing up was just too perfect, they knew I would need help in finding Ryker and they were the ones who took him in the first place!
They kept me too distracted and looking in the wrong direction all so they could pin the blame on someone else, well too bad for them because I can see right through their lies.
I felt the adrenaline pump through my body making me feel like I could tear apart a mountain as the rage continued to swirl inside me as I looked on at these people, these creatures!
I had almost considered them my friends, how wrong I was.
Rafe took a step towards me, his hands encircling themselves around my biceps to keep me in place and to stop me from hurting him as I'm sure he could tell I wanted to by the look in my eyes.
"Listen to me Harlow, we have not betrayed you, we have only tried to help. I know you feel scared and hopeless right now but think about this, why would we help and give you information on where he is? Or help to train you so you can, what, try to defeat us? It doesn't make any sense but if you still don't believe me then you must believe in Ryker as he is the one who asked to come here, he trusted us. Now you must do the same."
He let go of me and took a step back waiting for my reaction. What he was saying did make a lot of sense and I had seen something in the woods before Ryker even asked them to come here so maybe they were telling the truth, maybe there really was two different Vampires groups, the ones in front of me and the ones who had Ryker.
I took a deep breath and nodded my head allowing my body to relax and for now believe what they were saying.
Rafe smiled slightly and looked behind him to signal something to the others, they nodded before turning and sprinting into the forest.
"Good because we have a lot of work to do." Rafe smirked at me and I agreed, we did have a lot to do.
* * *
Somewhere 60 miles east.
There was a pain in my head that wouldn't go away, it felt like someone was banging a hammer on the inside of my skull. My wrists and legs burned with the slightless movement from the silver chains that coiled around them like a snake. The blisters that had already formed couldn't be healed from my quick healing ability as every day I was forced to drink wolfsbane, something that diminished our powers and made us almost human. If you gave enough of it to a wolf they would surely die from the poison that ran through their blood.
I cracked my eyes open; praying there wouldn't be too much light to pierce them and cause more pain to the headache I already had.
The air was stale and cold and I was thankful that I was at least still dressed in my clothes from the night I was taken.
There appeared to be no light coming from anywhere, there were no windows and no fresh breeze coming through the open door. My night vision still worked but it wasn't as good as it could have been if I didn't have poison running through my veins.
A noise brought my attention to where the door stood open. Two figures emerged through the darkness as if they simply blended into it. One had pale skin, red eyes and wicked sharp fangs. A vampire.
I pulled at my restraints as anger boiled in me but soon the pain was almost blinding and I stopped fighting, letting out a groan as the pain nearly took me into the darkness.
I turned my attention to the second individual who stood in the room. They weren't a vampire in fact if I had to guess I would have said he was a wolf. I felt a wave of nauseous wash over me as I tried to process what I was seeing in front of me. A wolf and a vampire working together to bring down other wolves!
The thought had the anger in my stomach explode into a fire ferino but all I could do was glare at the man who could betray his kind and not bat an eyelash.
"Ah you're awake. Good. My name is Alpha James, I am Harlow's alpha and you have taken her from me, I want her back."
A laugh escaped my throat before I could stop it, this guy couldn't be serious could he?
"What's so funny?" I could see his face turn red from anger that I dared to challenge him.
"It's just that if you have to introduce yourself as 'alpha' then you don't deserve the title, respect is earned, it is not taken. So James if you want my respect you will need to earn it but I don't think that will be happening."
"I don't need your respect nor do I want it. What I want is what is rightfully mine, what you have taken!" He was shouting now but he didn't get too close, the silver would affect him as well.
"She is not yours she left your pack and became a rogue, she was taken in by my pack and she is also my mate! I will not allow you to take her from me!"
How dare he threaten Harlow, I know what they had done to her in that pack, there was no way I was going to let her go back there.
"If that is the way things must be fine, maybe you will be more willing to cooperate later." He nodded to the vampire who smiled gleefully at me. With that James swept from the room and I was left with evil itself. He pulled a silver whip from his belt as he stalked towards me like a predator to prey.
"Let's get started shall we?"
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