The Queen in Shadows

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Chapter 4

“Werewolves are the treasured children of the moon. The first of us, the first Alpha, was a man who so loved the moon that she gave him the gift of immortality by allowing him to shift into a wolf. Unlike other animals that bask in the glory of the sun, the wolf howls it’s praises to the moon. She turned the first alpha and his wife into wolves to allow them to dance in her light in both forms. Through the centuries our population grew into four tribes, each tribe into twelve packs. The Alpha King ruling over all. The moon chooses who will be born into the role of an alpha. She searches our souls for the greatest among us and bestows the gifts of authority, leadership, loyalty and wisdom.”

I watch Alex as my uncle speaks, his jaw ticks when he hears about Alphas. I wonder if he will be an Alpha like his dad. His father being one doesn’t mean that he will be.

I’m suddenly struck with a wave of realization and with it, a wave of nausea. I don’t feel an Alpha aura from Alex. There is something there but it isn’t clear like it is with his father. Either he isn’t an Alpha, he is human, or he hasn’t shifted yet.

My hand shakes nervously, I can’t explain it, but I can sense his wolf. His paperwork hasn’t been changed. His seventeenth birthday is tomorrow, his real one. He hasn’t shifted yet.

Unless the resistance has another kind of silver training that is different from mine, he will react to the silver. I stare at him, horror on my face. I’m not listening to my uncle at all, I can hear him talking but his words are distorted by the pounding of my pulse in my ears. I silently pray to the moon.

Please, let me be wrong. Let him be human.

I look at the clock on the wall. The guard comes at eight o’clock. It’s after seven. I look around the room, wondering if everyone can hear my heart pounding in my chest.

For the first time since he arrived Alex makes eye contact with me. His face is serious, cold even, but his eyes give him away. He’s nervous, he knows he’s a wolf, he knows what’s coming for him. We stare at each other, not speaking or moving. We don’t need to say anything, there is an understanding between us. He lightly nods his head, for some reason, I feel comforted by the gesture.

I wonder if he knows about my falsified papers, about my training? Guilt floods my system. I don’t know how my aunt picks the wolves that get this opportunity but I’m sure there was some nepotism involved in my good fortune. I am not particularly noteworthy, not exceptionally smart, strong or fast. There would be no reason for anyone to pick me for this.

“Alex Killion and Noelle Seneca, report now, to the security outpost. Alex Killion and Noelle Seneca, report, now.”

The voice over the loudspeaker outside chills my blood.

“Let’s go, don’t make them wait,” Uncle James stands, gently grabbing my arm. My Aunt pulls me into a tight hug before handing me a small bundle, my yellow uniforms.

“Give these to the guards.”

Without a word or any apparent hesitation, Alex walks toward the door and stops, looking at me, silently checking that I’m ready, before opening the door. Stepping out into the cool night air I can see people everywhere, looking from windows and doors, standing on the street.

Alex steps protectively in front of me as we make our way to the small booth where a guard is waiting. After stepping inside of the crowded space we are fingerprinted for identity confirmation. I notice a large black van pull up outside of the booth. With a silent nod my uncle steps back, letting the guards shackle our hands and lock them into a chain bolted to the floor of the van. I feel dizzy as the van makes its way through the streets, heading uphill toward the castle compound.

“It’s going to be ok, you’re going to be ok,” Alex says, making me realize that I’m breathing erratically. His voice is different than I expected. Deep and raspy but so soft. He’s definitely an Alpha.

The van lurches to a stop at a security checkpoint. We are removed from the van and searched by pat down and metal detectors. The vampire guard who pats me down is rough, jerking me around.

“They’re clear,” he says, pushing me forward toward the gate “Go!”

I stumble slightly and Alex grabs my arm.

“I’m fine, I’m ok,” I tell him quickly, trying to keep him calm.

We walk through a huge stone courtyard, it’s dark in the shadow of the castle, I don’t bother to look around. Wolves have excellent eyesight but night vision is only possible in wolf form. We walk to a door in the wall, which leads to a dark, narrow hallway. I scream as I feel something cold around my neck. I fall against the wall as I begin to panic.

“Calm down, Noelle” Alex yells before I’m pushed into a room. There are dim lights in this room and I am able to see a metal pole hanging from the loop around my neck. It’s a snare pole, fantastic. Taking a calming breath I realize that the loop around my neck is making my skin tingle slightly, it’s silver.

This is the test.

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