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Chapter 20

“WHAT?” Vincent roared.

“A rebellion, your highness.” The guard murmured from his kneeling place on the ground.

“How is there a rebellion?” Vincent snarled. “Don’t you know how to suppress the citizens, to beat down resistance?”

“Yes, King Vincent, but she or he caught my paw and pushed me away.”

“What do you mean, ‘she or he’?”

“Well, um, they all had on masks, but it sounded like a woman.”

“What did she look like?”

“It was hard to tell. Her fur was streaked with mud and looked blue and her paws and tail were completely caked in dirt. She had contacts in her eyes, but her hair was dark brown, very close to black.”

Vincent nodded and scratched his chin with his clawed paw. “Jacob!” he called.

The green-striped wolf padded in with his short robe on and stood before his king and father. “I want you to infiltrate this rebellion and tear it apart from the inside out. Don’t let them know who you are before you attack. Kidnap the leader and bring her here; we will torture answers out of her before throwing her in prison. If she resists, kill her immediately. I don’t want to see you until the deed is done. Clear?”

“Like a crystal ball, Dad.” Jacob said, turning tail and running from the hall.

“That problem solved,” Vincent murmured. “Captain, continue with your duties.”

“Yes your majesty.” The guards bowed again before they left. Vincent stared after them coolly, completely certain this mishap would be taken care of almost instantly.

Jacob donned peasant garb and lurked in alleys, waiting for the band to come through. Soon enough, the band appeared with the leader still wearing a mask, though the others weren’t wearing theirs.

“Though we have changed our rebellion name, most of you know us as the Carnage Angels,” the leader said into a mike at the gathered crowd of monsters. A roar went up at the familiar name and Jake’s eyes widened.

“Cassidie’s the leader?” he murmured. “Impossible. She’s dead. But, then who…?”

Peering closer, Jake saw the uniquely colored brunette hair and the confidence in the masked girl’s movements. Alex! The name bounced around in Jake’s head as the band launched into Hit the Lights by Selena Gomez and the Scene.

When the song was over, Jake and a large number of followers accompanied the band back to the forest. He noted the path they were taking and froze; they were in the Mudpit Mound, his old hangout with his friends. Now, a line of monsters was waiting to be initiated by some brunette before going over to get a tattoo on their chest by Alex. The reason Jake hesitated was because you had to be in human form in order to be tattooed and you had to give your name when getting slicked with mud.

Surreptitiously slipping to the back of the line, Jake slid into the trees and away from the clearing. Glancing back, the brown wolf bumped into something and fell backward. Looking up, Jake’s breath caught at coming face-to-face with his target: Alex!

“Shouldn’t you be getting initiated?” she asked coolly, contacted eyes boring into his.

Jake gulped and said, “Yeah, I just wanted to have a look around and kinda got lost. By the way, I’m Connor and you are?” Jake thought this would be a sure-fire way to fool Alex and he had a smirk on his lips as he held out his paw.

“Come off it, Jake.” Alex grinned down at him. “I know that you know that I’m me, just like you know that I know you’re you. So why don’t we talk about why you’re here rather than who we are.”

Jake’s jaw dropped. “H-how’d you know it was me?” he inquired in shock.

“Your curious stripe from your nose to your tail-tip.” Alex replied calmly. “Now, why are you here?”

“Um, I’ve decided to join you all and take down my dad.” Jake smiled inwardly at his lie, but Alex merely snorted.

“Are you sure Daddy Dearest didn’t send you to basically kill me and bring the rebellion to its knees?” she mocked.

Jake gasped and took a step back. “H-how…?”

Alex tapped her charm necklace. “I study witchcraft, remember?” the purple-furred girl reminded him. “So, I tapped into your dad and followed his movements. Now, Jake, is the time for your choice.”

She circled him slowly as he stood straight; she was the wolf and he was her prey. “Are you with me…” she crept up to his ear and whispered, “or against me?”

Jake shivered and thought a moment. “Cassidie was your friend too, Jake.” Alex reminded him, still circling. “She helped you make friends when everyone else shunned you at first. She helped you get a part-time job at the Skull Park concession stand. She was there for you through everything. Are you going to sit back and let her die in vain?”

This caught Jake in the heart and he set his jaw once more. His father be damned to Tartarus. “You’re right, Alex.” he said. “She was my friend and I’m not going to let her die in vain. I’m with you.”

Alex nodded solemnly. “Let’s get you recruited.”

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