Chapter II: The New Mission
My phone rang as I pulled on my leather jacket and grabbed my tumbler of coffee from my kitchen counter. I took a sip of the dark, straight black brew from the tumbler before answering the phone. “What’s up, Liv?”
“Hey, witch-bitch.” I rolled my eyes at her nickname for me. “You heading to the station?”
“Yeah, I’m about to open the portal.”
“Oh, good. Can you pick me up on the way? I let my Rolf borrow my portal stone.”
“Liv, how many portal stones do I have to make you?” I asked, chuckling a little as I held the phone to my ear with my shoulder. I quickly swept my hand in a circular motion and waited as the portal orb grew in size. Liv ended the call as I stepped into her apartment.
“He promised he would bring it back this time!” Liv protested. I narrowed my eyes at her sheepish expression and instantly added making her a new stone to my to-do list. Rolf was Liv and I’s close friend and one of the only wolves we tolerated being around. To be fair, Rolf had the charm of a Disney prince. Well, if Disney princes used their charm on other princes that is.
“Sure,” was all I said before moving my hand to create a new portal. We stepped into the station and immediately were greeted with the constant chaos of the station. I downed my coffee as we passed the portal rows with agents coming and going. The phones were ringing as recruits answered them to take complaints of supernaturals. We turned into a hallway and I tossed the mug into my shared office with Liv as we made our way down the hallway to the Captain’s office.
“What’s up, Cap?” Liv said as soon as we stepped into the office. Our Captain looked up from his paperwork and rolled his eyes at us.
“If it isn’t my two favorite pains in the ass,” he responded with a smile. The Captain was an incredibly old warlock who had been running the SEA since I joined it a couple of centuries ago.
“What’s the deal with the dog you want us to bring in?” I asked as I sat down in a chair and put my Doc Martens on his desk, which I did because I knew it annoyed him. He casually pushed them off as he rounded the furniture, as he always did.
“I don’t know for sure. The pack’s Alpha reported him for treason but here’s the catch: the perp is the Alpha’s Beta. I trust you and Liv to do a good job with it.” I nodded my assent and tuned out the details as he gave them to Liv. Why would an Alpha report his Beta for treason and not give a reason why?
Hours later, I was still thinking over possibilities as I ignored Liv’s complaints. We were hiking through a forest to get to the heart of the pack’s territory and she was not happy about ruining her new heeled boots.
“Does this case seem a little weird to you? Cases always have a reason,” I blurted as I smacked a tree branch blocking my path.
“I don’t really care to be honest,” Liv snorted. “Wolves are fucking weird, girl. I don’t know why it’s bothering you so much; you love taking wolves down.” I nodded because she was right. In the past, I loved taking down werewolves. I knew my reason for it stemmed from my distaste for the species but I didn’t care. Wolves tended to be assholes.
I stopped suddenly as my nose picked up a scent. It was definitely a wolf and male. The scent reminded me of the woods after a rainstorm. Liv picked up the scent a second later and climbed a high tree to keep a lookout while also not angering the wolves with her presence. We had decided that I would do the pack intel on my own as they wouldn’t be open around a vampire, even if she was a SEA agent. I barely noticed her movement, however, because I was too busy trying to rein in my beast. The scent had caused it to go wild and started wildly attacking the mental barrier I kept caged in. I took a deep breath and exhaled through my nose. After a few seconds, the beast was subdued but it was definitely not happy about it. Something had stirred it into action more than anything in the past centuries had. I squared my shoulders and kept moving; I had a job to do.
At first, I tried following the scent but it grew fainter and I realized it wasn’t very fresh, which made me wonder why it had bothered me so much. However, I did pick up on another, fresh scent. This must have been what Liv had sensed as it was close. I sniffed the air and took note of the scent. It was feminine, around my age, and getting closer. I slowed my pace to let the wolf find me and also to take more time to examine the scent. It felt almost familiar but I had no idea why. I had interacted with very few wolves who weren’t criminals.
The wolf found me as I entered a small clearing. She was a light grey and definitely had a strong bloodline, possibly alpha, judging from her size. She approached me when I stopped in the middle of the clearing and circled me. My hair shifted slightly as she breathed in my scent and decided if I was to be trusted.
Finally, she shifted as she came back around to my front. I held in my wince at the sound of bones snapping as she transformed. She stood naked in front of me, studying me as I did the same. She was slender and tall with an athletic build. Her blonde hair was loose around her face and her cornflower blue eyes seemed kind.
“Well, I guess I should ask. Who are you and what are you doing on pack land?” she questioned, her smile brightening her face.
“My name is Raine. I’m a Supernatural Enforcement Agent sent here to investigate your beta who was accused of treason.” I made sure to say investigate because I had no idea if I would be leaving with the perp. Wolves maintained the right to punish their own after they were found guilty by the SEA. In fact, most of the SEA’s werewolf cases were rogues and most packs didn’t even bother reporting crimes in their pack. However, if the pack wanted assistance finding a missing wolf or hunting one down, the SEA was required to help.
“Oh, well I’m Gemma. I’m the Gamma of the pack,” she said. Her demeanor changed and she seemed a little less friendly towards me. It made me question if she knew something I could use for the case. I mentally noted that I’d have to talk to her later.
“I’ll lead you up to the packhouse.” I waited as she quickly changed into some clothes that were stashed behind a nearby tree before following her farther into the woods. We quietly walked until she suddenly blurted out a question. “Have we meet? Your scent is incredibly familiar and my instincts are telling me I should know who you are.”
I started a little at the question. The fact that she also found my scent familiar made me nervous and I resolved that I would get this case over with as soon as possible. “No, I don’t think we’ve ever met.”
She nodded, looking away and into the forest. We stayed silent until we finally crested a large hill and spotted the packhouse. It looked like a giant rustic cabin that had been renovated to appear more modern. “House my ass, that’s a damn mansion,” I muttered under my breath. She must have heard me though because she burst out laughing.
“You know what?” she asked. “You might be here to investigate my pack but I have a feeling we could be good friends.” She smiled widely as she said it and I tried to ignore the piece of me that agreed with her. I trusted very few wolves and none of them after just meeting them. I ended up just nodding slightly and giving her a tight smile.
She opened the glass door of the packhouse and I followed her through the halls to be back of the house. Wolves of all ages stopped and stared at me as I passed; I held my head high as I walked past them. They could stare all they wanted but I had a job to do.
Gemma glanced around and realized that I was being gawked at. She let out a low growl that snapped the others to attention. They all gave a small nod before continuing on their way. “Perks of being a Gamma with an Alpha bloodline,” she responded to my silent question. “Don’t think anything of the looks. We just don’t get many non wolf visitors, and your scent is a little peculiar.”
“Yeah, I’ve been told that before.”
She stopped in front of a door and stopped in front of it. She brushed her hair out of her eyes with one hand as her eyes glazed over. I recognized the look; it was the same look Rolf had when he was mind linking with another wolf. She turned around and looked at me, an apprehensive grin on her face.
“The Alpha is ready for you.”