Ancient Wolves - Prophecy of the Ruins

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Chapter 11

I didn’t know how long I had been dancing, but when I stopped and caught my breath, it was almost like waking up from a dream. I was the only one remaining from the group we had joined before. Gunnar stood further away, talking to a small group of people, but it almost seemed as if he had never dropped his gaze off of me.

My cheeks felt hot, and I moved a loose strand of hair behind my hair. I was weirdly embarrassed, but I didn’t understand why. I had only done what everyone else did. Why did I feel like I made a mistake? And why did I not feel guilty about it? I couldn’t remember when I had as much fun recently.

Gunnar strode towards me, a smile on his face. “Did you enjoy yourself?”

“I did,” I said without hesitation. “Thank you.”

I was grateful he brought me here, and that he gave me the chance to experience this as much as I had my reservations.

“I’m glad to hear that.”

I nodded, fiddling with my hair. For a moment, I was out of words, unsure of what to say. I glanced at him, seeing him roaming his eyes around the clearing. He was relaxed, but I still sensed his wolf under the calm surface. I don’t know what it was, but something seemed to rile him up.

He dropped his gaze to me, and I stared at the tree behind him.

“The food will be ready soon. Are you hungry?”

“Yeah, I could eat,” I said, even though thinking about a big feast with unknown wolves created an uncomfortable feeling in my stomach.

“Mia?” A familiar voice called from behind me.

I turned around, my eyes widening. “James? What are you doing here?”

Relief flooded me, seeing a familiar face, followed by shock. James being here could only mean he knew about the ancient wolves, right?

“I could ask you the same,” he muttered, staring at the ground.

“So, you met before,” Gunnar said.

“Yes, of course. We are working together,” I said. Was James actually a wolf, too? But I would have realized that. “I’m only surprised to meet him here.”

“Jelto is part of my pack,” Gunnar said.

I expected this answer, but I felt like my legs were about to give out. He is part of his pack? He was a wolf all these years, and I never figured that out?

“I didn’t realize he was a wolf,” I whispered, to myself. I always thought I could still pick up other wolves, even without my own. When I met Gunnar, it was clear as day to me, too.

“You probably lost most of your wolf senses, and Jelto is a very weak wolf. He is one of my omegas,” Gunnar said, staring at James- or Jelto. “Don’t make such a face. I’m not mad. This celebration is supposed to be fun!”

James nodded, slowly raising his head to look at me.

“So, why James if your name is Jelto?” I asked.

“I never liked my name much. My second name is James, and I preferred to use that one over the other when I’m with humans.”

“What do you want to be called, then?”

He shrugged. “Wolves usually call me Jelto. Everyone here does. But you can call me whatever you want, really. I don’t mind either way.”

I raised a brow, not satisfied with his answer. “I see. So, your girlfriend is a wolf, too. Can I meet her?”

I always wanted to meet his girlfriend, and giddy excitement bubbled up in me. What kind of woman would she be?

He shuffled around and remained silent, looking at everything but me again.

“She isn’t a wolf,” Gunnar growled. A cold shiver ran down my spine. I shouldn’t have started this topic.

“And neither is Mia! She shouldn’t be here!” Jelto countered, his chin high and a confident gleam in his eyes.

The air shifted. An omega shouldn’t behave like this towards his alpha. I remembered that much, and we didn’t have omegas in our pack. Gunnar’s wolf jumped to the surface, a low growl in his throat. I moved closer to him, hoping I could intervene if he was going to attack Jelto.

“I would have known. I worked with her for years! Why is she here? You always said humans aren’t allowed to be here whenever I wanted to bring my girlfriend along!”

“Let’s calm down, shall we? We are disturbing the others,” I said, feeling the rage of the other pack members radiating around us. They were concerned by the alpha’s mood, and I wasn’t sure if they realized I wasn’t the one who caused this. Not exactly, anyway. But I didn’t want to find out what they would do to a stranger who angers their alpha.

Gunnar took a deep breath, and the music stopped, almost as if the world was on hold for a moment. I heard my heartbeat in my ears, and the tightness in my chest made it hard to breathe. I turned to Gunnar, placing my hands on his arms, trying to make him look at me. This was a completely crazy idea. You didn’t stop an alpha from disciplining one of his wolves-not as a weak human!

“Gunnar, it’s okay. He didn’t know better, and he is confused. This isn’t worth it. You said we want to have fun, and it seems like everyone is concerned.”

I searched his eyes, still trying to make him focus on me, and when he did, my heart almost stopped beating. His eyes glowed dangerously, his wolf so close to the surface that it might as well jump into my face.

His eyes bore into mine, my mouth going dry. I had to force myself to stay upright. Everything in me was screaming to show him the respect his wolf wanted, but I didn’t want to. I wanted to remain strong.

After a long, tense minute, he finally sighed and relaxed visibly. The surrounding air lightened, and I let out a breath I held, dropping my stiff hands from his arms.

“Amalia is my guest and hence she will enjoy this celebration with us. Jelto, we will talk about this later. I won’t let anyone question my decisions, especially not when they don’t know the entire story. But for now, enjoy the evening. It only comes once a year,” Gunnar said, his voice calm.

Jelto nodded with wide eyes. He had paled significantly and took his chance to flee as soon as he could, not looking back at me.

I rubbed my arms, feeling cold suddenly. “Well, that was something.”

He turned to me, a frown on his face. “This was dangerous and you know that. You don’t go against an alpha, even more so when it’s not yours.”

I huffed. “What should I have done instead? Letting you discipline him? What kind of sight would that have been during this celebration? Isn’t this all about peace and harmony and all?”

It’s when I realized the music played again. The people had moved away from us and seemed at ease. It was almost as if nothing had happened. Everything stands and falls with the alpha’s mood, and that was fascinating to see. Especially considering he wasn’t the only alpha here, with all the allied packs celebrating together.

“I could have hurt you!”

I chuckled. “Yes, you could have, but I knew you wouldn’t. Besides, I survived worse.”

He was about to answer when Tyra popped up next to me. “Come on, you two, let’s eat.”

“Sounds great,” I said and followed her, leaving Gunnar behind. I knew there was something he meant to say, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to hear it. We moved to the long table and chose a spot close to the middle of it.

After everyone settled, Gunnar stood up and raised a glass into the air.

“Once again, Beltane arrived, ending the winter and introducing the spring. I’m glad we all could make it this year, too. Let’s feast and enjoy ourselves to the fullest. Let’s be thankful for what nature has offered us,” Gunnar said, his voice booming over the field.

The table cheered, and we all waited for him to stand up to grab something to eat before the men and women sitting at his sides stood up as well and followed suit. For him to start the meal meant he was the strongest wolf here, even with the other packs around. I already expected that, but I was still impressed.

When the group returned to the table, the rest slowly stood up, too.

Tyra pulled me up. “Come on, let’s grab something to eat. I’m so hungry.”

“Are you sure I should get something to eat already? I’m a stranger, after all. No rank, no power.”

She laughed. “Don’t worry, Gunnar said you are his guest, which means you have a lot of privileges. No one will harm you here.”

I wasn’t sure if I believed her, but let myself be pulled along. “I hope you are right.”

She handed me a plate and smiled. “It will be fine. I swear, stop worrying so much. Fill up your plate. The food is always amazing.”

I watched her shoveling food on her plate from the buffet and started doing the same. The food did look amazing, and the smell was making my mouth water.

And she was right. The food was probably the best I ever had.

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