Ancient Wolves - Prophecy of the Ruins

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Chapter 26

“Mia!” Stephany said with a broad smile when I entered the office. I scanned the room for other people and a weight lifted off my shoulders when I realized she was alone.

“Hey!” I pulled a chair close to her and sat down.

She leaned forward and patted my knee. “I missed you. It’s been so lonely here.”

My heart clenched, feeling even worse for leaving soon. “I’m sorry for not dropping by like I usually did. I had a few things going on.”

Her face fell. “Did something happen?”

I shrugged. “Yeah, kinda. A lot actually, but I came here to bid farewell. I quit.”

“You quit?” She asked with wide eyes, almost as if she didn’t believe what I had said.

I nodded. “I’m going to move away tomorrow.”

Her mouth fell open as she stared at me. “Tomorrow? Already?”

“It all happened quickly, and with how things stand, I want to leave here as fast as I can.”

She gaped at me before clearing her throat, visibly trying to pull herself together. “What about George? Was he able to leave so suddenly, too?”

I sighed and fiddled with a loose thread on my jacket. “George will probably stay here.”

“I’m not sure if I understand the situation correctly,” she admitted. “Will he leave later?”

“I ended things with George.”

The room was silent for a moment, almost overwhelmingly quiet.

Stephany grabbed both of my hands tightly, and I glanced up at her. The color had drained from her face as she searched my eyes. “How come? Did something happen? You seemed so happy.”

I shrugged, my chin quivering as I tried to overplay it with a smile. “I suppose in the end we weren’t meant for each other. It was better to end it now than to hold on to a relationship that slowly broke apart.”

She nodded slowly. “I’m sorry. I assumed everything appeared so perfect. But you can always talk to me about it when you feel like it.”

“Thank you. It’s difficult for me at the moment, and I want to leave and focus on something else for a while.”

“I can understand. A fresh wind might help you feel better. Maybe we can meet up and talk when things calmed down. I can always offer a shoulder to cry on, and I can bring those biscuits you like so much.”

A laugh escaped me. “Thank you.”

She let go of my hands and leaned back in her wheelchair, eyeing me curiously. “I suppose you also don’t want to tell me about your eyes?”

I bit the insides of my cheeks. I had forgotten about my switch of eye color once again. “No, I’m sorry.”

She smiled. “It’s fine! If you don’t want to talk about it, I won’t force you.”

Her eyes sparkled with curiosity, but I appreciated she didn’t push to ask me more. Instead, she took the chance to tell me about all the things that happened the past few days, until she couldn’t ignore the phone calls anymore. I left the office with a heavy heart.
The work might have been troublesome and nerve-wracking sometimes, but I liked it, and I would miss Stephany. Too bad we only had so little time together. Maybe, when things had calmed down, and I was sure I wasn’t a danger to anyone, I might meet up with her again.

I took the chance to visit Clemens after, hoping he already prepared the paperwork. True to his word, he had everything ready, and after another awkward hug and heartfelt words, I walked back to my bungalow.

There were still a few hours left before the BBQ started, and I took the chance to clean the bungalow. I also tried to clean the black stain on the ceiling, but it was hopeless. They would have to paint over it.

“I hope I’m not too early,” I said to Tyra when I entered their bungalow in the evening.

She shook her head. “Not at all. We can head over soon. I just have to fix my hair real quick.”

I sat down at the dinner table. “Take your time!”

Svea trotted over and jumped onto my lap, hitting her head on the table.

I nudged her. “You really do like to cuddle. Aren’t you a bit too big to sit on my lap?”

Svea barked and pressed her wet nose in my face. I laughed and pushed her away.

Tyra glanced out of the bathroom. “Everything okay here?”

“Yeah, all good.”

“I’m sorry about Svea. I don’t know why she is so obsessed with you.”

I smiled and patted her head. “It’s fine. I don’t mind at all.”

Tyra nodded and pulled her head back, a hairdryer stopping any sort of conversation.

Around ten minutes later, Tyra left the bathroom, her hair pulled up in a bun, a few curls framing her face. She wore a bright yellow maxi dress with a denim jacket thrown over her shoulders, looking stunning.

“Am I dressed too casually?” I asked, looking down at my washed-out jeans, white shirt, and black converse.

She laughed. “Not at all!”

I stared at her, not sure if she was telling the truth, but even if she didn’t, I had no option to change into a different outfit now.. All my things were packed away, and it was only a small BBQ. I was pretty sure there were more important matter at hand than my choice of clothing, such as the matter that I got thrown away by a bonfire last time I met the pack. Way to leave an impression.

“Well, let’s go then,” she said, grabbed her keys, and heaved the heavy pup from my lap into her arms.

On our way to the BBQ, my stomach grew heavy with worry. “Are you sure they won’t mind that I’m coming along? Last time, I caused quite the scene.”

She smiled. “Don’t worry, you are our guest and when the alpha invites you as a guest, no one will mind. Last time wasn’t a big deal, either.”

I huffed. I wasn’t convinced, but didn’t argue with her. It was too late to back down now. After this, I can return to my home and focus on myself.

When we reached the place in the forest, it looked completely different compared to the last time. They didn’t decorate as much, but the small lights around the place made it look calming and the atmosphere was carefree. A band played again, and several groups of people spread around the area, speaking to each other.

It didn’t take long before they realized we had arrived and all heads turned in our direction. It was as if they followed my every movement, making me want to turn around and leave, but instead, I held my head high. They didn’t know how uncomfortable they made me feel.

“There you are!” Gunnar shouted from across the field, and if they weren’t staring before, now they were. I glared at him before plastering a smile on my face.

He moved toward us with big steps and a huge smile on his face.

“Here we are,” I said when he reached us.

“Great! I almost thought you might leave without coming.”

I raised a brow. “I said I would come, though.”

He laughed. “Yeah, but it would have been easy for you to disappear now.”

I playfully nudged his arm, still painfully aware of the stares on us. “You know I wouldn’t.”

His eyes softened even more as he guided us to the middle of the field.

“That’s her?” Someone whispered in the crowd.

“Yeah,” another answered.

I glanced around to find out who was talking about me, but all the eyes on me made it hard to pinpoint where it was coming from. One man parted from the group I was staring at and walked towards us.

He was very tall and skinny, with a scar on the right side of his face.

“Gunnar, is this the popular girl that got thrown away by the fire?” He asked, eyeing me up and down with a smirk.

I wanted to dig a hole right to the core of the earth and jump into it.

“Bertram,” Gunnar said in a warning tone, his body tensing.

“I suppose that’s me,” I said, and chuckled, trying to lift the mood.

Bertram’s gaze moved back to me, and he bobbed his head, reaching out his hand for a handshake. “I’m Bertram, nice to meet you.”

“Amalia,” I said and shook his hand. He held my hand longer than I would call appropriate, but I said nothing about it. If I’m lucky, I won’t see this person ever again, and there was no need to start a scene.

“That was quite the thing I heard about you during Beltane. I sadly wasn’t around to see it myself. Must have been in the woods somewhere,” he said and winked.

I laughed uncomfortably, hoping he won’t drag this topic out. I only wanted to join for a short BBQ, not be the center of attention the entire evening.

A few other men came closer and surrounded us. I stepped closer to Gunnar, sweat breaking out all over my body, feeling trapped.

“Bertram, I don’t know what you are playing at, but I advise you to stop,” Gunnar said. His voice was so low that the hair on my arms stood up.

Bertram glanced at Gunnar once and grinned. “I also got to know something interesting about you.”

“Oh, really?” I asked hesitantly. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to hear any rumors about myself, but at the same time, I wanted to know what was being spoken about behind my back.

He nodded. “Yeah, apparently, you are the last living wolf of your pack.”

I stared at him, a shiver running down my spine. How did he know about my pack?

“Even though everyone thought your entire pack was dead,” someone else added.

“What makes you think I’m part of that pack, then?” I clenched my hands into fists behind my back, hoping they were bluffing as much as I was. But it was too specific to be a lie. They knew.

“You are from the Ruinas pack, aren’t you?” Bertram asked.

I glanced at Gunnar and Tyra, trying to figure out if they were the ones spreading the word, but they shook their heads ever so slightly.

“You look just like your mother,” he added.

I gaped at him, my heart beating up in my throat. How did he figure it out? Who told him? I was hiding for eight years, and he randomly exposed my secret.

“Ruinas? Weren’t they all dead?” A voice asked from the crowd. I only now realized how many people edged closer to us. There was not a single exit to leave this circle of people. My mouth went dry.

“Yeah, I thought they all died,” another voice said.

Bertram’s eyes flashed dangerously. “One is left, after all. Hiding the truth.”

I took a few steps back, bumping into Tyra. She grabbed my hand and smiled. “Don’t listen to him. He is only trying to stir you up.”

“I think everyone deserves to know the truth! You are trying to protect a traitor, a liar!”

I looked back at him, my face burning with anger. I clenched my teeth together to stop myself from screaming at him.

“I wonder how you escaped. Didn’t you want to die with the rest of the traitors?”

“What are you talking about?” I bit out.

He stepped closer to me, narrowing his eyes. “Don’t act as if you don’t know. Everyone knows your pack went on a hunt once again, trying to kill the Vindictoria pack to repeat history.”

Gunnar stepped into Bertram’s way, making him stop in his tracks, but his smirk was still plastered on his face as he stared at me.

“You should have died with the rest of them. You want to start trouble here, I know it! The fire already proved you can’t have good intentions, little traitor.”

My body started shaking, and my vision blurred. Bright flashes appeared in the corner of my eyes and a sharp pain rushed through my head, causing bile to rise in my throat.

Tyra said something to me, but I couldn’t make out a word she said over the ringing in my ears.

Bertram stared back at me victoriously. As if he solved the riddle of the century.

“You don’t know what you are talking about,” I said, voice shaking. “You have no idea, so how dare you accuse me of being a traitor!”

“Amalia,” Gunnar said next to me, touching my shoulder gently, but I shook it off.

“You can’t hide the truth any longer. You and your rotten pack are nothing more than traitors. They all deserved to die,” Bertram spat.

Something snapped in my head, and an awful heat crawled through my body, making me scream from the top of my lungs. Pain crawled all over me, digging its claws deep into my skin and bones. I fell to my knees, unable to hold my weight, and when I thought I couldn’t take the pain anymore, a big flash of light burst out of me, knocking everyone around me off their feet.

My vision went black for a moment, and it took me a while to see clearly again, but then I immediately knew what had happened. After all these years, I turned back into a wolf.

I was complete again.

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