Ancient Wolves - Prophecy of the Ruins

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Chapter 66

Footsteps came closer to me, and I held my breath, my hands trembling. I stared at the cabinet, hoping Svea would listen to me. The ringing stopped, but I saw two men entering the living room through the crack of the door. One stood right in front of it, only the door separating us.

“We know you are here. We can smell you. You either come out, or we will set the house on fire. But you have to come out eventually,” the one in the doorway said.

My heart dropped. If they set the house on fire, Svea wouldn’t be safe. My thoughts raced, unsure what step to take. My wolf urged me to let her out, but part of me was hoping we could wait here until help arrived.

The phone started ringing again, and I took a deep breath, grabbing the doorknob and slamming the door open, hitting the man right in the face. He groaned, holding his face as blood dripped down his chin. The other man whirled around, snarling at me. He tried to grab me, but I held my knife up, blocking his attack and cutting his arm. A painful shout left his mouth as I sidestepped him, slamming into the other man, and ran out of the house through the back door.

“Get her!” I heard one scream after me.

I pushed the backdoor open, flew down the stairs, and changed into my wolf midair. I landed with ease, rushing through the garden and hiding behind the shed. Several people followed me, shouting at each other. I scanned the area, trying to find the broken fence I still needed to fix to squeeze through the hole. But the bushes grew too thick, making it hard to spot.

When I finally saw it, I ran towards it at full speed, hoping they weren’t too close yet. I pushed through the leaves and the hole, almost getting stuck. It was a little smaller than I had remembered. I felt a piece of wire pressing into my skin, cutting my back open. But, I had no time to stop and check up on it.

“There she is! She got outside!”

I ran towards the forest, my eyes getting teary by the wind. From the corner of my eye, I saw a group of wolves following me, but they couldn't catch up. Maybe my superior speed would be good for something.

Finally reaching the forest, I crisscrossed between the trees, unsure where to go or where to hide. I felt warm blood trickling down my back and there was no way I could hide my track.

I was already pretty far into the forest, and I could still hear them behind me. I wondered how much time had passed and if someone had already rescued Svea.

“If I were you, I would stop running now! Unless you don’t care what happens to your human friend.”

His words made me lose my footing, and I crashed onto the ground, a yelp leaving my throat. I quickly got up again, but I hurt my leg and wasn’t able to run as fast anymore. Shockingly, I had forgotten about George because I was so focused on Svea. Dread filled me. How could I forget about him?

“We had a time limit to bring you to the meeting place. It’s almost over. And I believe I don’t have to tell you what will happen if it does.”

They slowly caught up to me while I desperately tried to climb up a slope. I was stuck in the middle of it, my legs not having enough strength to push me up further. The wound on my back pulsated, and my lungs ached with every breath.

“Just give up.”

I looked behind me, seeing six wolves looking up at me, not even attempting to get up. I growled, trying to reach the top, but I kept sliding back.

“You don’t leave me another choice. Don’t say I didn’t warn you,” the man’s voice echoed through the forest. Surprised, I looked behind me again, seeing him point a gun at me. I yelped, trying to move desperately, but there was nothing I could have done when the bullet hit my left shoulder blade.

Pain exploded where the bullet entered my body, and for a moment, all I could see was blackness. I dropped to the ground, trying to breathe through the pain, but it wasn’t helping. My body slowly slid down the slope, and I could do nothing about it.

My wolf whined in my head, frustrated by the way they had caught us. But she couldn’t move on any longer either, her energy depleted quickly. I turned back, holding my arm as if it would help ease the pain. I ground my teeth and glared at the two men who walked towards me and pulled me up on each side. The urge to scream in pain almost overwhelmed me, but I bit my tongue, not wanting to mutter a sound. Sweat covered my forehead, and I felt dizzy. The cut on my back was a walk in the pack compared to the pulsating pain in my shoulder blade.

The man in front of me had one eye hidden away by an eye patch. A snarky smile spread over his face as he approached me, putting his gun away. He was such a coward for using a gun against a wolf. But who am I to judge? I used a knife against them.

He grabbed my chin and pulled my face towards him. “It could have been so easy, but you had to make it difficult for everyone, you filthy Ruinas scum.”

I spit into his face, a disgusting frown forming on his face as he punched me in the face, causing me to black out before I could even register the pain.

I woke up again when I got dragged into one of the abandoned production halls. My legs felt weak, and my entire body hurt. I could barely breathe through my nose, wondering if he broke it with his punch. When they realized I was conscious again, they tightened their grip on my arms. As if I had the energy to flee at this point.

It was dark inside the hall, and only a few dim lights offered a bit of light. I couldn’t see much, but I could feel plenty of eyes on me from the shadows. The hairs on my neck stood up, and the pent-up energy almost suffocated me.

We walked in silence for a little longer, but when I saw a lifeless body on the floor, my stomach dropped, and I pulled out of the hands that were holding me with the last energy I had, stumbling towards George. I checked his pulse, relieved when I could feel his heartbeat.

He groaned, and his eyes fluttered open. “Mia?”

I patted his shoulder. “Shh, everything will be fine.”

He tried to sit up, but I pushed him back to the ground. “Don’t move.”

George scanned my face, his brows furrowing. “What did they do to you?”

“Not now,” I said, closing my hand around his mouth to stop him from saying more. “Just shut up and stay down.”

I stared at him until he nodded, and I removed my hand. With shaky legs, I got back on my feet, looking at the man who sat on a chair with his back to us. “So, here I am now. What do you want?”

Laughter echoed through the empty hall as he turned around. “You have energy, I give you that.”

I stared at the man, not recognizing him. He wasn’t the alpha, though, at least not the one I knew. “Who are you?”

He grinned, long blonde hair falling into his eyes. The unknown man stood up and stepped into the light. Those blue eyes, I recognized those. He must be the son of that tyrant.

“I’m Vincent,” he said, bowing slightly.

I rolled my eyes at the gesture. “And let me guess, you are that asshole’s son.”

His fake smile dropped for a second before he set it back in place. “My father is the alpha, indeed. But I wonder if it’s wise to insult him, right in the middle of his pack.”

Low growls echoed through the halls, confirming my assumption that there must be plenty of them hiding around here. My wolf was on edge, unsure of how to respond. I didn’t know either, but I tried to stay calm and collected for now.

I smiled at him. “My, what an honor to meet his son! And what can I do for you?”

George stirred at my feet, looking as if he wanted to stand up.

“Stay down,” I growled at him, his eyes widening as he dropped back to the floor. Was it so hard to listen to me? I looked at him for a moment longer, recognizing his white and ashen skin and dry lips. I had to get him out of here quickly.

“You know, it took us so long to find you. I hate to admit it, but your pack did a brilliant job of making you disappear. And you played us like a fool as well. Too bad I wasn’t part of the assassination. I would have loved to strike you down personally.”

I clenched my hands into fists, my ears pounding, but I kept my smile in place regardless of how much I wanted to punch him in the face. “Oh please, what’s this? A trip down memory lane? Would you like to connect over our intertwined past?”

He sneered at me. “It was a big disappointment when we realized the ruins were still blocked and in the hands of your pack when you were nowhere to be found. We checked everywhere, all the hospitals, and no one had seen you. Almost as if you fell off the earth. But eventually, we decided it was only a matter of time until we would find you again. And here you are!”

I nodded slowly. “Sorry to break it to you, but you did a horrible job looking for me, considering I spent quite a few nights in a hospital right under your noses. But I guess intelligence isn’t the biggest strength of the Vindictoria pack. It’s more the killing and deceiving you are good at.”

He let out a long sigh and snapped his fingers. Two men approached me, and I growled at them. Unfazed, one of them reached down, trying to touch George, but I kicked his hand away. “Don’t you dare to lay a hand on him!”

Vincent laughed. “I like your determination. What’s this? Love for a human?”

Before I could answer him, I felt another hit on my head, making me lose my footing. I swayed, and the ringing of my ears blocked all other sounds for a moment. George grabbed my leg, trying to sit up again, but I glared at him. I tried to tell him to stop moving, but I couldn’t get a word out. The other man kicked him in the guts. George groaned as he got dragged away from me.

I wanted to stop him, but I couldn’t see clearly, and my tongue was still glued to the roof of my mouth.

“This all could have gone a lot differently. You could have left and handed over the territory with no one getting hurt. I gave you so many opportunities, but no threat worked, no attack worked. You didn’t even come here, knowing your friend was so roughed up. Makes me wonder if that is really love?”

I wanted to jump at him and chew his face off, but I couldn’t even stand straight. The worst part was that he wasn’t all too wrong. I chose Svea over George.

Vincent approached me slowly, looking out of place with his black suit and white shirt. He grabbed my face, turning my face left and right. “You have a pretty face, even with all those bruises. With a bit of work, we could get rid of that temper of yours, and you would make a wonderful wife. How about we make a deal?”

I stared up at him, hating how handsome he looked for someone so rotten inside. It’s always people like him who have the ugliest personality. I wondered how much time had passed and if Gunnar was already on his way here. Since I didn’t know, my only option was to drag out whatever Vincent had planned. “What deal?”

He smiled and pushed a strand of hair behind my ear with such care, I almost didn’t believe he had it in him. “I give you two choices. You either join my pack and maybe we could even bond with each other. I bet we would make a glorious alpha couple.” He studied my face, trying to find a reaction, but I tried to let no emotion slip. No way in hell would I ever join his pack or get anywhere near that asshole. He leaned closer, his lips almost touching my ear. “Or you choose to die.”

A shiver ran down my spine as he retreated, waiting for my response.

I smiled. “What about a third choice? You leave this place and hope that you will make it out alive?”

He let go of my face and took out a handkerchief to wipe his fingers clean. “Interesting proposition. But who should stop me? You and who else?”

I straightened and raised my brows. “What? I thought you knew I was allied with the Polstjärnan pack. You know, one of the largest and strongest packs around here? I could have imagined you knew that when you attacked the alpha’s niece?”

He grimaced. “That child was from their pack, after all. Well, that wasn’t planned or supposed to happen, but the wolf in question thought it would do me a favor if he would scare the little children you seem to care about so much. He didn’t recognize the scent and thought it was no pack worth mentioning. Bless him, he is still so young. But well, I suppose that seals the deal.”

Vincent dropped the handkerchief on the ground and let out a heavy sigh. “Truly regretful. But it was in your hands. I gave you an alternative. To avoid further delay, we should get moving. Your friends are probably on their way here already. Not that they will have much of a chance. We prepared for this for weeks now. I doubt they will have the manpower we have. Even the Polstjärnan will be overwhelmed. Pete! You take the human.”

Adrenaline shot through me like lightning, and without a second thought, I let my wolf out, charged Vincent, and brought him to the floor. He stared at me with wide eyes as I was about to bite down on his throat. I barely touched his skin when a gigantic wolf tackled me from the side, knocking me off Vincent. We slid over the cold floor, my shoulder exploding in pain once again. I got up on shaky legs, looking around to find George. A man strangled him as he clawed at the hands of the man.

My heart drummed in my chest, and the pain almost made me lose my mind. A deep growl from behind me sent a shiver down my spine. I looked over my shoulder, seeing the massive wolf snarling at me, his eyes shining bright red. He looked more like a monster than a wolf.

“If you act out of line one more time, that human will die on the spot. So, think about your next step thoroughly,” Vincent said, and I turned my gaze back on him, seeing him patting dust off his clothes.

I spotted several wolves moving towards us, staring me down. George whimpered, and I looked back at him, still seeing him struggle.

Reluctantly, I turned back. “Stop hurting him!”

Vincent nodded, and the man let go of George, throwing him to the ground. I wanted to help him, but I stood rooted in my place. He was still breathing. That was the most important thing right now. I glared at Vincent and wished him the worst in life.

He laughed, slowly approaching me again. “I love that glare of yours. It makes me feel all giddy. As much as I would like to see more of it, you wasted enough of my time. We should head out now.”

I was about to object and ask where he would take me, but he lifted a hand, stopping me, a smile spreading over his face. “Don’t take this personally.”

Before I could question what he meant, he grabbed me by the throat, and painful energy rushed through my body, making me feel like my soul was about to detach from my body, and only a second later, blackness greeted me yet again.

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