Ancient Wolves - Prophecy of the Ruins

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Chapter 70

Tyra jumped into action, helping the wolf that was winding on the floor from Vincent’s touch. I wanted to tell her to be careful, but not a word left my dry throat. My ears started ringing, and I knew I had to do something, but I felt paralyzed, rooted into place.

What was I supposed to do? I might be the protector of the ruins, but I never learned what to do in situations like these. Why aren’t the ancient mages here to help us? Right, because they send us to the front to do the dirty work in their stead.

“Mia! Don’t look like a deer in the headlights, move!” Tyra shouted at me before she switched into her wolf and knocked Vincent off his feet.

I shook my head and stretched my fingers to get rid of the tingling sensation running up from my fingertips. The world started spinning around me, as I tried to form even one clear thought.

Foreign wonders whispered in my ears, as little lights danced around my skin. I knew the ruins wanted to tell me something, but I still couldn’t figure out what it was exactly.

Behind me, several wolves rushed toward us, and their murdering eyes made it clear that they weren’t on my side. I gasped, jumping to the side as they rushed past me to help their alpha, who still hadn’t changed into his wolf, wrestling with Tyra.

He had his hand pressed on her face, his eyebrows pulled together. Tyra pushed against him, her body shaking by his power, but she didn’t retreat, kept fighting on until she got tackled into the side by one wolf who had joined us.

My wolf crept out of the corner and urged me to help her, but we both knew she wouldn’t be able to surface. I stared at my bloody hands, helplessness drowning me.

The growls and yelps drew into the distance, as I felt like my soul was leaving my body. Suddenly, I could see the ruins from above, staring at the scene. Below the ruins, there were still many wolves fighting, but way too many were lying on the floor, lifeless.

A shimmer of light wrapped around the ruins like a sheer blanket, sailing in the wind. Tyra and the other wolf, which I now realize was Bertram, were still fighting against Vincent and the other Vindictoria wolves. I searched for Gunnar, who had somehow rolled on his back, staring into the sky. My breath hitched in my throat as I felt his eyes meet mine.

I lowered myself to the ground, touching his skin, feeling it tingle under my transparent fingertips. He smiled as he placed his hand on mine, even if it ran through it like it didn’t exist.

“Can you see me?” I asked, my voice sounding higher than it usually does and far, far away.

Gunnar nodded. “Of course, I can.”

I glanced at my unmoving body, still standing on the same spot, blood dripping from my arms onto the floor.

“I don’t think you should see me,” I said, dropping my eyes back to him.

His eyes softened. “I know.”

An icy shiver ran through me, and I wanted to pull him into my arms, holding him close to me and feeling his warmth. But I couldn’t. His T-shirt was covered in blood, and seeing the hole where the bullet entered his body made me dizzy.

“You can’t die here, Gunnar.”

A strangled laugh left his mouth before he coughed, scrunching his face in pain. “Believe me, I also don’t want to die here. I haven’t even married you yet.”

I shook my head, feeling tears welling up, but instead of tears, glittering powder dropped onto him, disappearing when they landed on the fabric of his T-shirt. “You are so cheesy sometimes.”

He smiled, but it twisted into a frown as he reached out to touch my face. “There are still so many things I wanted to share with you, so many places I wanted to explore with you. I haven’t had the chance to really get to know you and show you who I am. There was supposed to be so much I wanted to experience, but it ended in a blink of an eye, with a bullet to the chest. I always wondered what Aloysious must have felt like when he got shot, trying to get back to his wife and kids. The desperation to stay alive, the will to see your loved ones one more time. I can understand it now.”

“And you will get to experience all of that, Gunnar. It’s not time yet to go. It can’t end like this. Life can’t be so cruel!”

He just stared at me, not uttering a single word. The muffled noises reached my ears again, and I spotted Tyra on the floor, trying to get up again, while another wolf pushed her to the ground. I gasped, as it felt like the world was going into slow motion.

This can’t be happening. I can’t lose everyone again. The prophecy was supposed to end differently, not like this.

“What is there I was supposed to do to stop this?!” I screamed into the sky, my voice echoing into the distance, and time stopped.

I held my breath as I looked around, seeing everyone frozen in space. A flash of light burst out of the ruins, into the sky, exploding like a firework. My heart jumped in my chest and I backed away, closing my eyes, blinded by the brightness of it.

When I slowly opened them again, I saw small lights dancing through the air, and more and more clumped together, forming a silhouette of what looked like a naked woman, out of light. Long hair dropped to the floor, looking like waves of golden water. When she opened her eyes, it was as if I saw the universe in it, blackness with stars blinking in the dark.

A smile spread over her lips as I stared at her. “Young alpha of the Ruina’s pack.”

Her voice made me shiver. It almost sounded as if it was echoing inside my head. “Who are you?”

She held a hand in front of her mouth and chuckled softly. “I’m the soul of the Ruins. The energy, the power. I’m Balance.”

From behind her, I could see a form jumping out of my body, landing on four feet and strolling towards us. I rubbed my eyes, not believing that I saw my wolf in front of my eyes, coated in the same light I was covered in. She bowed to the figure, her head low.

“You fought well. Raise your head,” the woman said, brushing over my wolf’s head. “You both fought well.”

I shook my head, trying to find the right words. “I don’t quite understand who you are.”

She tilted her head to the side. “I’m Balance.”

“Yes, I heard that, but is that your name, or what do you mean?”

“It is my name, and my purpose.”

“I thought balance was what we are supposed to keep to stop the world from falling into misery?”

She smiled. “Yes. It’s the balance that is important to keep, to have a stable place on Earth. It’s me and my sisters. We keep the balance.”

I blinked at her. When my grandparents kept talking about balance, did they mean her? It never sounded as if the ancient mages were speaking about some divine light people when they were speaking about balance. “That’s new?”

Another chuckle echoed through the air, sounding like wind chimes playing in the wind. “My sisters and I rarely show ourselves. There are only a few people that are close enough to our magic to see us or feel us. Your grandparents, young alpha, had a strong bond with our magic, and it seems they might have given it to you.”

“That makes no sense. I have no special powers or anything in particular. Not even my wolf talent is all so special.”

My wolf turned to me and snarled.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you.”

She huffed but pressed her head against my hand. I couldn’t explain the feeling that rushed through me when I touched her. She was basically part of my soul, not meant to be in the same space as my human body. But I felt warmth building in my stomach as she looked up at me, her trusting eyes full of understanding and love.

“Some things are so valuable that they are invisible to the naked eye. What you have is much more than incredible strength or the power of destruction.”

She looked over her shoulder at the group of people fighting, her eyes glued to Vincent. “And some even drown in the gifts they have, and the power they want, ready to sacrifice everything to fulfill such a meaningless desire.”

“But if I have such great powers, why couldn’t I stop my pack from dying, to stop all of this from happening?” I asked.

“Balance is fickle. Sometimes only great sacrifice can bring balance back into the world. Only pain, hardship, and mourning can build a better place. As unfair as it feels, it’s a giving and taking that needs to happen to bring it all back in order.”

“Why my family, though?” I almost wanted to shake her and make her feel my frustration. “Didn’t we protect these lands for centuries? Why are we getting punished?”

She reached forward and caressed my cheek, and I felt a warmth I didn’t expect to feel from her. “This place got damaged to almost no return, young Alpha. I almost died that one night all those years ago, and I could barely hold on to whatever was left of this wonderful place. I suffered for many, many years, struggling to keep on living, even with the great imbalance that had happened. Furthermore, I wouldn’t have survived the fight that was supposed to happen. No fight, in fact. A sacrifice needed to happen, and it had to hurt. Otherwise, there wouldn’t have been a chance for me to stay alive. I would have died like so many of my sisters before me.”

I choked up, clenching my hands into fists. “But why us? Why not the Vindictoria pack? The ancient mages told me it was because I had to learn a lesson, I couldn’t have learned any other way. Was that even true?”

Her hand fell to her side as a frown spread over her beautiful face. “The protectors of the ruins are what I hold close to me. I need you, and to bring back balance, I had to sacrifice what was most important to me. I didn’t want to lose your pack, your family, your parents, as they are part of me, too. But it had to be them. Something good had to disappear as punishment for what had happened.”

My chest tightened. “It all doesn’t make sense. Why are we getting punished for something someone else did? They should be punished!”

“Because you failed your task,” she said, her voice dropping. “Your ancestors failed the task of protecting me. It’s not me who made the rules, but it’s me who has to follow them. My task is to protect the Earth, so it’s yours to protect me. But you failed. Regardless of how it happened, it shouldn’t have!”

I flinched, my hands shaking from her tone. I didn’t dare to say a word.

She cleared her throat. “I loved them, believe me. If I had had a different choice, I wouldn’t have done it. But it was thanks to them I could gain back my strength, not struggling to survive, but thriving. We all put our hopes into your hands, wishing that you would grow up to learn that there is more than revenge and an endless fight between packs. That there is more than ancient wolves out there. And you grew strong. You overcame your hardships, and you learned to love. To appreciate life, even with its flaws and tragedy. You embraced what life offered you, and you made the right choices, bringing you here.”

My head was spinning from her words as I tried to make sense of what she said and combine it with what the ancient mages said. “I don’t understand, though. If it all was inevitable anyway, why did the ancient mages speak about spiritual levels and that I wouldn’t have been strong enough to hold the power of the ruins, and that’s why it all had to happen this way?”

She laughed. “Oh dear, the ancient mages also only know so much. It is true. You do need a higher spiritual level to wield my power, but their prophecies do not show all the truth. All their solutions ended the same because they all ended in a fight. Yes, you taking my power would have killed me one way or another, but any fight would have. Your strength only had little to do with that.”

I gaped at her. “But they told me I was unworthy, and that I was selfish for wanting to protect my pack!”

“Young alpha, listen to my words. Do not dwell on the words of the ancient mages. They are strong, and they know a lot, but they do not know everything. They are the barrier between the paranormal and the normal. And they are also a catalyst for my energy. With them, I can thrive, but with you, I can live. Never think that it would have been you destroying the ruins because you wanted to protect your pack. I choose who is worthy, not them. And you are worthy.”

My vision blurred as actual tears streamed down my face. “But why would they say that?”

She took my hands in hers and squeezed them. “They did not know better, but you know now. They tried to explain the loss of your family with the best knowledge they had. Don’t blame them for it. The ancient mages went through a lot of hardships, too. They lost so many of them. Without protectors, they can’t survive for long either. Your role in all of this is a lot larger than you might think, young alpha. It might not seem like it sometimes, and maybe you might feel you are only used for fighting and killing. But you being here offers a lot more than you can imagine.”

“They made it seem as if I was so insignificant,” I muttered, snuffling.

“The ancient mages have a thing for being stuck up. Don’t take it to heart,” she said, winking at me. A laugh escaped me, not expecting her to be so playful. She cupped my face and pulled me closer. I stared into the darkness of her eyes, feeling like I would get sucked into them any moment now.

“You have a wonderful and strong gift. You are meant to be a protector, never doubt that. And now, you have to fight for the people you love.”

“But how?”

She smiled. “I’m sure you know how. It’s time to listen to your heart, young alpha. You have a talent to ignore what you feel, so this time, you shouldn’t. And don’t forget, I’m here, and I’m guarding my protectors with all I can muster.”

She pressed a kiss on my forehead, and soon after she slowly vanished, disappearing into small lights, traveling back into the stone surface as if she had never stood in front of me in the first place.

I felt sucked back into my body and I gasped when I looked up. Everything started moving again. The pain that had been gone rushed back, making me gasp. But I knew what I had to do now. It was as clear as the sky above me.

I rushed to Gunnar, grabbing his hand and searching his eyes. When his gaze landed on me, I cleared my throat.

“My pack is your pack!”

As soon as the words left my mouth, wind whirled around us, and small lights popped up again, kissing my skin. I smiled, knowing it was her.

Gunnar’s eyes widened before a smile spread over his face, too. “And my pack is your pack.”

A big flash of light exploded around us, and for a moment I felt weightless as if a big boulder dropped off my chest. Gunnar took a deep breath and sat up as if he had received a second chance in life.

He reached forward, grabbing my face and pressing a kiss onto my lips. “I love you.”

I smiled, feeling like all life had left me, but with great effort, I placed my hands on his. “I love you.”

“It’s time to end this, fair and square,” he said, and stood up, turning to the group of fighting wolves with fire in his eyes.

He looked at Vincent, and with a wide grin he said: “Now let’s see which is the strongest pack around.”

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