Several months had gone by already. All this time to rightfully establish myself in their pack. My wolf licking her chops in preparation to take a chomp off of what I initially came here for.
It was too easy to establish myself in the ranks of GrassTail. Their ranks were scattered by a recent change of authority, this new Alpha barely holding onto his pack with the tips of his claws. A traveler in need of a place to stay was easily dismissed.
“Lennet.” A male wolf calls my attention, respectively using my last name that I had given upon arrival. Turning my head, I drink in his appearance. He’s easy on the eyes, but it’s his smell that makes him displeasing to my wolf. He lacks a smell of strength.
A wide grin spreads across his face as my eyes meet his. His bare chest puffs out slightly, proud that I was taking him in. “Mante.” His last name rolls off of my tongue.
Mante smells of battle. Fresh off of the battlefield, he is glistening in sweat that rolls down his skin the way his eyes take me in. I have to suppress the urge to roll my eyes at him; he is nothing to me. But it doesn’t hurt to get comfortable with the zeta in training of his pack.
“I take it that you won, considering that you’re in one piece.” A knowing smirk pulls at my lips, patting his ego on the back.
He only laughs, not needing to confirm or deny what I said. He plops down next to me on the slope I chose to watch from. The air is heavy with the smell of pride and death from fallen wolves below.
I was not the only female that had come to watch the show of dominance; beating back the wolves that sought to claim more territory than what they had. An even weaker pack than GrassTail. This victory will help the new Alpha feel like he belongs where he is, rooting himself into the title.
All too easy.
Cocky Alphas make mistakes. And he will soon be learning his mistake.
The wolves that lost their lives litter the open field, tainting the grass beneath them with their blood. The females watching in satisfied eyes as the males came back to boast their victory, ringing out into the air.
“Shouldn’t you be gloating in your victory with them, Mante?” I lean back on a propped elbow. A blond wisp of hair is caught in the slight breeze, touching Mante’s cheek as he looks at me. An unease settles in my stomach with how close he is to me. His jaw flexes and his eyes dilate before going back to normal.
“I should. Come with me Lennet, it’s time you start getting comfortable with GrassTail.” I can tell from the way his eyes stare at my blond wisp that he wants to grab it and smell it. The pretend mask I put on for all of my missions almost shatters with my need to turn my nose up at the subtle suggestion laying underneath what he said.
“Sure.” I give in to him. I shouldn’t, because it will only crush him when I leave. Mante grins and is up immediately, offering his hand to me. It takes me a second but I accept his hand, deepening the grin on Mante’s face.
Mante leads me to the gathering of celebrating wolves. I can see that Mante will be a good zeta to this pack; the way that he pats muscled backs and makes sure that no one is left out. The battle-hardened men look back at this zeta in training with a forming of respect.
From the corners of the field I can see the lesser pack that came to help slinking off without any thanks from GrassTail. The disrespect GrassTail has for the packs it leads is disgusting. Nothing but filth.
No one else seems to see or mind what I’ve seen. Mante’s eyes don’t look at them more than once. Perhaps a stronger zeta would have stopped the retreating pack and given them a personal thanks. I have to bite my tongue from saying this to Mante. My wolf is out of control with her thoughts today; hers bleeding into mine.
Mante’s fingers find my hand again, as if he’s won it to be able to grab it again. My fur bristles at his touch, but he eyes me. As if this male could assert dominance over me. I smooth my fur down and allow him to believe that it was him. I fake a show of submission and allow his fingers to interlock with mine. He slightly puffs up over his small victory.
The wolves chant and talk among themselves, their pride heavy. The feast tonight will be in honor of their bravery. A weaker pack, but I can appreciate their victory with them.
Mante introduces me to a few of his friends. I’m surprised that these males I’m being introduced to are the sons of high rankings. This settles underneath my skin and makes me uncomfortable. Mante is introducing me to the beta’s son and the gamma’s.
I smile kindly at them, indulging in useless conversation. They stand taller with their pride over their victory. The smell of sweat and blood hangs around the air with them. “What fine warriors you are. You will make great Betas and Gammas.” I almost purr to them. Mante has made a mistake by allowing me within their sight.
Peveril as I’m learning is the beta’s son has an awful habit of showing off for females. Later in his years it will make him weak. Eastridge can’t hold his ground next to Peveril. A weak soon-to-be Gamma.
My eyes don’t give away what thoughts my wolf has for these males.
Their prestige handed to them only through blood, they could be challenged easily. With the way some are staring at them, I don’t believe I am the only to think this way. I catch the eyes of a male glaring at the gamma’s son, and I send a small smile to him, encouraging that hateful glare. He grins back at me, his intent clear.
Inner turmoil among the pack is what is needed for the moment being. Not forever, but enough to get what I need.
That wolf parts his way through the crowd, coming to stand insultingly close to the gamma’s son. His eyes find mine again, but I give nothing away now that Mante is looking too. “Lennet,” it’s whispered in my ear. “Give them space.”
I hadn’t realized I was the only one along with Mante who hadn’t stepped back to give these wolves space. I dip my head slightly and step back respectively to where everyone else had. They had created a circle around them, leaving Peveril and Eastridge with this stranger.
The stranger’s eyes meet mine once again and I smirk to myself. I think I like this man.
Peveril places a comforting hand on Eastridge’s shoulder, who is shaking despite himself. I must have missed the first words shared among them, because I seem to catch only the last part. “Do you accept?” Is snarled out of the stranger.
“I accept.” Eastridge signs his life away.
Peveril steps away and the clash begins. It’s clear before it even began who the winner was. Eastridge may have his blood, but he will be the last of it for his weakness. The stranger is the first to draw blood, his stance offensive while Eastridge takes defense. Weak.
I have no interest to continue watching when I already know the outcome. I untwine my fingers from Mante’s and step away. He hardly notices, which means I am dismissed. My trained, observant eyes become bored with things I see. Everything is boring when you already know the answer.
No one notices my departure anyways. My job isn’t to watch petty fights, but to learn.
Stepping away, I notice a group of females standing slightly far off from the group watching the fight. To any other eyes it would be assumed they aren’t speaking of anything important. But with my experience, it’s always the females that hold the juicy bits.
I change how I look quickly. Tucking my hair behind my ears, holding my arms to my chest tightly. Alone, soft. They eye me as I approach but I’m welcomed. Mostly I want them to think I just need to look like I’m fitting somewhere, and the hint is taken.
“My mate is telling me that his dad and the Alpha are going to take a chunk out of MistFang.” My ear is tilted to them while I face the other direction. The female is whispering to the others, but I’m allowed to hear.
“He just got the position and he’s going to throw it away to MistFang?” Another female asks harshly. “What an idiot.” Her words are treachery to the alpha and punishable, but the group surrounding her must agree because no one says anything.
“He’s not going to throw it away, Kook.” The first female speaks again quietly. I can tell that now she has everyone’s attention. I turn my head her way, letting her know she has mine too. “Alpha Herek will have the help of Alpha Javenson.” There we are.
Betrayed by his own pack. Probably a female that sits at his table and shares his meals.
My thoughts are broken by a ferocious howl of victory. I turn my head to lock eyes with the stranger. From his lips hangs the throat of Eastridge. This male has won his place as gamma. I smile at him, my wolf purring to acknowledge his victory. She’s a minx, but necessary for what I do.
“Gamma Dann.” His title and name rung out. Eastridge must have already been gamma. Everyone including myself dip our heads to acknowledge him.
His eyes never leave me but I turn away from him. The females are eyeing me and the interaction. I soured my welcome by making them uncomfortable. They were probably close to Eastridge.
I suppose it’s a good thing that Mante dragged me out to the field. I’ve taken the bite out of this pack and it’s time to return to mine. I dip my head once again, departing from the females.
None of them important to me.
And I don’t matter to them. Just some low female coming to visit.
Mante finds me again and his eyes demand that I come to his side, and I do. His eyes aren’t hard, but he knows I have something to do with the fight challenge that occurred. “Come,” he speaks lowly in my ear. “Alpha Herek has invited you to his table to feast tonight.”
My breath catches in my throat. It’s an honor but an honor that scares me. I’ve done nothing to deserve to be at his table. I look behind me, but everyone has begun to trickle back towards the pack house for the feast. No wolf will spare me tonight.
I smile up at Mante. “I’d love to.”
This time he doesn’t reach for my hand, but we walk back towards the pack house together. The territory of GrassTail is beautiful. Full with life and unlimited trees that stretched beyond my sight. The pack house wasn’t far from the battlefield, which means the intruders had come very far to make a point.
The air held a crispness to it that made me want to linger to drink it in. But Mante’s presence demanded I keep in step with him. It was like he was showing me off.
The pack house was full with faceless wolves. The simpler kind that held no important ranks, but were needed anyways. I smiled at them anyways as Mante led me through them. I was starting to become familiar with this pack house and its twists and turns. I knew where I was being lead.
I noticed a few pairs of eyes that lingered on me as I went by. They were probably just as confused as I was as to why I was going to eat at the table tonight. I kept my perfected, soft smile plastered on, meeting their eyes.
After the last turn and twist of their vast pack house, we were at the door to the grand dining room. Their pack house was nicely decorated, I had to admit. My stomach was in turmoil at what was behind the door.
Mante opened the door and held it open for me to walk in. As I stepped through the door, the first thing to hit me was the smell of food. My nervous stomach almost lost its butterflies with how hungry I suddenly felt.
My eyes found the alpha’s and I immediately dipped my head in respect. Mante sauntered in behind me and led me to my seat by the small of my back.
“Welcome Lennet.” The alpha’s voice met my ears. It was gentle; not as manly as you would expect. The table fell silent as he spoke. “I’ve heard much about you from Mante here.”
“Alpha Herek.” My head lowered, staring at my hands in my lap. “It is an honor for me to be here. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome.” He said back to me. I raised my head but dared not to look at him. The table was drenched in the silence he left.
Alpha Herek sighed. From the corner of my eye, I saw him raise a fork full of meat to his mouth. He chewed and swallowed and yet nobody else followed his lead. He raised his glass but didn’t put it to his lips. Instead he toasted, “To the future. May Luna Tail find us soon.” He snickered at the end. He took a long swallow.
The table immediately lit up with excitement at his toast. I hadn’t realized that Mante chose a seat next to mine. He began to fill his plate with various meats and breads, and I followed his lead. Conversation erupted around the table.
Alpha Herek’s laughter boomed around the table. He threw his head back at something the beta had said. Throughout the dinner I could feel his gaze on me. Eventually Alpha Herek leaned over and whispered something to the wolf on his left. Their eyes flickered to me before leaning and whispering to Mante.
Mante looked flustered for a moment before leaning to whisper to me. “Alpha Herek would like to speak to you after dinner.” I almost choked on the meat I had been chewing on. The butterflies returned to my stomach, making all the food in front of me look very distasteful.
I forced myself to continue eating however, not wanting my nerves to show. The food settled very unhappily in my belly. The rest of the dinner flew by as I wondered what he would want to speak with me about.
Soon the table began to clear after the alpha had excused them. Platters of food were removed after a time. I was receiving strange looks when I remained in my seat, but they left without question. And then it was just me and him.
He stood and cleared his throat, turning to look out the dining room windows. It was a long minute before he finally turned back around again. I stayed where I was, my head bent.
“You may look up.” He said gently. I looked up, my eyes roaming him. He was strongly built. Perhaps too much. I preferred lithe and strong. He didn’t puff himself up like Mante did; this wolf didn’t need to. “I’m so very intrigued by you, Lennet.” The words rolled off of his tongue, but it wasn’t seductive. I felt like I was being hunted.
“How so, Alpha Herek?” My eyes inched slowly up his face, resting on his lips.
He took a few steps toward me. He half sat on the table, only a mere few inches between us. His hand reached out and I froze slightly, but his fingers tilted my chin to force me to look up at him. His fingers were not kind; digging into the skin and holding me there. “Exactly how long have you been here?”
“Only a few months.” His brown eyes were piercing through my green ones.
“And in that time you’ve watched me become Alpha, and a few battles.” He paused. “And helped overthrow poor Gamma Eastridge.” A smirk pulled at his lips, but his eyes remained harsh. I opened my mouth to protest, but he cut me off. “You’re not at all what I was expecting.”
“Surely you can’t blame such a thing on a traveler, Alpha Herek.” I spoke softly to him. He mumbled under his breath and released my chin, but I kept my eyes on his. He seemed surprised at my determination. I could see as his mood changed quickly. He liked my challenge.
“What a curiosity you are. Tempting enough to make someone challenge a Gamma.” He almost purred to me.
“Excuse me, but is there something that you wanted from me?” Disgust was rolling off of me in waves. It hardly dampened his mood.
“Perhaps.” He paused and considered me for a moment. His eyes roamed around me, lingering too long on my wide hips and my legs. “I take that you’re going to be moving on soon?”
“Yes.” I nodded slightly and stood, swallowing down my sudden fear.
Alpha Herek tsked with his tongue. “Maybe you’d like to stay longer?” The suggestion was clear.
“Alpha Herek, I am not one to sleep around. I am saving myself.”
His eyes hardened on mine again. “Come now, you can’t be saying that Mante has more to offer than I do?” When I didn’t answer he sighed and stood. His mood was gone. “I suppose you should be leaving then.”
I didn’t say anything else to him as I got up from my chair. He lingered over me as if I would change my mind. I dipped my head to him in a final show of respect and left the room.
Once back to my temporary room, I gathered my things. It was time for me to go back home. I felt an unease with being alone now. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was being watched.