NightBlood is at the opposite side of MistFang. The extremely long drive only gave time for me to fester in my annoyance at having to go to NightBlood. It shouldn’t take two of us to figure out what’s going on with this pack.
My wolf and I were beyond pissed when we parked just outside the territory of NightBlood. My plan was the same as it was with any other pack on how to get myself in. If I were a male, the story would be entirely different, but nobody wants to risk killing women.
I edged around their border for a while, hoping to come across someone patrolling. Perhaps this border didn’t matter to them. “Fuck it,” I sighed. I’d have to drive in.
The road quickly changed from the open land and cliffs to forest. The trees hovered too close at the edges of the road, almost closing in on it. The trees themselves were gorgeous; thick pines and oaks completely covered in bright green moss.
I felt uneasy having to drive to their pack house. I was used to being found at the border or slightly inside the territory.
Another two hours later I found myself slowing as something came into my sight. I was still mulling over my anger when I saw it.
Thousands of wolves had gathered. I assumed that this was a majority of the packs that were under NightBlood along with NightBlood themselves. They held a somberness to them. A few sobbed and rested their heads on the shoulders of their neighbors.
In front of them was a massive bonfire. It was the biggest fire I had seen with my own eyes. It took me a moment before I realized that this was their pack house.
I parked and hopped out of the car. No wolf noticed me because their attention was on their burning pack house.
A loud howl filled my ears.
Just the sound of his howl gave me shivers. It was strong and hurt my ears even though he was far away, commanding obedience. I rubbed my arms to get rid of them.
The flames reached high into the air, licking at the tops of trees. The wind barely touched those flames.
“What happened?” I found myself asking the nearest wolf to me. It was dumb to ask, but I figured I was fine because my arrival had gone completely unnoticed.
He only turned his head to assess me but said nothing. NightBlood watched on with glassy eyes as their home burned to the ground.
“Who are you?” A male wolf asked from behind me. His voice was laced with hostility.
“Someone in need of a place to stay for a while. Who’s asking?” I changed my posture to something that suggested submission. Tucked hair, arms held to my chest. The male snorted and he too crossed his arms, but his gaze wasn’t kind.
“Beta Eren. Why would you choose NightBlood?” He half-growled out.
I knitted my eyebrows together in mock confusion. “Is there a reason I shouldn’t choose your pack? I just figured such a big, strong pack wouldn’t mind a traveler.” Patting his ego as a beta.
He huffed but didn’t change his stance. My subtle compliment wasn’t unnoticed, making him feel obliged now to show that I’m not wrong. He nodded slightly, accepting my answer.
“I’m sure you’ve noticed, but we don’t exactly have space currently. I could possibly squeeze you in somewhere, or you could stay in the Beta’s chambers.” He seemed to be looking at me in a new light. A new female.
He wasn’t bad looking himself. He had a thick beard that I could see myself gripping and feeling against my skin. His broody, blue eyes were quite attractive. He was more muscular than my taste usually enjoyed, but we could make it work- damn it.
I rarely ogled males, perhaps because I didn’t find them interesting enough. It was something about his smell that was compelling me to look at him like that.
My hungered look was noticed by the beta. His eyes were still broody but now he looked cocky. He knew I found him attractive. “We’ll see, if we can’t find somewhere else for me to fit in, hmm?” My voice called his eyes back up to my face.
“Alright. For now, stick with me.” The beta nodded. “I’ll have someone take your car for you, along with your things, if you brought any.”
“I did,” I confirmed with him. Already I was off to a good start. The beta practically taking me in. He seemed pleased.
I stuck to his right and slightly behind him for a while. He mingled with the distressed pack, while I remained out of conflict for him. I could sometimes feel gazes on me, all hostile.
I had never been in a pack so hostile before.
While I kept my submissive posture, my wolf was ready to pounce. It was offensive how I was being looked at, but I had to keep myself from snapping at anyone. That would have me kicked out right away.
It was odd to be completely surrounded by a pack but have none of them welcome me or acknowledge me. I felt outed but in fact nobody was looking at me anymore. Their attention was caught again by the pack house. The fire had dimmed and was closer to the ground now.
The next hour or so followed that pattern of awkwardly mingling with NightBlood. It was a confusing jumble of new scents that came and went, surrounding me. The smell of their anguish hung heavily in the grand clearing they had gathered in. I couldn’t quite see him, but their alpha brooded and paced at the front of them as the pack house continued to burn.
I noticed that we had slowly but surely sifted from the back and we were nearing the front. The sky was beginning to darken but something about the way this alpha commanded obedience kept the wolves at bay until he dismissed them.
“Who is this?” His voice asked from behind me. It was thick and rough, sending a small shiver down my spine. I didn’t need to turn around to know who this was. Even his presence was dominating.
“She says that she is simply in need of somewhere to stay for a while. Traveling.” Beta Eren answered for me. Turning around, I kept my eyes at shoe level.
“What’s a female doing traveling by herself?” He asked, taking a step closer to me. His shoes came into sight and I had to fight the urge to take a step towards him too. He just smelled so good.
Reaching up, I tucked my hair behind my ears, exposing my neck slightly more to this male. My mouth suddenly felt dry, my tongue too thick to respond properly. I opened my mouth to begin but had to clear my throat. “I’m just looking to live a little before I settle down.” I finally came up with.
Suddenly a rough hand reached out and pulled my hair behind my head, jerking my head back so that I was now looking at the blackening sky. My heart thundered heavily in my chest, my neck now completely exposed to the alpha of the pack. He leaned in and took a long inhale.
I could briefly feel his nose on my skin. He lingered much longer than appropriate, brushing along the length of my neck. A low growl bubbled in his chest that was mere inches from mine. His hand still clenching my hair tightly in a fist. “Name.”
“Lennet.” My wolf was silent within me, awestruck at this male. He smelled strongly of the wild and acted like he came straight from it. I could feel his pack behind me still slightly, their eyes burning my back. He hummed in thought.
“You reek like GrassTail.” His nails slightly elongated but not enough to pierce through my skin.
I barely held back the soft whimper that wanted to escape my now parted lips. My wolf remained docile, practically basking in the scent of dominance that was radiating off of him. “They were kind enough to allow me to stay briefly before sending me on my way.”
“Is that so?” He chuckled darkly against my skin. I could feel something cool brush my skin; his fangs. Immediately I snarled lowly to him. His hand tightened around my hair, painfully pulling at my scalp. “Put your teeth away, and I’d think twice about who you snarl at while you’re here,” he whispered into my ear.
Relief flooded my scalp when he released my hair, allowing the blood to flow back in. I lowered my head to the ground once more. “Thank you,” I quietly said. A snarl met my ears.
“Prove your worth if you want to be able to stay here for the time being.” He shifted his posture. “That goes to all of you! I will not have a weak pack.” I looked up from the dirt to find him pacing again, facing the pack as he addressed them. “Nobody is going to hold your hand anymore.”
Looking around, I found the beta eyeing my coolly. Once the alpha had calmed down once more, he leaned in and whispered something to him. The alpha’s back became stiff and he growled at whatever the beta had said. I lowered my eyes again, the alpha whipped around and I could feel his gaze looking me over.
“No.” I heard him say.
A snarl met his, and they lasted for a little while before the beta gave in. I could hear him let out a huff in defeat, accepting the alpha’s word. Another moment passed before the beta came stalking over to me.
Roughly my arm was grabbed, the beta muttering, “Come with me.”
I followed behind him silently, meeting the gazes of confused and curious pack members. A few glared as I passed them, giving me an uneasy feeling in my stomach. The crowd then began to shift and trickle in streams away from the gruesome sight.
Beta Eren lead me to a small, cozy tent that already had a guard posted outside the entrance. The male panted softly as if he’d run from somewhere to get here. His muscles twitched underneath his skin as the beta held the flap open for me, uncomfortable with being so close to such a strong rank.
Inside I found my things still inside their cases and a small cot in the corner. The tent smelled of the stale fabric it was made of, no other scents besides mine and the guards. The flap closed as the beta began to walk away.
“Wait!” I called out, sticking my head out.
“What?” He paused and half turned around.
“Can you stay with me for a little while longer? I promise not to take too much of your time, I’m just, I don’t know. . .” I trailed off, trying to think of something to say.
He only groaned and said, “Damn females.” But he did return. I stepped aside to allow him inside the tent.
Suddenly I became aware of how large this man was. He couldn’t stand at his full height and practically took up all of the room inside the tent. I scratched at the back of my head, trying to think of some easy answers that I could get out of him.
The cot groaned and gave a quiet popping sound as he lowered himself onto it. The poor man basically had to squat all the way to the ground to be able to sit.
A pregnant silence filled the tent before I cleared my throat.
“So uh, how did you find yourself to be the beta of this pack?” Mentally, I slapped myself for the question. I was still flustered from the interaction with the alpha. He cocked an eyebrow at me.
“Being friends with the right people pays off in due time.” Was all he replied with.
“What do you mean?”
“I don’t know. When he came stomping back here on a mission, I knew almost right away where my loyalties would lay. I’m not a stupid wolf.”
I nodded to myself. “If it’s alright for me to be asking, why did he burn down the pack house?”
A long silence passed, the beta awkwardly scratching at his beard. “Well,” he began. “I suppose it’s symbolic or some dumb shit like that. He’s burning down the symbol of their previous weak leader, and he’ll burn down anyone that wishes to avenge that wolf.”
“Wait, are you saying-”
“I’ve told you more than enough. I have other things to do, unless I have a more pressing matter to be doing in this tent?” He stared at me, assessing me. When I had nothing to say, he chuckled once. “Didn’t think so.”
He stood and left my tent without another word, leaving me to mull over the information I’d just learned.