In The Shadows

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Fifteen

The next day was much like the last. We traveled on, plowing through whatever weather was thrown at us. The icy sleet did not deter the lycans from their journey.

My fur was matted and frozen together making me cold and heavier. I wondered how much further north we would travel before reaching our destination or travel eastwards. The lycans stayed in their own wolf skins as it was better protection against the harsh winter wind. Several times I caught the lycans licking at each others faces and nipping lightly at their fur. The Grey wolf and the one with two colored eyes were overly affectionate, leaving me to believe they were mates. The red wolf, Roshan, and Innoko, the female that had pulled him away from me, also seemed to be very close.

As we traveled deeper into the tundra, through the towering pine trees and across the snowy planes the freer I felt. It was an odd feeling, because I had never thought I was trapped, but being out here in the wide expanse of infinite winter, I felt less caged. There was no territory line, no boundaries, the land traveled forever, disappearing beyond my vision. My wolf felt more at home out here. Although the mountainous area where my pack was located was satisfying to our wolfish roots, it wasn't this.

I grew less and less enthused about the terrain as we kept on with our journey. I was deeply regretting not having eaten when food was offered, because we hadn't stopped to hunt in two days after that. It was an effort to keep my vision from blurring, to stay in control of my wolf's body. She was trying to push me back, take control from me but if that were to happen, only bad things would follow. So I placed one paw in front of the other, letting my head dip as it was too much of an effort to keep it upright.

The temperatures were far below zero, the trees scarce now, just a vast expanse of snow resembling the arctic. The wind blew hard gusts, stirring up the snow at the top creating clouds of snow to pelt my fur and momentarily block those in front of me from sight. Still the lycans didn't hunt. Not that there would be much food source up here anyway. Perhaps an arctic hare here or there, but that would never be enough to satisfy nine giant lycans.

We stopped for rest some time later, it was hard to keep track of the time anymore, it all seemed to blend together. I knew we were far north, I could smell the Arctic Sea all around me. We were traveling across glaciers now, where the water of the Arctic Sea had frozen, the temperature far into the negatives.

I curled into a tight ball, burying my nose in my tail in an effort to keep warm. The lycans all huddled together, using body heat to keep themselves warm. They had left a space for me in the middle between them, but I refused their kindness. I didn't want to be seen as weak.

The giant wolf that was Hakota, stood from his crouched position and nodded his head towards the group. My wolf within me tried to shove me forward telling me not to be stupid and lay down my pride before I froze to death. I pushed her back, snarling at her stay quiet.

Seeing that I had no intention of moving towards him, Hakota growled and stalked towards me, his wolf rising to the surface with the intent to teach me my place. If he gave an order, I was to obey. My wolf howled at me in irritation, not happy I had angered our mate by refusing his protection. She thrashed against my control, wanting nothing more than to huddle against his warm body and enjoy the heat he would provide.

I fought against her control and it was a losing battle. Her mind wasn't as weary as mine from hours of mindless traveling. She surged to the surface, pushing me back, commanding me to sleep, that I was undeserving of control as I was too stupid to accept my mate and was spurning him.

My father had warned me against giving the wolf full control, but at this point I was in no condition to fight her.

Hakota noticed the shift with me and his wolf stopped short. My wolf rose her head and stood, trotting over to his large bluish-black form and rubbed her head all over the underside of his muzzle. She was putting her scent on him, sending a message to those female lycans that he was claimed and to stay away. Hakota stood perfectly still as my wolf rubbed herself along his flank and then back to his neck. She was much to small to reach his face like she wanted, so she stood up on her hind legs, her front paws resting of his shoulders and licked his face. A pleased sound rumbled through him at my wolf's gesture.

My wolf landed back down on all fours and lowered herself into the snow, curling herself up next to his leg. The large lycan lowered his head and huffed, his breath fanning over her nose. Like a movie, I was forced to watch through the eyes of my second skin unable to move the body I had previously held control over. I didn't like how affectionate my wolf was being towards this lycan she didn't even know. She was a hunter, a poisonous little spit fire bred to kill his kind and here she was snuggling against him like a puppy, A goddamn puppy. That's what he would think of me after this.

I wrestled for control of the body but my wild easily pushed me away like one would bat at a fly. She told me I was being greedy and it was her turn to be with our mate.

It wasn't that I wanted to keep my wolf caged, I just didn't want my mate to get the wrong idea. I would never submit to him, even if my wolf acted like she would. I was going to kill him, I had vowed that I would and if my wild side got attached to him it would make it harder for me to end him. I would feel guilty forever and my wolf would hate me. I couldn't afford her hatred, not when we were entwined like we were.

Hakota curled around my small wolf, his body encasing me in a warm cocoon. I wanted to die of embarrassment when my wolf began to purr, scooting closer to the lycan. She seemed so happy, the happiest I had ever seen her that I decided to let her be. I would just need to reinforce my independence when this was all over. I didn't need Hakota thinking I couldn't provide for myself and I needed him to protect me.

I didn't want him to even touch me. I felt a small twinge of betrayal towards my wild for basking in his touch. Although he was in his fur, that didn't wash away my mother's blood from his hands and the last thing I wanted was those filthy hands on me.

Too bad my wolf didn't feel the same way.

I let her mind keep control as our travels continued. I kept enough of a hold on her to keep her from prancing around her mate like an excited pup. she so desperately wanted to show him her playful side but I knew better. Hakota was in control of his wolf completely now. He had let loose when my wolf had made her appearance, letting his own wolf who was pushing at him, have a little time with his mate.

It was our destiny to be split in half. Our human skins would forever be at war while our wolves would forever be the provider and protector, to their other half that the Moon had destined us to be.

As the days wore on, the temperature started to rise and the terrain I loved so much started to return as we headed south. Huger was eating away at my mind. I was famished and salivating at just the thought of food. My wolf had the same thoughts and had it in her head to make such known to her mate. She started forward when I yanked back on the reins of control. I screeched her to a halt and refused to let her give the task of hunting to the lycan as if we were incapable of feeding ourself. I told her to pull herself together and stop acting like a lovesick juvenile. She was supposed to be strong, the first female hunter in existence, ripping apart anyone that so much as looked at her wrong.

The strong scent of deer caught my nose and my head instantly whipped to the left to see two lycans already breaking off from the small pack and stalk it. Our entourage halted and we watched them hunt the unsuspecting animal. My wolf whined for me to let her go, to hunt the beast and show her mate what she was capable of, that she was worthy of him.

I snarled at her that we needn't prove anything to him and if anything he was unworthy of us. She tore from my grip, my control slipping and went off after the deer in her own way. Hakota bristled, but contained his growl least he scare away the deer. My wolf knew he wasn't happy that I was leaving without permission but he would just have to get over it.

My much smaller and stealthier wolf circled around the front of the deer, directly into the path of its escape, the lycans coming around its flank. As I suspected, they didn't get too close to the deer before it was alerted an easily spotted their huge forms. They were ready for a chase, they had to be. It must be near impossible for them to get close enough to a deer with their gigantic unnatural forms. They were nearly the size of a bear lumbering on all fours, although stealthier.

The deer bounded away from them, right into my path. It never even suspected danger ahead until I leapt at it, slicing my claws along its chest, my jaws burying deep within its throat of life and pulling it out. None of my hunter's venom was used, keeping the kill safe for all to eat.

I stood above my prize, my wolf puffing herself up in pride, looking towards her mate for approval. He did no such thing, only fixing her with a cold look. She deflated and I felt bad for her. She didn't yet realize that Hakota was in full control of his wolf's body and furious at her insubordination. While he neared with the rest of his pack in tow, my wolf wanted to shrink back with her head bowed in submission but I took over her completely before that could happen.

I straightened to my full height and snarled out a warning, stepping over the carcass, claiming it as mine. My lips curled back reveling the whites of my teeth, stained red with blood, ready to tear into more flesh. The lycans who had helped with the hunt, looked towards their alpha.

I could see the intent in his eyes of making me eat last, a great insult to the victor of the kill. He wanted to do it to teach me my place. I met his eyes challengingly and made sure he watched every single one of my movements as I lowered my head and ripped and entire leg and thigh from the still warm carcass, taking first pick of the kill and dragged it across the snow with me, away from the lycans and ate in solitude, glaring at my mate the entire time as I did so.

I licked the bone clean, holding the alpha's eyes while I did so. Although he may have my wolf's submission as was demanded of the mating bond, he would never have mine. I would make sure he never forgot that my wild and my human were very separate and now that he had hurt my wolf by shunning her offering, he had no one on his side.

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