In The Shadows

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Sixteen

We were in a place known as Cor Lupum, at least that's what the lycans called it. My home was called Lupus Montis by them, while it was the Six Packs to me. We had exited the Frozen wastes, traveling into a claimed territory. The scent hit me hard when we crossed the border into a pack. Food supply was in much greater abundance here but so was the danger. We were unwelcome invaders, and trespassing was not to be taken likely. The lycans didn't seem the least bit worried and I wondered if that was due to their arrogance or if maybe their presence wasn't nearly as unwelcome as I thought.

We had reached a large cabin that overlooked the valley that had been carved out with glaciers. Pine tress littered the valley, a thick blanket of snow covering the ground. We seemed to be approaching the monstrously huge cabin and I wondered if this was their shelter. It didn't make sense if it was. Why would they build a home in a territory that didn't belong to them?

They had all shifted into their human skins and were conversing, not on alert or watching for any signs of an attack. I stayed in my fur and was on high alert for any signs of an ambush. The female with two different colored eyes glanced at me and giggled before quickly turning away when her mate whispered something in her ear. My wolf bristled, the hair along the ridge of my back rising in aggression. I was happy to see she had gotten over her mate this quickly and saw as well as I did that we wanted nothing to do with him. She was back to being a fierce monster, hiding just under the surface, ready to tear through a living body if I loosened the reigns.

My aggression was tainting the air around me, causing Hakota to turn and shoot me a look. "Do not growl at my pack members. Disrespect towards them is disrespect towards me." A half growl, more like a grumble vibrated through my chest. "I have no problem putting you in your place, hunter."

I pulled back my lips, showing my teeth rudely at him and flattened my ears back. Always threatening, never asking. He wanted to dominate me, not treat me as his equal. He had no respect for me and I had no respect for him. He turned around fully then, glaring down at me trying to use his rank as an alpha to make my wolf stand down. Against any other male, even my father I could have prevailed, maybe even making them buckle under my gaze instead, but Hakota wasn't just any male. He was the alpha of alphas, a purebred lycan, and my mate besides.

My bones were splintering under the weight his alpha dominance was pushing on me. I felt as though I was caving in on myself. The pressure weighing down on my shoulders and neck, threatening to crush me if I didn't back down. I refused to bow my head, to submit to him. A loud crack sounded from my leg and it buckled underneath me but I refused to yield. Another crack in my leg had me howling in pain.

"Stop forcing me to hurt you." He gritted through his teeth. The lycans around him slowly backed away, leaving him and I in a face off. This was between mates, not between and alpha and a luna. If that were the case, they were be forced to pick sides. But since I hadn't been tilted luna, I was just Hakota's mate, his responsibility, his to discipline.

I was panting heavily now, a sharp pain pulsing in my neck. I could feel the vertebrae threatening to snap, so I ducked my head, baring my neck in a show of submission. The weight was slowly lifted and it took everything I had not to collapse the the ground. My body was quivering, my special abilities as a hunter quickly mending my broken bones through agonizing pain as they knit themselves back together.

Hakota shook his head in disgust at my small form and turned his back on me as he continued to lead his pack, thinking I had been beat.

He was wrong.

I lunged forward, tackling the female with two different colored eyes and sank my teeth into her collarbone, where her mating mark was located, and inject my venom into her body. The mark was the most sensitive spot on any wolf, lycans, hunters and werewolves alike, and this was my way of retribution for her disrespect towards me. The ultimate agony.

She screamed, as she went down, my teeth sinking deeper into her skin. She thrashed around trying to get me off but I held on, even when a pair of strong hands tried to pry me off.

"Let go Cleo!" Hakota demanded, squeezing my ribs tightly, knowing if he tried to pull me, I'd only wound his pack member more.

Satisfaction flooded me, as he continued to try and get me off, snapping my ribs in the process, but like a bulldog I held on. He was cursing at me, reaching for my jaw now, to snap it so that it would go slack and release the female. I let go before he could and twisted around, snapping my teeth at his face. He reared away, dropping me to the ground where I scrambled away, my hackles raised and my teeth bared as I growled at the lycans threateningly. The green venom was still coating my muzzle.

The female's mate was already feeding her his blood, an instant medicine to fight the venom. If she had been a normal werewolf she would have died before I let go with the amount of venom I had injected into her. She was writhing on the ground, moaning, holding her mate's hand because she couldn't see him due to her temporary blindness.

Hakota ran a hand through his hair as he looked at his fallen pack member before looking at me. His eyes were swirling with rage.

I planted my rump on the ground and gave him a wolfish smirk, cocking my head as if to say I may not be able to hurt you, but I can hurt each of them. This was his fault, he had turned his back without making sure the fight had been won. His pack was his weakness and I would attack them every time he gave me a reason too.

"You little beast." He spat advancing towards me, the anger clear through the vibrations he was sending through the ground as he walked. "Our fights stay between you and I! You leave my pack out of this!"

Perhaps it was considered cowardice to have attacked the unsuspecting female, but I knew her mate's blood was save her. If I wanted her to die I would have torn out her throat. I was just giving her a little lesson in learning her place and teach a lesson to Hakota that I wasn't to be underestimated.

Hakota advanced on me and grabbed me by scruff, yanking me up so that my snout was nearly touching his nose. I licked his nose to further infuriate him, and show I wasn't scared in the least of what he would do to me. He gave me a rough shake and started carrying me to the cabin like a mother would her pup. I thrashed and hissed like a wild wolverine but he kept hold of my scruff and threw open the door. I was too busy being a nuisance to take notice of the cabin. Instead of locking me in a room, like I had suspected, he went straight to a drawer and pulled out a muzzle.

I fought against him like my life depended on it.

Hakota had my neck in the crook of his arm, trying to hold my head still. "Hold still Cleo." He growled at me.

Why the hell would I do that! Did he think I wanted to be muzzled? My claws came out and I clawed at his skin, turning his arms into bloody ribbons but he still didn't release me.

My mate gave up trying to put it on while holding me and instead trapped my body between his and the ground. He used one hand to press down on my head, my jaw against the floor, unable to open. "This is your fault you stupid female." He hissed at me as he pulled the muzzle onto my face. He buckled the strap behind my head, pulling it tight so I wouldn't be able to escape it. "If you just behaved I wouldn't need to do this." My head was yanked back as he locked the muzzle in place. He then slowly got up but I stayed where I was, using my paws to try and pull it off. When that didn't work I tried to shift back into my human body but there must have been some magic within it, keeping me from doing so.

"You won't be getting out of that muzzle until you've learned your lesson." He towered over my wolf, my spirit diminishing. I shrank back from him, hunching my shoulders. "I don't want to be you enemy, Cleo. This will be easier if you aren't, but I will be your alpha if nothing else, and you will learn obedience and respect."

A growl rumbled deep in my belly as he raised a hand to touch me. His hand froze in the air, just above my head. He sighed and let his hand drop. "Follow me." I made no motion to move. "Cleo." There was a hard edge to his voice. "Don't make me collar you too."

I grudgingly slunk behind him. He led me out of a door to where a chain link fence was located. When he opened the gate of the cage I halted, immediately backed up, hackles raised and growls emitting from my mouth. He was going to cage me? I was a person, not a dog!

"Cleo." His voice was edged with warning. "This is what you get for nearly killing one of my pack members. You will be punished. When you learn to behave I'll let you out." He pushed the gate open and gestured with his hand for me to enter.

I wanted to howl with laughter at his idiocy. If he thought I would just walk in there because he wanted me too, he needed his head checked.

Hakota tensed. "I know you don't want to go in here, but you'll be in this cage one way or the other. Either enter of your own free will or I'll force you in. Choose the easy way." He held the gate open, waiting for me to make my choice.

I choose the hard way.

With the door behind me and his body blocking my only exit I sprang at him, my claws unsheathed and dug them into his neck. I used my venom, hoping that maybe this time he would feel the pain that came with it, but he didn't even flinch. I swung my muzzled mouth into the side of his face, the metal slamming into his jaw. His head snapped to the side and his body swung with it.

Too late I realized his body hadn't shifted from my blow but because he was now faced the entrance of cage. I attempted to retract my claws but I was too late. He used his hands to shove me off him, my claws tearing through the skin on his neck, as I was thrown into the cage. My body hit the back fence and I fell to the ground in a heap. Instantly on my feet, shaking my head I readied myself to lunge at him once more but he had already closed and locked the gate.

His hand went to his neck, coming away with his blood. He hissed in pain and met my eyes. While mine where filled with blazing anger, his held a little sadness beneath his own fury.

"Learn your place." He told me, pushing down on the handle of the cabin door and yanking it open, slamming it shut behind him.

That night, the temperature was as cold as his heart.

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