In the Shadows

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My mate left me alone for awhile to think about his proposal. He actually thought I would consider becoming his breeder. This is why I had to kill him. He was without morals. He disrespected the gift the White Goddess had given to him. It was my duty to kill him. The goddess paired me with Hakota to give me a superior advantage that not even the most skilled Hunter could have.

The mate pull.

I wasn't stupid or arrogant enough to think I could take my mate on and beat him. My father wouldn't be able to kill him in a one on one battle, but I...I could take him down in time. The mate bond would make him let his guard down, especially if I continued making empty threats. I was doing everything for a reason. Unsuspecting prey gives you a much better chance at catching it than an aware one.

Hakota's pride, his assurance that I wasn't a threat to him, just a pup in need of a lesson in obedience, would be his downfall. Everyone misjudged me. They took one look at my small frame, the fact that I was female, and dismissed me. Hakota did the same, and with the added element of being his mate, he never thought I would actually kill him.

In time I would show him he was very wrong. I was the first female Hunter, the first female with alpha genes, the alpha dominance. Created to put my mate down. It sounded heartless, cruel even, that the White Goddess would place the task of killing my mate on my shoulders, but there was no other way.

Besides, if I really wanted a mate there was sure to be a few werewolves to choose from. They would cherish the gift the goddess had given them, cherish and love me. Respect me. My lycan mate was too proud to see the gift he was given. He was a lycan, I was a hunter. We were enemies and he would never love an enemy.

I understood him because I felt the same way, the only difference between us was that he needed me. I didn't need him. He wanted pups, but there was something else, something more. He said I was save the lycan population, that I would be the reason for the race to continue. A few pups from me wouldn't save their race. Not when there were werewolves and hunters who wanted them extinct. It would take hundreds of years for the lycan population to grow to its former glory. Hundreds of years of peace and protection so that the lycans would be able to find their mates and raise a family, to re-establish order and balance.

The White Goddess didn't want that. Why else would she have allowed the lycan population to be whittled down to a mere nine? It was my belief, the belief of the hunters, that they lycan race was to end. I was to be the final blow, taking out their alpha.

But something wasn't right. Even when I did kill Hakota, the other lycans could scatter, go into hiding. Some of them were mated, and were bound to have pups. A new lycan alpha would be established and we would be trapped in this endless cycle. It didn't add up. My father was too confident that with the death of their alpha, the lycans would be exterminated.

Was I to somehow kill all of them at once? Take them down before they had time to run?

I didn't know, but there was something missing from the equation. Some vital piece of information I had not yet been told.

So while I was meant to be thinking about the deal Hakota had offered, I instead brooded over the missing piece to the puzzle.

I wandered around the lodge, calling it a cabin was an understatement for this massive structure.There was a single bedroom on the main floor, as well as a kitchen, a bathroom, a great room and a sitting room, a large porch that overlooked the mountains and forest, and what I think was a sparring room. Down the flight of stairs that lead to the basement there were six bedrooms as well as a sitting room, three bathrooms, a second kitchen and an exercise room. Residing on the top floor was an art studio, two bedrooms, a bathroom and a game room. There was a pool table, two flat screens, a couch and a bar in the corner of the game room that screamed man cave.

Surprisingly, I didn't run into a single lycan throughout my exploration of the house. I had a sneaking suspicion they were told to avoid me, by their alpha, or maybe nearly killing one of their members warded them off. Either way, I was grateful to have the lodge to myself. I sat on the couch in the great room, looking out through the huge glass panels that nearly covered the entire wall, allowing me to clearly see the raised porch and the scenery beyond.

I had to hand it to the lycans, they certainly did know a good view when they saw one.

My ears picked up a slight sound from behind me. Without bothering to turn, I drawled, "If you've come to pester me more about your proposition you can leave. My answer is no." Under my breath I muttered. "Even you should know better than to ask your mate to a breeder and nothing more."

For a moment I was surprised by my mumbled words. They almost sounded offended, like I wanted to be more to him than a pup producer.

", I am not here on my alpha's behalf." A soft female voice said.

I twisted around, looking over the top of the couch to see the female with multicolored eyes I had targeted for laughing at me. Her hair was pulled over one shoulder, concealing her neck, but I could still see the scars from my attack. I raised a brow, my guard was up, skeptical that she was here to return the favor.

She cleared her throat uncomfortably, lowering her eyes, "I came to make peace with you..." She trailed off at the end, unsure of how to address me. Luna would make sense, considering my connection with her alpha. But he had made no claim to me as his equal or in any way as part of his pack.

"Cleo. You can call me Cleo." I said.

"I am Frayah." She said in the return, the female looked up at me, her eyes a striking sight. I didn't think I'd ever get used to them. One was a milky blue, the other a bold bronze. They were harsh contrasts, one gentle the other fierce. She seemed to know what I was staring at, a common occurrence no doubt. She tucked her hair behind her ear. "They are strange." She admitted nervously.

"They are beautiful." I corrected her.

A blush stained her cheeks a delicate pink. "Thank you." My compliment seemed to have encouraged her to say what she came to say. "I wanted to apologize for laughing at you." She began. "I should have known your wolf would have been defensive without knowing the reason for my laughter." I sat up on the couch now turning around fully, folding my arms on the back of the sofa. "I was not laughing at your expense Cleo. I was laughing because our alpha has met his match. It was amusing to see him so flustered because of his mate."

I cocked my head, confused as to why this female felt the need to apologize to me. I was the one who had mauled her to try and prove a point to my mate.

She was wringing her hands nervously, "I know it is my fault you were locked in the cage and...muzzled. If I had not laughed your wolf would not have had an outburst."

I blinked, marveling at this woman. She was apologizing to me for attacking her. The whole thing was ridiculous. I couldn't help it as I laughed. Her eyes went wide but she said nothing, only standing there waiting for me to speak. When I regained my breath I said, "Do not apologize to me. It was not your fault for Hakota's actions–"

"He is very protective!" She quickly jumped in to defend him. "There are only a few of us left, and he was already upset with your defiance so when I got hurt he had to teach you a lesson. Please do not blame him, you have to forgive him. Hate me for it instead, I–"

Holding up a hand, I silenced her. "I knew what I was doing. I pushed him knowing there would be consequences. I did not attack you because you offended me, I did it selfishly to prove a point. Hakota and I will always be at odds, you need to understand this." I told her seriously. "I know you have hopes to see your alpha happy, to perhaps have another member in you pack, but that will not happen. Hakota and I are enemies by nature. I will kill him if I get the chance."

Instead of growing hostile from my threat to her alpha, she only looked at me with knowing eyes.

She didn't believe me.

I wasn't surprised, but I knew convincing her was futile. It would make ending their alpha easier if they didn't take my threat seriously anyway. I didn't need more enemies, so it was best if I tried to bury the hatchet with this female. "I am sorry though for attacking you, Frayah. I am sorry that some of you might get caught in the crossfire."

Her eyes were alight with joy. Ducking her head said, "I thank you for the apology and I accept it." From the glint in her eyes I knew she believed her alpha and I had a future.

"Frayah–" I began with a sigh. This female was very hard to dislike and for some reason giving her false hope made me feel guilty.

"He has his hands full with you and it is good to see you are on even ground." She rushed on, before I had the chance to crush her hopes. "We were all worried Hakota's mate would be unequal."

"Submission between mates is better than fighting."

She puffed out her chest and raised her chin. "Not in my eyes, or any of ours. Hakota might prefer it from his mate, but fighting now means that later on, you won't have a problem fighting him if you think he is making a bad judgment. Two leaders can protect the pack better than one."

"One has sufficed for many years." A masculine voice interrupted from the doorway.

Frayah turned towards the voice, grinning sheepishly, backing up as the male advance. He was her mate and he was not happy to see her alone with me. Considering I had nearly killed her, I didn't blame him.

Pushing his female behind him, he growled at me. "Stay away from my mate, hunter, she does not deserve the wrath of your short temper."

"Sani!" Frayah admonished, tugging at his arm, a scowl on her face.

He backed up, pushing her back as well, while keeping his eyes on me. He turned when they were a good distance away and gave her a piece of his mind. "What were you thinking?" He demanded as they walked away.

"We need her on our side, not against us! You know she's important." she replied fiercely, their voices fading as they moved further and further away. "Hakota is supposed to change her mind about us and instead he is only cementing her preconceived notions. If he can't do it, then I will."

I heard nothing more from her or her mate who were now to far away for me to hear.

My suspicions from before however, were only confirmed. Something else was going on here and I had to find out what.

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