In the Shadows

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Twenty Nine

Dead silence pierced the clearing. Not even the wind dared to blow as if scared it would make too much noise. Hakota waited, his eyes scanning the crowd. No one moved, no one spoke, no one breathed.

Nothing more than flashes of light before my eyes, Hakota, Sitka and Sani darted into the mass, before dragging out the alphas

In one quick movement, Sani had ripped the heart of the alpha free from his body, holding it up for everyone to see, tossing the body to the side nonchalantly. Hot blood dropped down his arm, steaming rising from the organ in his hand.

At the same moment Sitka had torn out the throat of the second alpha, the body lying lifeless at his feet. The alpha's blood soaked the ground, wetting the tips of his black boots.

Hakota's execution was flawless as he jerked the spine clear through the final alpha's back. He held the white vertebrae in his hand, not seeming the least bit perturbed it still had muscle and patches of pink tendons attached to it in places.

I heard several werewolves vomit at the sight of the bloody and gruesome deaths.

"Let this serve as a reminder to all of you what befall those who dare to steal from me." Hakota's eyes glowed, turning an iridescent shade. "There is no alpha among the territories but me. Cor Lupum belongs to me."

Some of the werewolves looked ready to dispute his words, back it up with blood if they needed to. From the glint of blood list in my mate's eyes, I knew Hakota was dying for a fight.

I quickly shouldered my way through the mass of werewolves, ducking, twisting and, if need be, shoving people out of the way. I finally reached the opposite end, tripping over someone's feet and stumbling.

Hakota's lightning fast reflexes had him catching me. He quickly looked me up and down, gathering the fact I was completely naked and standing in front of everyone and their brother to see. With a growl he tore the coat from off his shoulder and draped it over me. I was grateful for the warmth, but knew that was a secondary reason to my mate's actions. Seriously though, any werewolf that had shifted was now naked as well and with a quick glance I could note that was over half of them.

"Don't fight," I whispered to him, clutching his heavy coat tighter around me.

"Don't fight, coming from you?" He asked dryly.

I snuggled into his chest, surprising him and a good portion of the werewolves gathered. He still hadn't dropped the spine, in fact Hakota seemed to have forgotten about it all together as he handed his arms around me hesitantly. I wasn't a big fan of the smell or the fact that a bloody spine was touching me so I cleared my throat.

He immediately released the spine, grinning at me sheepishly.

I shook my head at him, "you're impossible."

Hakota only tucked me under his arm, positioning me at his side instead of a shield at his front. With me at his side, he felt more empowered, I could feel the absoluteness of his strength as he called out, "You live in the districts I've assigned you. If you want to squabble about whether the main border is ten meters forward, fine. I don't care. But the Red Zone is no ones. The moment I step foot in your territory, you all bow to me. I call the shots. I make any of the major decision in any of the territories at any given time from anywhere. If I'm not here, you wait until I get back to clear it with me."

"And what of our new alphas? Are you splitting up your misfit pack to govern us?" Someone called out. The attitude in his voice had Syn yanking him from the crowd, holding him by his throat. The werewolf glared back at the lycan defiantly, causing Syn's grip to tightening around his throat. The the lycan blinked, shock filtering through his eyes before they hardened into stone cold orbs.

"Keep your tongue in line little puppy or you'll join your old alpha," Syn snarled before releasing his grip and violently shoved him back into line with the others. The werewolves caught their mouthy packmate before tucking him behind them in cause Syn was to rethink his actions and make good on his threat.

Syn refused to look back at the young man, his eyes hard and his jaw clenched tightly. I made a mental note to pester him about his strange behavior later.

"Fight among yourselves for a leader if you want," Hakota easily brushed the question off, "but let there be no mistake there is only one alpha of Cor Lupum." His words snapped like a whip. There was a pause as Hakota scanned the mass gathered, looking for any sign of speaking out against him. When only the slight whistling of the wind greeted him he moved on addressing one of his rules. "The is to be no movement along the Red Zone borders. Stay a hundred meters behind the borders until I allow otherwise. If there is any unauthorized action by the Red Zone borders there will be sever consequences. Today was merely a warning. Heed my orders if you do not wish to find out what a punishment from me would be." He looked out across the crowd. "If I find anyone by the Moon Pool, I'll make what I did to your leader seam like a slap on the wrist compared to what I do to you."

A shiver raced up my own spine at the darkness in his words.

"Get out of here," he spat, addressing the werewolves present. The ones on the outskirts slowly turned and slunk their way back into the trees, werewolves fanning out in all directions.

Once the last of them were gone Hakota flicked his head for the lycans to follow him south. We trailed after the pack of werewolves that had headed in this direction.

"Pity you got out of that net," Sani said as he walked a distance behind me. I flipped him the bird over my shoulder, surprised to hear him chuckle in return. A smile crept across my own face. I pretended not to notice Hakota's staring as he tried to scrutinize and make sense of our exchange.

Sani was warming up to me whether he would admit it or not. Innoko and Sitka on the other hand still hated my guts but one less enemy would make my life easier. I had a sneaking suspicion that Frayah was behind her mate's conversion but I wasn't about to question it.

However I was curious to know why we were heading south and I voiced as much.

"The southern pack has a bigger issue submitting to authority than the other packs. That wolf that spoke out today was a southerner. Many members of his pack like to be defiant and I am not going to stand for it." Hakota's voice was hard and I could tell there was history between him and such occurrences.

"So you want to keep an eye on them?"

My mate nodded briskly and once again we lapsed into silence.

From the corner of my eye I saw Keni nudge his brother and sign something to him. Denahi narrowed his eyes and returned different gestures.

Keni looked concerned as he started signing more rapidly. A sigh from Denahi and a firm motion had Keni pointing at me and then Hakota and signing something.

It was a mystery to me what they were saying but I wasn't the only one that had caught on to their argument.

"What are they saying?" I whispered to Syn who had come up beside me.

"Don't know. Their hands are moving to fast and some of those signs I've never seen them use."

Keni suddenly shoved his brother back as Denahi tried to grab him. From there everything happened so fast. Denahi tackled his twin to the ground and Syn was there a moment later trying to separate them. Sani jumped in and held Keni back from hitting his brother while signing furiously, his face set in an angry scowl.

Denahi freed one of his arms from Syn's tight grasp and signed four words with finality, his face a warning to his brother.

"Why are they fighting?" I asked anyone who was willing to answer me. "What are they saying?"

"They are fighting about whether or not to say something. Denahi says it's not his place to say but Keni says you deserve to know." Roshan mumbled offhandedly.

"Tell me what?"

Roshan shook his head slowly, "I don't know."

Hakota stood between the twins, seeming just as miffed as the rest of us. "What is going on?" He demanded looking first at Keni and then Denahi.

Keni made a motion that had his brother lurching against Syn's hold.

"He just called his brother a word I'd rather not repeat," Roshan told me.

"Hey, hey, hey!" Hakota tried to calm them down while Keni writhed in the arms of Sani, doing his best to get free. My mate looked at Denahi but the lycan just glared back at his brother. "What is the problem?" Hakota demanded, not pleased to be dealing with issues within his own ranks when there were already so many with the werewolves.

Denahi sneered at his brother before answering his alpha with sharp motions.

"He wants to tell your mate something that is only your place to tell," Roshan translated for me.

"What?" Hakota growled out.

Denahi made one more gesture that had Hakota drawing in a sharp breath. I whipped my head to Roshan, waiting for him to translate but he only cleared his throat uncomfortably, scratching the back of his head.

"What?" I demanded, loud enough for all the lycans to hear. They all found something really interesting to look at that wasn't me or Hakota. I turned my frown on my mate, "what did he say?"

Hakota clenched his jaw, refusing to answer me and my mood only soured. I took a step towards him. "What do you have to tell me Hakota?"

"Nothing," he muttered, his fists clenching at his side.

"That whole exchange sure as hell looked like a lot more than nothing," I snapped, crossing my arms.

"It's fine, she's not going to cause any problems."

"She?" I couldn't help the jealousy that bubbled up within me. I knew it was ridiculous for me to feel this way considering in the end I was planning on killing him but the mate bond gave me the mentality that Hakota was mine and no one else had any claim on him.

"I'll take care of it," Hakota gritted.

The lycans around us shifted uncomfortably, not wanting to be part of our private discussion.

"You better tell me right now what the hell this is all about because I am not going to deal with whatever possessive females you've got hounding you."

"It's not like that," my mate snarled, "and stop assuming the worst about me."

"Then there shouldn't be a problem telling me what has everyone looking at me like a kicked puppy!" Damn it all he was really starting to piss me off. He expected me to wait for his explanation before judging but he refused to tell me a damn thing! Why would he keep it from me if it wasn't something I should be concerned about?

I waited, giving him one last chance to come clean.

"Don't worry about it."

We glared at each other, electricity shooting between us. Finally I shrugged off his jacket, annoyed by everything relating to him. I balled up the material and tossed it at my stupid mate before spinning on my heel and stomping away.

"Where the hell do you think you're going?" Hakota called after me.

"Don't worry about it," I threw his own words back in his face.

A frustrated sigh from my mate told me he was following me and I quickened my steps in return. "Would you stop?" My mate grabbed my shoulder and spun me around. "We don't have time for you to throw a tantrum." I opened my mouth to tell him off but he covered my mouth with his hand. "Let's just get to the lodge and we can talk there."

"No." I replied holding my ground. He had his chance and he didn't take it.

"No?" His brows rose at my unexpected answer.

"No." I reaffirmed.

He groaned, "I'm not going to wait here for you to cool off."

"Then don't," I huffed, "I'll get there myself."

"Cleo you don't even know how to get there."

"I'm not a human, Hakota. I can easily follow the scent of a hypocritical, lying and domineering lycan alpha. It shouldn't be too hard considering your ego stretches for miles."

He ran a frustrated hand through his dirty blond hair, "Cleo–"

"Screw off Hakota. If you don't have to tell me crap, don't expect me to report my every breath to you." With that I stormed away, glad that this time he didn't follow me.

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