Eleven | Hakota
Blood filled my mouth as I ripped into my enemies. Everything around me was hazy, my vision filtered in red. All I knew was to kill anything and everything that moved. With my pack beside me, I demolished the enemy, reveling in the feel of life ending under my claws and within my jaws. The satisfying sounds of bones breaking and flesh tearing was a beautiful harmony to the melody of the screams around me.
I halted my course of destruction only to glance at Sitka, my brother in war. The tawny and white pelted lycan turned his wolf head to meet my gaze, his tail wagging in satisfaction and enjoyment. Blood splattered his light coat, covering his muzzle and feet in crimson. Sitka raised his head and let out a howl in tribute to me, his alpha. Syn and Innoko answered his call, I raising my head last to echo it.
The Lunars fled the battlefield, though it couldn't even be called that. My lycans and I had tuned it into a bloodbath, a massacre. I stood, my four paws firmly planted on the ground as I watched them flee. The high of the blood lust started to fade as I regained my senses.
Immediately after my head cleared, I wished I had just kept killing. Every dead body around me was Cleo. It was her face that stared back at me with lifeless eyes. It was her neck that was torn out, her entrails spilled out on the earth. I shifted from my wolf skin unwillingly, stumbling back from the dead body that was her. My human legs couldn't support me and I fell to the ground, scooting away from her glassy eyes.
I stared at the body, my chest heaving with my heavy pants that grew increasingly more frantic with every passing second.
Then those dull lifeless eyes blinked and a sadistic grin twisted up the edges of her lips as she brought her hand to her face and put her finger to her lips, blowing out a shushing sound.
All I could do was stare back at her with wide eyes.
My shoulders were shaken violently as Sitka tried to bring me out of this living nightmare. Cleo only winked at me and then she was gone and the body now before me was that of a dead human who had tried to bring me down with their silver blade.
A whimper escaped me.
Of all damn sounds that could have exited my lips it was a whimper.
Sitka crouching before me, blocking off my sight of the body as he slapped my cheeks. "Snap out of it!" He command and I blinked, meeting his wild and concerned eyes. Sitka exhaled a breath of relief and cupped the back of my neck, bringing our foreheads together. "Breathe, brother." He commanded me, not letting me go until I did as ordered.
It had been a long time since Sitka had called me that. Ever since Cleo had entered my life I had changed, my priorities had shifted and Sitka felt like I'd betrayed him. Although we were not blood brothers, we were brothers in all the ways that counted and I missed him. This distance between us, the arguments...I couldn't live with it anymore, I needed him.
Tears were streaming down my cheeks, I could feel the way they burned their hot trail down my gore soaked face. I grabbed the back of his neck and held on to him just as tightly as he held me.
Deep shuddering breaths made their way through my body, my chest expanding and compressing with every inhale and exhale. When I had finally gained my bearings, Sitka helped me to my feet. Innoko and Syn joined us, their faces streaked with red and dirt. They too each brought our foreheads together in a silent way of saying 'we are with you' casting me a meaningful look.
Together we made our way off the battlefield, walking through the ranks of our troops as they parted silently. Their heads were ducked in reverence, respect, and fear. They had watched as we mowed down those two hundred Lunars like they were mounds of dirt. They watched as we were clawed, bit and cut but never even flinched as we healed. They saw how we used each other and had each other's backs, making it impossible to divide us. We didn't fight as individuals, we fought as a unit, as if we were one thought, one body, one mind. We fought as a pack was meant to, we showed them what the term could mean.
And we reminded them.
We gave them a cruel awakening to what we were. We were not of the same world as them. They had forgotten what we were. As our numbers evaporated into a mere nine, they forgot their fear, they forgot that they were not safe. They had grown lazy in these last generations, losing their knowledge on how to properly fight us. They couldn't remember what our weakness was, giving us the ultimate advantage.
They had to re-learn what we were, how we were designed. They had to find out what could take us down. They had to remember to separate us and overwhelm us with shear numbers, taking us out one at a time if they hoped to stand a chance.
But they wouldn't.
They had lost that valuable information and the only way they would ever gain back what they lost, was by battling us themselves. They had to learn for themselves through death and defeat. They had to learn by trial and error.
But they didn't have the time. They didn't have the numbers.
They were in a panic, throwing everything they could at us in an attempt to stop us. They weren't meticulous, they didn't have a plan. They knew nothing about us.
We might as well have been gods walking among them.
With a nod from Sitka, our troops were rallied by our strongest werewolves that we established as leaders within their ranks. They made ready to set up our camp here on this newly claimed land. I had them bring everything with, knowing this would be a slaughter and easy victory.
My tent was the first one up, ready for me within minutes. I strode inside, collapsing on the cot, ignoring the werewolves that entered and exited while bringing in the rest of my things.
I yanked off the shirt which always materialized on my body when I switched forms, wincing as it pulled off the scabs from my already healing wounds.
A nasty gash marred my abdomen, blood leaking everywhere. I used the shirt to staunch the bleeding, collapsing back so I stared up at the top of the tent while pressing the fabric to my side.
Even wounds as deep as these were trivial to lycans. Without the hunter's poison, our wounds would never get infected and would always heal on their own. All I had to do was wait and be patient, also making sure I didn't bleed out.
I closed my eyes and had a blissful five seconds of silence before my tent flap was opened. I didn't even bother opening my eyes, letting my other senses do the work to evaluate the newcomer.
I heard a clink of a dish which I assumed held my food, but judging by the lack of aroma it was cold and probably preserved and freshly unpacked. There was also a woodsy scent that was too light to be male so I knew the intruder to be female. I waited for her to leave but instead of her footsteps receding they closed the distance.
The shirt against my wound was gently taken from my grasp and a wet rag soaked in alcohol replaced it. I didn't even flinch at the sting that was a mere zap—over and done with in a second. I was too tired to explain to the female that our wounds didn't get infected like theirs and decided to just let her be.
When her fingers started to crawl their way over to my skin and daringly touch my stomach I snatch the hand, crushing it in my grip. I let my eyes open into an immediate glare, boring my eyes into my transgressor's. The female didn't look the slightest bit alarmed as she looked back without a hint of fear.
"Don't touch me," I growled. It would be my first and last warning.
The female only scoffed and removed her hand when I loosened my grip. "You are always so tense, Alpha. Always so angry."
I knew where this was going. It wasn't the first time since I'd begun my world domination that a female had tried to insert herself in my life without invitation. They were all fake, lusting after my power and the title of Queen. They thought they were sly, that they knew what I wanted. What they didn't understand was that lycans weren't like werewolves and humans. We weren't blinded by our desires and the sight of a pretty face. We only felt lust with our mates, anything other than that was a decision made with our heads. If we chose to sleep with someone other than our mate, we had a reason. I had only slept with Sky because she was a strong female and I had hoped that maybe I could get pups from her.
Sky has mistaken my motive for feelings and attachment. I had quickly disposed of her upon my return to the Forest Kingdom to begin my conquest. She didn't heed my warning and so she paid with blood. Every female after her that came at me with unwanted advancements also lost their heads.
The female's hands came back down to my skin, gliding over my ribs. "Let me make you feel good, let me make you forget about all your troubles. I can–"
I seized her by her throat, propping myself up with one arm as I met her eyes lazily. "Make me forget?" I feigned genuine curiosity. I was bored and the sadistic animal side of me enjoyed playing with my food.
Her frozen expression melted into a seductive grin as she nodded, bitting her lower lip. I loosened my hand enough for her to speak and breathe easily but did not remove it from her neck. "Yes. All of this stress with the Lunars and the spies, let me make it go away. Just for awhile."
The corner of my lip twisted up into a malicious smirk but the stupid female mistook my predatory grin as one of acceptance for her offer. She tried to lower herself but I tightened my grip, a squeak emitting from her lips at my sudden action. "Ah, ah, ah," I told her in a sing song voice. I sat up fully then, shoving her off me with my free hand. She landed between my legs on her knees, my hand around her throat the only thing keeping her from tumbling over backwards. I cocked my head, "Tell me, female, how do you plan to make me forget? How could you possibly erase my mate from my mind?" I leaned forward, gleeful to see genuine fear and panic in her eyes now. "How could you ever think you have the capability of making me forget that I tore out her goddamn throat and left her to die without so much as turning my head?" I squeezed her neck tighter. "How could you," I hissed, sneering at her pathetic form, "ever make me forget the taste of her blood and the feel of the snap in our bond?"
She shook her head, desperately trying to apologize. Tears bubbled up from her eyes as she tried to plead with me but only garbled noises came out.
"You can't," I snarled and with a final squeeze snapped her delicate neck and threw her away from me, her body falling to the floor as I flopped back down, flinging the rag soaked in alcohol across the tent. I tossed an arm over my eyes and groaned as I heard more footsteps coming towards me.
The flap was shoved aside and light filtered through. "Hakota," Sitka sounded urgent but stopped upon seeing the dead body on the ground. "Damnit Hakota, she's the best cook around this hell hole," he muttered, eyeing the female.
"She touched me," was all I said.
"Yeah well, that's the least of our problems," Sitka grumbled and kicked my cot in an attempt to get me up.
With a heavy sigh I let my arm slide away from my eyes and looked up at my friend who looked like he'd somehow already bathed. I rubbed a hand tiredly down my face and sat up, my elbows resting on my kneecaps as I hunched over. "We just demolished the last of the Lunar troops in this area, what problem could have possibly arisen in the last ten minutes?"
Sitka turned his head towards the tent entrance and took a step back, reaching out for the flap. "Our problem," he said and pulled the fabric away allowing me to see and hear to commotion right outside as Roshan struggled to keep a scrawny boy from lunging at Syn while cursing at the lycan loud enough for the fish at the bottom of the Icy Sea to hear, "Is that."