Fifteen | Cleo
I was laughing inside at the female sitting across from me. I kept a bored expression on my face as she went on and on about the tyranny of the lycans and why they needed to be stopped. Quite honestly she was worse than Sebastian. I could see that this female, the head of the Lunar forces and in charge of their war against Hakota, was very good at lying. She tried to sell her story about her concern for the fate of the world were it to fall into the hands of the lycans. She talked about how she was taking a stand for those too scared to do so, that she was going against the lycans because they were monsters and needed to be stopped for the good of everyone else.
I didn't fall for it.
I knew pure hate when I saw it and this female had a history with the lycans. She was acting solely on her own vengeance agenda, manipulating others to carry out her plan.
So I smiled at her, letting her think she was convincing me. I nodded along with her, adding my own lies to her own. I was bored, and I wanted some excitement. I wanted to see what this female had planned to take down the lycans because she obviously was aware how miserably she and her Lunar forces were failing. She didn't seem like one to just give up though so I knew she had to have some secret weapon, because she wasn't at all disturbed or angry when Sebastian had told her about their huge losses.
Mila, was her name, or at least that's what she wanted everyone to call her because Camilla was to formal. Another manipulation on her part, establishing familiarity in an attempt to get others to trust her, confide in her and believe in her.
She was quite sly, I would give her that but her fake smile and lies did not fool me. However, she didn't need to know that.
"Even if you gathered all the hunters and sent us out to kill the lycans, we would still lose. You've fed to much into their blood lust. Besides, they have a huge army behind them, some of their werewolves would kill us hunters before we even got a shot at the lycans."
I expected her to pretend that she didn't believe my words and hide that she had something up her sleeve but I underestimated her ego and determination to get me on her side. "Oh I am quite aware that the nine of them are quite formidable especially when engaged in battle for a long period of time."
I crossed my arms and leaned back in my chair, the wooden furniture balancing on a single leg, "Then why do you think I'd be stupid enough to join you and die?"
She smiled wryly, preening before me as she made ready to reveal her big secret, the reason I had stayed in the Lunar Kingdom with people that could do nothing to help me save Terrin. "Let's just say I've found a way to make the weakest of us, the humans, into the most dangerous of our species, for awhile at least," she added dismissively waving her hand, "it's a work in progress."
I laughed, I couldn't help it. The words she had just spoken were utterly ridiculous and quite impossible.
"You laugh," she didn't seem fazed by my disbelief, "but I'll prove it." Standing up from the couch she walked over to the closed door and rapped on it with her knuckle. It opened instantly and she whispered some words to the man there. He nodded and left from his post.
Mila turned to me with a smile, "Come on, I'll show you."
This was it. What I had been waiting to see for the last three weeks. The reason I had forced myself to stay these long days among the ignorant fools Sebastian worked with. I was glad that Sebastian had been paired with me as a mate, and not any of these idiots. I guess intelligence and common sense really were written into genetic code and Sebastian was one of few who inherited that trait around here.
I slowly uncrossed my legs, making sure to look unconvinced by her claim as I stood and walked over to her. She gestured for me to exit the room, holding to door back for me.
She led me down, down, down, through levels I didn't know existed in this building. It was a basement within a basement.
It wasn't a sketchy setting like I half expected, watching my back in case Mila decided to try and kill me. No, instead it looked like a modern lab. Machinery, monitors, bags filled with liquid, bright white lab coats, hospital beds and scientists everywhere.
I didn't care about any of that though. My eyes were glued to the male sitting up on the hospital bed, a scientist beside him, scribbling things down as the male grunted out answers.
Camilla was smirking behind me when she saw my awe at what was before me. At this point I couldn't even pretend to keep my bored mask up because what I saw was extraordinary. The male, who smelled completely human, who was in fact a human, was sheathing and unsheathing claws from his human fingers. He looked down at his hand with the same interest I did. Turning his hand over as if to find a reasonable explanation, an answer for this anomaly.
I strode over to him, snatching up his hand and pushing the scientist away. The male growled at me, baring canines he should not possess. The scientist started voicing his complaint but Camilla touched his shoulder lightly to silence him.
I turned the male's hand over to see the back of his hand. I traced his nail beds where the claws had disappeared. "How is this possible?" I asked him, pushing my thumb pad to the tip of his nail.
"A lot of damn painful injections," he muttered in reply, letting his hand relax in my grip as I continued my study.
I flipped his hand over, tracing the lines of his palm. "What does it feel like?"
The claws shot out from his fingers once more but I did not flinch away. "To be able to do this?" He asked unnecessarily, "I feel powerful."
I looked up at him then, meeting his eyes for just a second before returning my attention to his now extended claws. "What's the catch?" I asked because there always was one.
"My body feels like it is constantly being torn apart and knitted back together."
Ah, a rather large and painful catch. "What were you injected with?"
The male looked over my shoulder to Camilla, asking for permission to answer. I assumed she gave him the go ahead when he spoke. "Werewolf blood, particles of lycan bone and hunter venom."
I dropped his hand like fire and whipped around to Mila. "Hunter venom?" I demanded taking a threatening step towards her. If she dared to experiment on my hunters...
She held up a hand, "It was given freely, the hunters who donated are for the cause. unfortunately they are all dead now and no more are coming in. I'm running out of venom Rala, I need your help."
I snorted, "You think I alone can produce the amount of venom you need?"
She nodded her head, "For now at least, yes. Our Hybrids are dying within days of the injections, that's even if they make it through the transformation. I can't keep sacrificing the numbers hoping a few will come out right. I need more research, I just need you to supply enough venom for a few Hybrids. They only need one shot of venom and that's it."
I crossed my arms. "They're dying?" I scoffed, "Of course they're dying, you just put strands of DNA, genetic coding of a lycan and a hunter in their bodies to battle it out. They are dying because they are literally being torn apart from the inside out. They are human, their hearts can't support that kind of stress."
"I know," Mila replied, letting desperation tint her words. "But werewolves die instantaneously from the injections. Humans are the only ones who can take it because they are a clean slate. They have pure DNA."
I crossed my arms, looking back at the male that didn't seem surprised or fazed by this information. He knew he was going to die in a matter of days but he still volunteered for the injections anyway.
I didn't understand it.
Why were all these people willing to die for a war that could not be won? Why did they sacrifice their lives to put off the inevitable for one more day? Did taking a stand make them feel important? Did it provide them with a purpose? Did they believe, dare to hope, that they could withstand the injections and escape death?
I had so many questions and I needed to stay longer to get answers.
I stared long and hard at the fake female before me. Shooting me a pleading look with big doe eyes and a broken expression. Tearing off her masks I could see what lay beneath. She wasn't going to let me leave without a fight. She needed my venom for her little experiments. I was now part of her revenge plan.
As much as I hated it, I would stay.
I was curious about these Hybrids, curious to see if Mila could succeed in making them a long lasting weapon to combat the lycans.
If I had to give up a bit of venom to find my answers, I had no problem with that. I'd let her think she was playing me when it was really the other way around.
"Fine," I finally conceded. "I'll help you with your project, but I need you to do something for me."
Her gleeful and overly eager expression only crumpled marginally at my words. "What can I do?"
I grinned at her, an unfriendly smile of sharp teeth. "I need you to find a friend of mine. Perhaps you know of him?"
"Who is it you speak of?" Mila was cautious.
Nervous people played it safe or made mistakes, I was interested to see which one Camilla did.
"I need you to deliver Coda a message from me."