Eighteen | Hakota
Each step I took was an ominous beat as I stalked towards my prey. Everyone stayed out of my way, sensing that I was on a mission and made sure to keep their eyes cast down and their heads lowered should my target change to them.
The puny werewolf that was unworthy of being a lycan's mate was flirting it up with the females in camp. His back was towards me so he couldn't see me coming.
The females on the other hand looked up and upon seeing my murderous expression, their smiles fell and their eyes immediately lowered as they backed away from my obvious prey.
Terrin's light voice trailed off as he noticed the change in their attitudes and atmosphere. Whereas everyone could feel the constricting atmosphere and knew better than to set me off in anyway when I was in this state, Terrin disregarded my mood as always and turned to me with a look of indifference ready to run his mouth.
When he saw my expression and fully assessed my barely contained rage and the dangerous aura emitting from me his mouth snapped shut and he took a step back, stumbling into one of the females who squeaked and backed up further. The other females followed her lead and soon there was a good ten feet of space between them and Terrin.
I reached out and snatched him up by the collar of his shirt and brought him nose to nose with me. "You knew!" I snarled, "You knew she was alive all this time!"
The blood drained from his face, and he swallowed thickly, having nothing to say for once.
"What? Now you can't speak? You've never had a problem with opening your trap before, so speak." Terrin tried his best to crane his neck back to put some space between us. "Speak!" I roared giving him a rough shake.
"S-she's alive?" He managed to stutter out.
I smiled maliciously. Oh so he was going to play ignorant with me? "I'm only going to warn you this once, Terrin so listen closely," the werewolf gulped. "Do not," I said, "lie to me." I let him go abruptly and he crashed to the ground in a heap.
He didn't even bother picking himself off of the ground and stared at the dusty earth with his lips sealed tightly together. I could see the tears gathering in his eyes, all the proof I needed to confirm that Cleo was indeed alive.
"Goddammit!" I shouted causing all the of the females to scurry away should I project my anger towards them.
I spun away from the werewolf slumped at my feet, running a hand through my hair. "Why?" I demanded, suddenly turning back to him. "Why did she never give me a hint or try and contact me?"
Terrin swallowed back his tears, turning angry eyes up at me. "Why would she? So you could literally tear her heart from her chest and finish what you started?" He sniffed and ran his arm over his face to dry his tears. "You delivered your message loud and clear that you obviously don't give a shit about her. Why would she come back?"
"I'm her mate," I stated like it was obvious. Mates would always come back to each other as long as they were alive. It was impossible to stay away.
Terrin scoffed disgustedly. "So what?" He spat, "You had no problem tearing out her throat. You ripped your mark from her neck in an attempt to kill her. How could you do that?" He yelled, rising to his feet. "She killed her own father for you, you ass, and you killed her for it!"
"Apparently not," I muttered.
With a cry of rage Terrin barreled into me, catching me off guard and tackling me to the ground. "Yes you did!" He screamed, raising his fist to hit me. I easily blocked his attempts with my forearms. "She's not the same! She will never be the same because of you and you don't even care! You don't deserve her you piece of shit! You don't deserve to have her still care about you when you don't care about her!"
In his blind rage he rained down punches on me, getting in a few hits surprisingly. "She goes through her heat for you because for some dumb reason she feels guilty!"
His words shocked me enough that I forgot to block his punch and he landed a solid hit to my cheekbone.
I pushed him off me, annoyed with his tantrum. "Cleo has been going through her heats?" I asked while getting to my feet.
Terrin got to his feet as well, brushing off the dirt from his pants. "Of course you idiot. How else do you think Frayah got pregnant?"
If that was the case, it made even less sense that she had stayed hidden away from me all this time. Heats were a complex thing for females. For a typical werewolf, heats weren't bad. It was like an itch that you couldn't scratch. For lycans it was worse, like a constant burning that made you uncomfortably hot and ache all over. This was because our population was already so small, the heats were meant to give the mated pair an incentive to procreate. For lycan alpha females, it was the worst because their heats induced the pack's. The pain they went through during a heat was once described as 'a ranging inferno that slowly burns you from the inside out, filling every inch of your mind with the pain that intensifies with each passing moment.'
The reason a lycan alpha female went through so much pain during her heat was because an heir to take over the alpha spot was necessary in the pack because alphas had to born in or take over from a different pack. Alphas that were born in often came from the old alpha pair, their genes naturally stronger. An alpha female's heat was not something to take lightly. Even lycan males could feel the effects of heat. When our mate was close and we sensed their distress and discomfort, we in turn were effected in the same way. But because Cleo had been so far from me, and I had been convinced she was dead, I never felt the side effects of her heat. For Cleo to go through that herself for a week at a time would be torturous.
"She's been going through her heats alone?" I said more to myself than Terrin but he replied anyway.
He laughed sharply, somehow amused by my surprise. "Alone?" He laughed and I bristled. He laughed so hard he struggled to breathe and clutched at his stomach. When he finally gained control of himself he looked up at me, a triumphant glint in his eyes. "She's been going through her heat without you, that's true. But alone?" He shook his head, another laugh escaping. "Oh, no she's not alone. She found a pretty male to take care of that and provide his services outside of her heats as well." He grinned nastily at me, taking pleasure in whatever expression was on my face.
All I could feel was red hot rage coursing through me. "She what?"
"What? Did you want her to suffer through those too?" He sneered and I clenched my hands into fists. "Do you even understand how much worse that would be if she wasn't with someone? The fact that it isn't you already causes her enough pain."
"But I'm her mate!" I growled, my claws shooting out and puncturing my palms.
He raised a mocking brow, feigning surprise at hearing this. "Really? I haven't seen your mark on her shoulder for quite some time. Besides, she found a new mate, he's a much better fit." He added fuel to the growing fire within me and I was on the brink of an explosion.
"Who?" I demanded, forcing the words past my clenched teeth.
"What does that matter?" He returned flippantly. "All you need to know is it isn't you."
I had Terrin by throat before he could blink. "Do not," I warned him, "test me."
He glared at me defiantly, "You have no right," he hissed. "You have no right to be jealous after what you did to her."
I swallowed down my response of denial. He was right, I was jealous. I was so jealous I wanted to hurt someone. I couldn't help it. She was mine, she was my responsibility and she'd needed to find someone else to take care of her.
My hand tightened around his throat as I unintentionally squeezed him tighter, "She should have come to me, I would have..." I trailed off, not even meaning to say the words aloud.
"You would have finished the job," Terrin smarted back, somehow managing to get words out of his mouth even with the tight grip I had on him.
My eyes snapped up to his. "No!" I denied instantly, an immediate response I couldn't bite back. "No, I would have helped her." My voice dropped to a whisper, "She's my mate, I would have helped her. I wouldn't have let her go through that pain, I would have..." I told myself over and over that I would have been there for her, but my words were unconvincing even to me.
"Yeah, helped her by killing her so she couldn't feel pain or anything for that matter," he muttered dryly. "I think you might understand why she didn't ask for your help."
I released his throat and stepped back. I was full of turmoil.
Protect my mate or protect my pack? One always outweighed the other. These feelings, this need and desperation to do right by both of them was tearing me apart. I didn't even know what I wanted, or what I would have done had Cleo shown up at my doorstep.
Would I have killed her right there?
Or would I have pulled her into my embrace and helped her like I was meant to?
"By the moon, you really are messed up," Terrin breathed, noticing my inner conflict.
I felt the need to do both, I should have been able to do both and not have to choose between one or the other but I couldn't. Protect my pack and endanger Cleo or protect my mate and endanger my pack.
I was used to picking my pack. They came first in everything and everything. They were my world, I knew that I would never regret protecting them. As for Cleo, I couldn't say the same about regretting to pick her over my pack. She was my mate and I would always care about her, I had never stopped caring about her.
Yes, I had let my anger get the best of me and said some things that implied otherwise and followed up with actions that would have cemented that belief. I would admit that I regretted that. I regretted how I handled things but I did not regret the choice I made that day.
She had put my pack in danger and I did what I had to.
And I was right in my assumptions about the danger she presented. She was plotting my downfall, helping my enemy come up with a way to kill me and the rest of the lycans. With the lycans gone, Hunters would climb to the top and she would be the most powerful person to walk the earth.
Her being alive changed nothing. The only difference now was that I had a chance to correct my mistake. This time I would make sure she was dead for real. This time I would take care of her body and not let it become a weakness of mine.
Looking at the werewolf before me who would help me, I regathered my thoughts and directed them to my intentions. I had to lure Cleo out and Terrin was going to help me do that.
With a plan already forming in my head I grabbed the werewolf and dragged him through the camp, making sure everyone saw him. I took him to the center of camp where traitors and cowards would be chained and muzzled to one of the five poles there. I tossed him at the pole, watching him roll across the ground and hit one of the poles.
He looked up at me with wide eyes as I came at him, grabbing the chains and locking the connecting shackles to his ankles. The third one I clamped around his neck, fitting the muzzle piece into the collar and sealing his mouth.
He pulled at the chains, his frantic eyes pleading with me to offer an explanation for my actions. Raising my voice I said loudly for those who crept closer to see what was going on to hear. "Terrin, I brand you a traitor for aiding the Lunars and obstructing vital information. I sentence you to death for your crimes and when the new moon comes, I will kill you."
With that I left him chained to the pole, his muffled shouts fading into the distance.
Now all I had to do was wait for word to get back to the Lunars, to Cleo.
Then I would finish what I started.
Their roles have flipped. Now Hakota believes he has to kill Cleo. What do you think about that?
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