Out of the Light

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Two | Hakota

Snap!

The sound of cracking bone filled the small townhouse room.

I heard a sigh of disappointment from behind me as another body dropped from my grip and crumbled to the ground in a heap.

I stepped over the body, the floorboards creaking beneath my weight as I walked to the young woman huddled in the corner of the room. I crouched down, balancing on the balls of my feet before her. I exhaled a heavy breath, tapping my finger on my knee. "I killed your brother," I told her the obvious, watching as her lower lip trembled, "I killed your friend," a lone tear leaked from her eye, "I killed your mate." My voice was a dark whisper. I showed her my claws covered in blood, "I have no problem in killing you." She whimpered, failing to stay silent like she tried to do. I tilted my head, "So unless you want to end up like all of them," I flicked my head to the dead bodies littering the floor, "I suggest you tell me what I want to know."

I traced a claw down her cheek, running it down to the corner of her lip, "Speak." I put just enough pressure to cut the corner of her lip. I watched the blood stain my claw, mesmerized by the red color that had come to be a regular occurrence in my life.

Her hands shook, and she tried balling them in fists to hide it. Swallowing thickly she raised her chin, "I'll never tell you what you want to know. We plan on wining this war and finishing what Eric Farland started. Your ma–"

My hand shot out, wrapping around her throat. Her voice cut off in a gurgle as I squeezed. "Win?" I snorted, "The only one winning is me. The Old Kingdom is mine, the Forest Kingdom is mine and it's only a matter of time before I claim the Lunar Kingdom. I will cleanse the land in fire and blood until I find what I want." The female sputtered, hitting weakly at my arm. "So tell me," I squeezed my hand tighter with each word, "Where. It. Is."

The female stopped prying at my fingers and attempted to laugh, the sound coming out as a choked cackle. "Where she is," she rasped. "She's alive, lycan king, and she hates your guts for what you did." She smiled, coughing on a laugh as blood started to flow from her mouth.

With a roar I threw her across the room, her body smashing through the window. "Damn liar!" I bellowed out and stalked towards the window. I went to pick her up but glassy, lifeless, eyes stared into nothingness. I slammed my hand on the wall shouting out a curse.

Sitka put a hand on my shoulder but I shrugged it off. "Clean up the bodies and display them so people here will know what's about to happen to them if they don't start talking!" The werewolves with me cleared a path as I stormed out of the confining town house.

Roshan was waiting outside. He opened his mouth to speak but upon seeing my face quickly closed it and just followed behind me silently. "She isn't alive," I spat.

"I didn't say anything," Roshan replied quietly.

I scoffed, shaking my head as I strode down the street. "But you think she is." Roshan didn't deny it. I stopped abruptly, turning toward the red haired lycan. "I ripped her throat out Roshan, I made sure she would die."

He dropped my gaze and bowed his head. "It doesn't mean you can't have hope. We have yet to find the body–"

"Stop!" I snarled and Roshan clenched his jaw, turning away from me. "Just stop," I said in a more controlled voice. I turned and resumed walking. "We find Coda, we find the body, and we end this stupid war."

"You know as well as I that the hunters have been keeping their distance. They've gone silent."

"What a load of bullshit," I growled. "That's just what they want us to think. They wouldn't spend three hundred years at war with us and then just stop because Eric Farland is dead."

"But they might if they were ordered to," Roshan mumbled.

I whirled around so fast Roshan didn't have any time to react as I pinned him on the brick wall of a townhouse. "Stop grasping at straws Roshan. I killed her alright? I killed my mate and your alpha female and you nor I can do a damn thing to change it."

Roshan glared back at me defiantly. "If she's dead then why can you still sense her?"

I shoved Roshan harder into the wall, trying to knock some sense into him so he'd stop trying to give me hope. "Because it's all in my head!" I snarled and pushed him again. Roshan grunted at the impact as I shouted louder, "and dreams don't mean a goddamn thing so don't even think about spouting off your seer shit."

"Hakota!" Sitka shoved himself between us, forcing me to release Roshan who rubbed at his throat as red fingerprints started to fade in on his skin. "Go take a walk," he hissed at me giving me a little push on the chest. A loud growl rumbled deep in my chest but I turned and stalked off flexing my fingers as I tried to prevent myself from going into full lycan mode.

I ran my fingers through my hair, gripping at the roots and giving them a harsh tug.

This was supposed to be my lucky break. Those werewolves were supposed to have the information I wanted. They were supposed to tell me where Coda was so I could find the damn bastard and tear his head from his shoulders. For the last year and a half that I'd been searching for Cleo's body my enemies all told me the same thing. That she was still alive and it was her that was leading the Lunar forces against me. It was her that was convincing people to rebel against my rule. I knew that was a bunch of shit because if she was alive and really hated me that much she would have broken the bond so my pack females couldn't go into heat and get pregnant. And since Frayah was heavily pregnant and due any day now I was very certain that everything they spouted was a bunch of lies.

Roshan tried to cling onto the hope that Cleo was alive and that was the reason his mate and Frayah had their heats.

The real reason Frayah and Innoko got their heats was because within a lycan pack, if the alpha female was marked and properly bonded with her mate she would activate the heats for the other females. If that alpha female then happened to die, the rest of the pack would not suffer from it as their heat had already been unlocked. Usually bonding with your mate meant you had to well, mate with them, but Cleo was a hunter and apparently for them the only pieces of the puzzle needed were the mark and acceptance of the bond. I had gotten both of those so, voilà.

At first Sitka had been furious I had killed Cleo because he believed I had thoughtlessly ended our race but really I had learned about this useful piece of information awhile back. In my search for a way not to mate with Cleo I stumbled across some old record books about different lycan packs. I had noticed the alpha female had died but the rest of the pack continued having pups. Upon more digging I found two more occurrences like that. With more in-depth investigation I found the similarities between them and stored away this information. I never told anyone of what I'd learned because at the time it led me to a dead end and hadn't been helpful to what I'd wanted to achieve.

If I hadn't known this I would not have killed Cleo just for the sake of my pack but because I no longer needed her and she was a liability, I disposed of her.

Roshan and I had been at odds since that day. He believed Cleo had no part in what had taken place. He had argued with me, calling me a fool for killing her after she proved her loyalty by killing her father to save us. He refused to see the truth. He didn't believe she was capable of something so malevolent like I did. Roshan had never been blinded before, he was always able to see someone's true intentions but for some reason with Cleo, he couldn't. Our pack was split on the matter. Innoko, Sani, Sitka and the twins sided with me but Roshan, Frayah and Syn did not.

I knew Cleo had been infected by her father. He raised her to thirst for power and she wasn't going to let anyone stand in her way. Killing her father wasn't an act of loyalty towards us, it was another strategic move on her part. She wanted to be alpha of the hunters, and, with me as her mate, she would be alpha female of the lycans, head of the two most powerful species in our world. I couldn't trust her with our lives, is was too likely she would use us again like she had. She let us go, let me live because she needed us. We were too powerful of weapons—should she be able to wield us—to destroy.

Perhaps she would have done exactly what I was doing and take over all the kingdoms, but I couldn't trust her not to kill me and my pack when she was finished. If she was like her father she wouldn't allow a person of equal caliber to live and have a chance at usurping her. There had been too many variables, she was too ambitious, so I put her down.

I didn't regret it. I did what I had to do. I wasn't searching for her body because of some sappy love reason. My sanity literally depended on it. I saw flashes of her face in every female I walked past only to blink and everything turn normal. I heard her voice when I was alone, smelled whiffs of her for a split second. All I did was dream about her and they weren't pleasant dreams. The nightmares kept me from sleeping and I felt as though I was slowly losing my mind. Ripping my mark from her neck had been a mistake. It was like I'd broken us but quickly sealed us back together in the wrong places. She was in my head and I needed to get her out.

I believed that by finding her body, having the proof before me that she was well and truly dead, would allow me peace from the hauntings.

I couldn't be a strong leader with my mind being torn apart. My entire pack saw me breaking apart as I was devoured by madness. None of them heard her voice, smelled her scent, or saw her everywhere. It was just me.

While I'd been searching for Cleo's body, they tried searching for a cure but so far were empty handed. There had never been a case like mine where a lycan killed their mate who was marked.

Finding her body had taken much more effort than I'd anticipated. Coda had disappeared into the wind but the rebels and Lunar Kingdom were an ever present pain in the ass. I couldn't just pause the war. I was now multitasking, unable to focus on one or the other. My search had not gone unnoticed and my enemies took it upon themselves to race me in the search. They claimed to have her alive and on their side but I doubted their claim. If that were really true she would have showed herself to me, given me proof that she was alive and that I should be afraid of what she planned to do.

I was growing increasingly irritated about my enemies stressing the fact that Cleo hated me. Did they think I cared? I wasn't on this mission because I regretted my actions and was hoping to find her alive. I killed Cleo because she was a traitor. She couldn't be trusted, and with her alive, I would time and time again fall into her trap because the mate bond pulled me to her and made loving her irresistible. I couldn't risk the safety of my pack and the continuance of my race on my heart and feelings for her so I eliminated the threat.

I was searching for her body to destroy her once and for all. Be she alive or not, one way or the other, she'd be dead when I finally got my hands on her.

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