Thirty | Cleo
Not even a twinge of guilt pinched my heart at the way I had treated Hakota. He needed to hear everything I had told him and he deserved me telling him in such a spiteful manner.
I was fuming inside, unable to wrap my head around the new problem Hakota had tossed my way. As if things weren't difficult enough, he went ahead and demoted himself. Now the Lycan pack had no alpha.
I hardly counted as their substitute alpha as I had not been inducted into the pack at all as of yet, let alone nominated or accepted as the alpha.
Hakota had lost a great deal of his power by renouncing his title. He had weakened himself voluntarily and that would only make things more difficult. He was used to being the alpha, he relied on that extra power, he was accustomed to the work that came with it. Now those alpha characteristics that had become a part of him, part of his personality, were gone and I worried about the repercussions.
I didn't have time to deal with Hakota trying to remake himself.
The only positive thing out of this whole fiasco was the fact that he seemed less high strung. He wasn't as pushy. My dominance overshadowed his now which meant I wouldn't have to deal with him undermining me.
I shot a glance to my left where I caught Sebastian's eyes. He quickly looked away, a dusting of red coating his cheeks, embarrassed he'd been caught looking at me.
A loud snort came from behind me and Seb's cheeks only turned redder. I didn't even bother looking back at Hakota, knowing it was what the male wanted.
There was so much tension between the three of us I was half tempted to run ahead just to get a breath of fresh air.
I was eager to get this trip over with. At least my mind would be occupied elsewhere while I was in the middle of taking out the Lunar rebellion. However, I couldn't go straight to the Lunar's headquarters so I stalled for time, claiming it was time to set up camp before the sun had even set.
Hakota only gave me a confused look, glancing up at the sky that was still obviously light out. There was no reason to stop at all let alone this early. He had assumed we would just travel through, walking all night because exhaustion wasn't really an issue for any of us. Walking without stopping was the logical and time saving thing to do but I had my reasons.
Instead of answering his unasked question I nodded over to Sebastian who took the lead. He lead us another mile before breaking off trail and walking us a little ways into a wooded area. He stopped and turned to me, raising a brow in conformation from me.
I looked around, satisfied, and dropped my pack to the ground and began to set up a small camp for us. We were still outside Lunar territory as was my intention. I had been leading us around rather than straight through. I needed to waste the extra time and our round about way would lower our chances of being spotted by Lunar forces.
Sebastian knew where their main lookout points were and their rotational sweeps of the territory. Some may think I was a fool to trust him, but I was not worried in the slightest as I pitched camp exactly where he told me would be a good spot.
I set to work on building a fire. There was no need for tents. We all had wolf forms with fur that would keep us warmer than a blanket could.
While I was busy making the fire with Sebastian assisting in finding fuel and gathering it for me so that I could focus on feeding the fire which was proving difficult with the wind, I forgot to keep my eye on the lycan. Sebastian built a wall around the fire out of branches and logs to block the wind so that our fire wouldn't go out. I was so preoccupied with my task that I didn't even notice Hakota had disappeared until I had the fire burning strongly.
I immediately shot to my feet and looked around, grinding my teeth in irritation when I saw no sign of the lycan. I tried to pick up his scent but the wind hindered my ability to do so. I growled in frustration and set off to find him. I walked a hundred meter circle around my camp only to stomp back to Sebastian when I came up empty handed.
I plopped myself down in front of the fire, glaring into the flames.
Sebastian said nothing, knowing better than to ask questions or start a conversation when I was in such a mood. Normally Terrin had been the one to instigate my sulking but that chapter of my life seemed years ago.
The werewolf slowly sat down next to me, letting out a quiet breath.
We were silent, the only sound being the wind and the snapping of the fire.
When I was tired of waiting for Hakota to return, doubting he would at all, I harshly unzipped my backpack and pulled out the provisions I had packed. I grabbed a large piece of jerky out of a paper bag and then tossed the brown sack over to Sebastian.
I ripped off a chunk with my teeth, my jaw working furiously as I chewed. I couldn't even finish the piece of jerky I was so mad. Having lost my appetite, I was about to shift into my wolf form and just sleep it off when a huge shadow caught my attention.
The shadow lumbered closer, not trying to hide its approach at all. Getting closer I could see it was a massive black wolf, the glossy coat holding a bluish sheen to it.
I had only seen Hakota in his wolf form once before and that was when I was being mauled by rogues and he did nothing to stop it. The memory put a bitter taste in my mouth.
Hakota approached, staying in his wolf form. As he drew closer I could see a rabbit hanging from his jaws. It was a good sized rabbit, plump enough to satisfy one of us.
Having expected him to eat the damn thing right next to me, I was surprised when he dropped it at my feet.
I could only stare at it before looking up at the wolf, those same eyes that held no difference to the ones I saw every time I looked upon Hakota's face.
A low whine broke through his throat and I snapped back into the present. "I don't want it," I told him coldly.
The scene was eerily familiar to the one where I had taken down the dear on our way to Cor Lupum and offered it to him only for him to reject it.
Seeing that I was not going to change my mind the wolf whined again and sat down on his haunches.
I didn't like Hakota being in his wolf form. He was more susceptible to the mate bond in this form and he let his instincts drive him. This wasn't Hakota, the sweet gesture was not his and it only filled me with bitterness.
The black wolf nudged it closer to me with his nose, not taking no for an answer.
When I did not say anything or move, he laid down on his belly and put his head on his fore paws, staring up at me as he wait for me to accept his gift.
"I already ate, I'm not hungry," I told him briskly and gave the carcass a little kick with my foot.
Hakota jumped to his feet and picked up the rabbit, holding it carefully in his jaws as to not puncture the skin.
I waited for him to leave and risked a glance at Sebastian who was watching the exchange with a furrowed brow. He didn't look angry, just thoughtful.
When something heavy landed in my lap I whipped my attention back to Hakota and looked down in my cradled legs to see the dead animal. My eyes snapped up, fury evident in them as I seethed at the stubborn male.
He backed up a few steps, his head dipping down as he watched expectantly.
That only pushed me to the end of my rope. He was completely disregarding my rejection and he was really pissing me off. "I said I don't want it!" I barked, picking up the rabbit carcass and flinging it at the large black wolf.
I had whipped it at him with such much anger that the rabbit's skull exploded like a grape from the force when it hit Hakota's shoulder.
He yelped in pain, the bone against bone probably feeling more like I had chucked a rock at him rather than a rabbit.
The wolf looked down at the carcass, the skull smashed in and now covered in mud where it had landed. Dejectedly, he picked up the rabbit in his jaws and padded away, doing his best not to limp although I could tell I had really hurt his shoulder by the way his gait was slightly off.
I sharply looked away from the wolf, hugging my knees tightly as I rested my cheek on my kneecaps, facing away from Sebastian. I didn't want to see what he was thinking.
I hated this. I hated the guilt I was feeling.
It took everything I had not to lay down my pride and walk over to Hakota, take the damn rabbit and apologize.
I shouldn't be feeling this way.
I had nothing to be sorry for.
Hakota didn't get to do this to me. He didn't get to use the pure side of himself, of the bond, to try and make amends.
Everything he did in his wolf form was just a lie.
A lie I desperately wished was the truth.