Chapter 27: The Rogue Alpha
Hailey and Hunter returned to their seats after the dance. By then, dinner had been served with a wide spread, which absolutely delighted Hailey and the rest of the pack. Everyone got ready to eat at their own tables.
“I’m starving,” said Viola after she returned from her dance with a few men she was friends with.
Gabriel didn’t dance with anyone, even though, there were a lot of women that wanted to above anything else. But they didn’t have the courage to come and ask him. Hailey felt pretty bad for all those girls that couldn’t summon courage to come to their pack’s alpha. Gabriel’s intimidating aura was overwhelming and his gaze stopped many people in their tracks. Besides all of those qualities, Hailey knew Gabriel was innocuous- unless someone wanted to cause him trouble. However, Hailey had some uncertainty that he would dance with anyone even if someone asked him.
Hailey enjoyed the food as much as everyone else around the table had. But then, something in Hunter changed, alerting her and her wolf. “What’s wrong?” she asked as she noticed him stiffen beside her even though she knew that he enjoyed the food just as much as her. Hunter’s amber gaze hardened and his eyes turned towards the massive doors.
“She’s here,” he alerted everyone at the table.
Hailey had no clue what Hunter was talking about, but apparently the rest of them seemed to understand almost immediately what Hunter implied- especial Gabriel. But it wasn’t just the ones at her own table. Everyone in the banquet seemed to have turned their attention off their food and towards the door.
In the darkness of the night emerged a tall, elegant woman in black. Her skin as pale as the moon; her eyes cobalt blue- dark as sapphires; hair as black as the feathers on a crow and it was cut short to align to her sharp, hard-set jawline. The woman’s leather heeled boots clinked on the hard-floor grabbing everyone’s warranted attention. But she didn’t even spare a glance or get mildly caught off guard by all the eyes. This woman’s iron gaze faced the front and that’s all it was concerned for.
Hailey’s wolf sensed the dominance emitting from this woman. The strength was almost ominous in the night air. She was undoubtedly an alpha and a trained fighter from the way her body moved with such languid control. The woman cut straight through the tables and located the main host of the party.
Czar stopped his dinner. He got out of his seat to greet this woman- no one was surprised that he had, except Hailey. The woman hugged Czar and his wife before she took the seat right next to him. Eventually, everyone returned to their dinners. But at the back of their heads, they all paid notice to the woman that sauntered in quietly, but her presence was louder than a hurricane.
“Who is that?” Hailey asked them discreetly.
“That’s Zero,” answered Hunter.
“What pack is she from?” asked Hailey.
River shook his head. “Zero’s not from a pack,” he said. “She’s a rogue.”
Hailey studied the woman so-called Zero. She had not once cracked a smile or seemed to falter in her demeanour. She held a discussion with Czar and his wife about something; it probably wasn’t serious from the way she made Czar and his wife laugh. Although, the woman didn’t even blink, so the air around the table felt dire.
Suddenly, Gabriel got to his feet and he made his way over to Czar’s table. This was the first time Gabriel got up to meet someone on his own accord.
“What’s gotten into him?” asked Hailey as she saw Gabriel reacting unlike himself.
Ryder chuckled knowingly. “Our Gabriel is very fond of Zero.”
Hailey gaped at Ryder. “As in romantically?”
“No,” Vincent waved his hand, “as in alpha.”
“But I thought she wasn’t a part of a pack?” asked Hailey.
“She’s not,” said Azura. “But you have no idea, how much ‘alpha’ that woman is.”
Hailey scoffed. “Please, I could smell it coming off of her all the way from the door.”
“I heard she got a few followers,” alleged Hunter. “Didn’t a few wolves leave their packs to join her?”
“Not enough to build a pack of her own,” answered River. “It’s just three guys that joined her.”
“On a whim?” asked Hailey.
River shook his head. “She’s known as the ‘executioner’ in our world,” he whispered. “Zero goes after people who mistreat wolves, especially rogues. So, some joined to help her operation.”
“Gabriel started the same crusade after they met long ago,” said Hunter. “She’s the reason, the Centauri’s do what they do to help the wolves that live in our part of the city.”
“This is news,” astonished Hailey. “So, Gabriel admires Zero.”
“More like, he secretly idolizes her,” corrected Hunter.
Gabriel returned to their table after a brief conversation with Czar and Zero. He simply took his seat and didn’t say a word to them, even though they were dying to know what happened.
“So-” Vincent broke the heavy silence- “how’d it go?”
Gabriel looked over and found all of their eyes on him; hungry for information. “It went fine,” he said curtly.
“Oh, don’t be a tease,” rebuked Viola. “Details, brother, details.”
Gabriel crossed his legs. “She just returned from a trip-”
“From where?” interrupted River who was eager to know more. “Was it one of her missions?”
“Berlin,” said Gabriel, “and considering it’s Zero we’re discussing, then it was definitely a mission.”
“Berlin?” contemplated Hunter. “She went to the BlueBlood pack.”
Gabriel nodded. “I wasn’t surprised that she went there for her next mission.”
“Why?” asked Hailey.
“The BlueBlood pack has a part in extorting young wolves for weapons or money,” said Hunter. “They sell them off to bigger packs that need soldiers for armies.”
Hailey’s gut sank. She looked over to Czar’s table and had a sudden admiration for Zero. She singlehandedly took down an entire pack and destroyed such an evil organization.
Suddenly and very unexpectedly, Zero had gotten out of her seat and made her way towards Gabriel. “Good evening,” she greeted them with a very suave and husky voice.
Hailey looked around the table, they all looked composed, but she knew that they were all inwardly panicking. But Vincent smoothly saved them. “Good evening, Zero,” he said politely. “It’s a pleasure meeting you here.”
Azura rapidly pulled the chair next to her, so Zero could take a seat. “Thank you,” she said to Azura. “It’s nice to see familiar faces as well.”
“We didn’t expect you at this party,” said Gabriel. “Truly, it was an unexpected surprise.”
Zero cracked a smile. “I am known for those,” she remarked. “Congratulations to the couple. Czar told me you mated, Hunter-” her cobalt blue eyes looked over towards Hunter and Hailey- “Hello, Hailey.”
Hailey’s heart skipped a beat when her eyes fused with this mysterious woman’s. “Hi,” she greeted back, but she couldn’t muster the courage to say more.
“I heard what you’ve been doing with this city,” Zero said to Gabriel and the rest of them. “It’s good to know that you’ve been taking care of this part of the world.”
All of them seemed to absorb Zero’s compliment. “We’re doing our best,” said Gabriel.
“That we are,” she replied before she got out of the seat. “I’m going to go greet some of the other guests.”
“Isaiah and Zachariah are here,” said Gabriel quickly. “Would you like me to take you?”
“Aren’t you eating?” she asked.
“It’s fine,” Gabriel swiftly got out of his seat and took her to meet the other alphas.
They all let out a heavy breath, which they had no idea they were holding in up until the point Zero left their table. Hailey was in awe of such a woman who had a danger in her eyes, that made those sapphire orbs rigid and firm. Hailey understood exactly why Gabriel admired this woman; it was clear as day. The poise Zero held herself with was unquestionable. There was an honour in the way Zero spoke, observed and walked, which was something that couldn’t be taught; it was something one had to be born with.
“How long have they known each other?” she asked Hunter.
“A few years,” he answered.
Hailey went back to her dinner and didn’t raise any more questions, because the more she asked, the more mysterious Zero got. Hailey couldn’t put her finger on it, but Zero was like a hidden figure in this world. And no matter how many questions Hailey asked, it wouldn’t be enough to get to know this rogue alpha.
Dinner ended and Gabriel mostly stayed beside Czar and Zero. The three were joined with Isaiah and Zachariah as well.
Evangeline returned to their table. “You handle him, Hailey,” she said as Dimitri ran into Hailey’s arms. “He’s been bothering me the whole time to get over here.”
“No, I wasn’t,” rebuked Dimitri.
“Were you bothering your mom, Dimitri?” asked Hailey firmly.
Dimitri pouted. “Maybe,” he mumbled. “But I wanted to come back here, it’s more fun.” His blue eyes suddenly lifted and regarded River and Ryder very closely. “Your River-” he pointed- “and you’re Ryder.” The twins shook their head in denial, which angered Dimitri. “Ugh, I don’t know,” he looked over to Azura. “Can’t you give me a clue?” he demanded from her.
“That would be cheating,” Azura said ruthlessly.
Dimitri rolled his eyes, but then, he smirked and looked over to Hailey. “Can you tell me?” he asked very innocently, with his wolfish blue eyes, that instantly melted Hailey into a puddle.
“There she goes, falling under his spell,” amused Evangeline. “She’s been charmed by him. Better be careful Hunter, or else my son might snatch your Hailey away.”
Hunter raised a brow. “I know Hailey’s taste,” he remarked. “She’s into men with more exper-” Hailey smacked Hunter’s arm shutting him up.
Hailey put her mouth near Dimitri’s ear and whispered the subtle, but major clue. Dimitri grinned and looked back at the twins who had slightly different hair colours.
“I see it,” he announced. “You’re Ryder and you’re River!” This time Dimitri won.
“You cheated,” stated Azura.
Dimitri shrugged. “My dad would say it’s playing smart,” he rebuked.
Hailey gathered the boy in her arms and brought him to her lap. “You’re so cute, Dimitri,” she said as she hugged him tightly.
“I’m not cute,” Dimitri scoffed, “that’s not cool, Hailey.”
Dinner had ended and many guests prepared to leave after saying their ‘farewells’ to the Bacardi family. Hailey and the rest of the group hung back, so the crowd would disperse and it would be safer to make an exit. Gabriel and River had left their side to escort Zero from the side entrance with Czar and the other alphas. So, the group waited for all of them to return as well.
Dimitri was in his mother’s arm, with his small head resting on her shoulder. He had worked up quite the appetite playing with them. After he ate like a hungry wolf, he had fallen asleep. Hailey’s eyes felt heavy too and her body strained to stay on her feet for a few more moments.
Hunter’s arm circled around her, supporting her weary body. “Just a few more moments,” he whispered to her. She rested her head on his shoulder. The crowd of people had all left. Hunter, Hailey and the rest of the family members waited for their alpha to return now.
Gabriel, River and the rest of the alphas promptly came back. Hailey guessed that Zero was well on her way back to her own home- wherever that was. “Thank you for inviting us, Czar,” Gabriel said.
“It wouldn’t be a party without all of you here,” said Lady Bacardi in her husband’s place. “It was so nice to see all of your faces. Greet Klaus for us too.”
“It really has been awhile since all of us assembled together,” said Zachariah. “We should do it more often.”
Lady Bacardi clapped her hands together. “That would be splendid,” she smiled. “Wouldn’t it, dear?” She turned over to her husband.
“No, let the pups go home already,” said Czar sternly.
Hailey chuckled softly. She really did find this pair quite sweet. They complimented each other perfectly.
“Well, we should get going,” said Isaiah. “Thank you, Czar and Lady Bacardi.”
They all were about to make their way to leave the manor, when suddenly, a foreboding surge of energy stopped all of them in their tracks.
From the side door that Zero had left from had been opened again. None of them were alarmed by the sudden intruder because it was none other than Zero herself. But her polished appearance from before had been wrecked. Her clothes were creased and dirt drenched the rim of her trench coat, which left a trail behind her. Zero’s hair was tousled like she raked her fingers through it. Her eyes that were dangerous even when they were calm, were now ablaze with a sudden predatory hunger, which Hailey recognized all too well from Hunter. And that look meant trouble.
Hailey knew just like the rest of them standing in the grand room, that Zero’s stained hands, which were burning a bright crimson were coated in blood. Blood that smelt of cold and brutal mortality; it was enough to send chills down Hailey’s back.
“Czar,” Zero’s reverberating voice alarmed all of them. “You want to tell me why your house is surrounded my mercenaries?”