The enemy camp we had been watching was still and silent. There was no movement that we could see from our lookout, but it was too dark to accurately account for our current situation.
My alpha and I had been watching this group of werewolves for the last week. We had discovered that there were two other lycans being held here. No doubt some of the last in existence.
They were separated, one tied up in a net secured high in a tree, the other trapped in chains and staked to the ground. They were both emaciated, starved and much too weak to ever be able to escape.
It was two male lycans, we didn't know the relationship between them, but they must have been together for a long time as they had already created their own way of communication through gestures. Luckily they remained within eyesight of each other even though they were a fair distance apart.
We had witnessed the cruelty dealt upon our brethren. One at a time they would be dragged out and beaten in front of the other, cut and sliced up. The werewolves would drink their blood, a secret they had discovered made them stronger for an extent of time.
It was infuriating that we could do nothing but watch as it happened time and time again. Hakota wanted to kill them all but we couldn't, not with just the two of us. We didn't know how strong the werewolves became comparably after consuming lycan blood. We were strong but we were still young. To take on twenty werewolves with heightened speed, strength and agility was a risk we couldn't afford to take.
If worse came to worst and we were forced to, then we would fight to the death but I desperately wanted to avoid such a scenario.
It wasn't just us we had to worry about. We had saved Frayah and Sani from being burned alive but Sani was very sick. Frayah told us the hunters had forced him to consume their venom for weeks, trying to use his pain and suffering to lure her out. When she could take it no longer she had tried to save her mate but failed.
We had saved them several months ago but Sani's body was utterly destroyed from the inside from the massive amounts of venom. Despite it, he continued to fight and none of us were willing to give up on him. Frayah couldn't afford to leave him, if his condition got worse Frayah's blood was necessary to keep him alive, at this point we all believed it was the only thing that would.
So she had to stay behind with her mate while Hakota and I plotted our next rescue mission. It had been two weeks we observed the werewolves, hatching a plan to save our fellow lycans. Tonight we would act, because we didn't think the two lycans would last much longer.
"We get the one in the chains out first," Hakota reminded me. "Remove the stake, and get him out of there. We can worry about removing the chains later. "When you come back for the second the net will snap the branches when we free him. They will come after you but I will get back over to you as fast as I can."
Our plan was sound but anything could go wrong. There were unpredictable variables we would no doubt encounter and our plan would probably have to change but for now we had to trust it would work in our favor.
Hakota would create a distraction on the other side of the camp, set a fire and gravely injure some werewolves. It would not only take one out but two as another werewolf would be forced to save their companion's life.
If they had loyalty and honor and cared about that sort of thing, which we could only hope for.
Well, neither of us wanted to think about that.
Hakota snuffed out our fire. We had been standing in the smoke for the last half hour, the scent of which would hide our own scents and blend with the fire Hakota planned on setting.
My alpha and I parted ways.
I crept through the camp, absolutely silent. It was vital that no one heard us now. Hakota needed time and I needed to get the first one out without any problem.
Much to my relief, the stake came out of the ground quite easily with my strength. The werewolves were too cocky, knowing that the weak lycans they captured stood no chance of escaping without help and after all, who would want to help a lycan?
They probably didn't even know there were others of us left and they certainly wouldn't know we were looking for the last of our kind.
The lycan watched me curiously as I approached. I held up a finger to my lips, silently telling him not to make a sound. When I finally got over to him I whispered, "I am a lycan, my alpha and I are here to help you."
The male pointed over to the net and I nodded, "Yes, him too."
I yanked the stake out of the ground, coiling up the chains quietly and handing them to the lycan to hold so they wouldn't make a lot of noise as I carried him out. I scooped up the lycan that was all skin and bones without a problem, making my way back through the camp and to our lookout point.
Setting him down gently I said, "Don't move and stay quiet. I will be back with your friend soon."
He grabbed my hand, and I turned back to see him make a gesture.
"I don't understand," I told him apologetically. In response he mouthed the words thank you. I smiled grimly, "Don't thank me yet. We aren't out of here yet."
The lycan's hand slipped away from my own. With a sad smile he gestured for me to go.
By the time I had reached the outskirts of the camp, Hakota's fire had already started. I cursed, "Too soon, Hakota."
Just as we suspected, werewolves came to check on the lycans as soon as the fire started and raised the alarm when they saw that one was missing.
Just like that, everything went to hell.
Shouts of alarm and warning about Hakota, a lycan infiltrating their camp, sounded as soon as the call to search the area for the missing prisoner was also raised.
Stealth was thrown out the window and I was forced make a mad dash for the second lycan, speed now my top priority.
"There's another one!" The werewolves called out as I was spotted. I cut through them, luckily only two here while the others had all left to deal with Hakota.
I started cutting at the thick rope, grateful for having taken a knife with me, suspecting it would be too thick to cut through with my claws. As soon as the rope snapped I positioned myself under the net to catch him and hightail it out of there.
The first part went well. I caught him.
The second part didn't happen. I was trapped.
Forced to set the lycan down, I readied myself to take on the werewolves that attacked me all at once. I fought tooth and claw, with everything I had, ready to give my life.
But my alpha wasn't ready for me to leave him alone in the world. Bloodied and wounded he tore the werewolves off me, utterly enraged. He was twice the powerful force I was, despite being more gravely injured than I.
It was the true power of the alpha I was seeing then. The absolute determination to protect his pack members turned him into something otherworldly.
But he couldn't go on for much longer with his gut sliced open. "Hakota take him!" I shouted above the havoc. "Take him and go, I will be right behind you!"
It was a lie. We wouldn't all be getting out of here alive. There were too many werewolves and I need to buy Hakota time to successfully get away and keep the others from chasing after him and leading them back to our hideout with the rest of our pack.
He was the alpha and it wasn't just him and I anymore. We had a pack now, no matter how small, and the pack needed their alpha. A beta could be replaced, but an alpha could not be.
"Hakota!" I bellowed out as he ignored me and kept fighting. "Take him and go! I will be right behind you."
He snarled at me but did as I instructed, hauling the netted lycan over his shoulder and creating his own exit through the circle of werewolves.
I attacked the ones that attempted to go after him first, ignoring the claws that raked into my turned back, shredded through my flesh and tendons.
I kept fighting, unleashing all of my rage and anger on the bastards who dared treat our kind like beaten pets. I killed them out of hate for their kind who'd slaughtered our entire race, who had killed my parents and my brothers, who had killed the family of my alpha and our original packs.
And I did not feel regret that I would die in that moment. Giving my life to save Hakota and two others. It didn't seem so bad, it was a loss I could take with my head held high.
Just when I was pinned to the ground, claws raised and ready to slash my throat, a beastly roar shook the forest. A huge wolf ripped into the werewolves, rabid and thirsty for blood.
My alpha had entered The Wild, pure instinct kicking in, pushing him to kill every threat.
And only once they were all eliminated, until every werewolf was slaughtered did he stop.
My alpha panted, half in exhaustion half in rage when he shifted back. He was covered in blood and gaping wounds but he didn't even seem to notice as he seethed down at me. "You fucking liar!" He bellowed. "You goddamn fucking liar!"
I closed my eyes and let out a breath.
He savagely kicked the corpse of a mutilated werewolf, "I didn't ask you to sacrifice yourself for me! What made you think you had the right to act noble?"
"Hakota," I croaked, "I couldn't let you die."
"So you didn't trust me?" He snarled. "You didn't trust me to protect you? I'm your alpha! I'm your brother! How dare you think I would just abandoned you and not help you. We are family Sitka," hot angry tears rolled down his face.
"I'm sorry," I said, unable to meet his eyes.
The alpha picked me up, still careful and gentle despite his anger towards me and livid words, "Don't you ever lie to me again, do you hear me?"
"Okay," I whispered hoarsely feeling horribly remorseful and guilty, "I won't do it ever again."
I had broken that promise though and Hakota wasn't going to forgive me so easily for a second time.
But I had to try and make him, unable to go on with this distrust and tension between us. I knew I had messed up, had broken a promise to him because of my lie, and he had the right to be upset, but it was unhealthy between a beta and alpha to have distrust between them.
I lifted my fist to knock on his door, telling myself that this time I wasn't going to let him just ignore me when I tried to talk. He could beat me until he forgave me but I needed him to forgive me.
"What are you doing here?" my alpha's growled voice came from behind me.
I twisted around to see him standing with his arms crossed and a dark expression on his face.
"Hakota," I breathed, "I..." the fury in his eyes was too much for me to stand and I had to looked down at my feet, "we need to talk," I mumbled.
"No," he didn't even pause in responding and my head snapped up.
"Hakota," I pleaded with him.
He tried to push me aside but I leapt in front of the door. His eyes narrowed and he growled, "Get out of my way Sitka."
"No," I said firmly. He was going to listen to me today. "Hakota, I was wrong," I started my apology, "I messed up and I broke a promise. It's just," I struggled to find words, "she's your daughter Hakota, and there was the Forest Kingdom and everything was such a big mess. I just wanted–"
Hakota grabbed my shoulder, stopping me. Meeting my eyes he said seriously, "Sitka, I cannot do this today with you. I can hardly look at you without wanting to hurt you."
"Then do it!" I told him. "Lune, Hakota, beat me unconscious if you need to."
His fists clenched at his sides. "Sitka," he warned tightly.
"Damnit Hakota! I'm sorry okay? I'm fucking sorry! I should have told you, I should have said something the moment you introduced me to Winter but she was mated. You had a peace deal with the Forest Kingdom because of them and I didn't want to return and mess it all up."
Squeezing the bridge of his nose, "Sitka," he gritted out my name, "Shut. Up." His eyes flashed open and pinned me, "I'm telling you now is not the time."
"Then when Hakota? It's been three weeks! Three weeks and I can't even get a hi out of you." I laughed bitterly, feeling tears escaping my eyes, "Two centuries just tossed into the garbage because I put my responsibility as beta over being honest with you?"
Hakota grabbed my neck and slammed me against the door, snarling in my face, "You put yourself over this pack!" He slammed me into the door again. "Stop using your position as beta as an excuse for your lies!" His expression was exactly as it had been all those decades ago when he made me swear to never lie again. "You didn't trust us Hakota. You didn't trust any of us to side with you and help you. You honestly believed we would tell you to sacrifice your mate for the good of the pack."
"Was my misconception so unreasonable?" I replied. "You thought to do the same with Cleo, and sacrifice your own mate for the safety of the pack."
It was a low blow but it was also the truth. A truth that got me punched in the face. "Fuck you, Sitka," he spat and let me go, abandoning the room and storming down the hall.
I collapsed against the door, my head thudding back on the wood. I slowly slid down to the floor, my head in my hands. "Damnit," I groaned, my left eye throbbing. "What is it going to take to get you to forgive me?"