No one leaves
Qinn's heavy breathing lapped at my hind legs as we pushed forward, the forest quiet only interrupted by the flash of lightening everyone now and again. Tonight was going to be completely horrible, I could feel it. The way my body tingled, and my fur stood on ends.
For a moment the thought crosses of whether my mate was okay, it's annoying to think that she'd use the opportunity to try and escape in the midst of all this choas. A part of me wished I had stayed and watched over her. Then I berated myself for ever thinking like that. I was Beta. Our Alpha wasn't home. It was my duty to protect our pack at all cost. Mate or no mate.
I could see our wolves holding the perimeter line leading to the first their of the pack. I howled alerting them of our arrival but leaped over the fencing without stopping.
Where are they?
A hundred yards out Beta
I got it.
The rain started adding to the ominous atmosphere around us, the smell of dried blood and dirt mixing in the air. We slipped to a stop, listening to the beat of the rain around us and the approaching feet of one, two, three four wolves and a pup. My claws dig into the soft dearth, stretching my paws as the cold rain pelts my coat, water sliding down my head into my eyes. It's a good thing we've got great vision in the dark or we'd be sitting ducks.
I'm going forward, Quinn says
But before I can react, two large wolves tackle him to the ground and another slam into me rolling us into the soaked dirt.
Dammit, they weren't hiding in the trees. They'd taken advantage of the thunder and rain.
It was hard to smell much in the heavy down pour on us. I snapped, digging my paws into the side of the wolf that had challenged me. His claws dig into my shoulder, while his teeth attempt to rip into my neck.
He's not particularly heavy or as large as I am but it's damn well trained. We roll, the damn thing pinned against me like a leech as I narrowly escape his claws to my neck. I slash at his lower abdomen, doing enough damage to injure but not kill, before throwing him off to the side. I watched as he shook the mud from his fur snarling, the smell of blood another addition of the events around us.
Lightening strikes a tree opposite to us, catching the old thing afire but even then our fighting continues. The wolf before me snarls threateningly, snapping every now and again as it steps closer still and I stand my ground. Quinn has his paws full with the other two, but there's still two more that's staring into the horizon of our pack. It's a woman. She stands further off, the pup hidden between her legs and I can smell the fear that's consumed it.
I make up my mind. If I trap her, more than likely the other three will back off. If however this asshole does decide to be a pain in the ass and she runs off, patrol will eat her whole and the pup. I haven't given them orders to let them through, they'll most likely treat her as a threat and will kill her. Pup and all. It sounds despicable, but we've seen worst situations. Rogues are wolves you don't want to have in your pack, or even worst, the ones who seem like rogues. That's how packs fall. From infiltration.
And I've got enough odds working with already to call it pretty damn even.
Sensing the turn of events, the wolf before me attacks and I hurl myself into battle both of us clawing, biting snarling as we roll around in the rain. Furs chip from our skin but we're doing as much damage we can. Hell knows I'm not backing down, I'll rather die. Another wolf comes and I snarl, only recognizing it as an ally when it bites down on the shoulder of the wolf pinned beneath me, his shrieking howl piercing the air.
Without hesitating I rush towards the female, the copper taste of the former wolf's blood in my mouth, a taste of almost victory. Skidding to stop, I bare my teeth circling her as she whimpers. She's injured I recognize. She's balancing on her front paws more dominant than her left hind leg. I can't see the pup but I can definitely smell him. When I snap at her, she physically whithers, lowering her head, wrapping her body around the child.
Then she does something completely insane.
The wolf shifts, the wolf pup now physically visible between her naked form. Water pelts her naked skin and her teeth chatters from the cold. She doesn't look me in the eye. It'd be crazy to do since we're already in a fight. But what she's done is already madness in every sense. Shifting in the heat of a fight is asking for certain death. We never do it, even when seriously injured. One, we might injure ourselves even worst attempting to shift, two, your enemy definitely take advantage of your vulnerability.
But that's not the reason she's done it.
"Please" She says between shivers. "Please don't kill us"
I huff, stepping closer circling her and she watched me beneath her lashes before lowering her head in submission, baring her neck.
"I know it was wrong to cross into your land but we need your help please!" She begs again. My head tilts analyzing her before turning towards the other fighting wolves. I won't call them off.
She gets my statement, moving to stand on shaking legs and I finally see the extent of her injuries. There's a large nash along tibia and that should make standing an almost impossible task much more running. And the worst of all, she isn't healing.
"Boys!" The woman called. "Please stop! Don't fight"
One snarls in protest and she clenched her first, waving it in the air while clutching the shaking pup at her feet.
"I said to stop! We're in their land" She covers her mouth falling to her feet sobbing. "Please don't let them kill us"
Moments later we've all shifted but still remain on the outskirts. The boys were two teenagers and an adolescent, with their mother and baby brother. Veron and Quinn stand apprehensively behind the small group their hands folded against their chest. We're all covered in dirt and grime and by Selene, the rain has yet to let up. The child snuggles closer into his mother's bosom, her hissing every now and again from her wounds.
My head turns from surveying the woman back to the boys, feeling a heated stare eminating from their direction, and a second later a slap rings out as the older boy slaps one of the younger across his head, hissing at him to quit glaring.
"Why are you here again?" I ask. "What happened to your pack? "
The woman swallows, Celia she said her name was.
"We were attacked it was horrible" Her voice trembled and her lip shivers as she looks at me. "Our Alpha is at the summit as well. They burnt our houses, killed our children" She broke into sobs once more hiccuping. "Violated our women"
"And what about your Beta? Where was he in all this?"
" He tried, everyone tried. When the emergency alarm sounded it was already too late. They had already infiltrated us"
Sounds like bullshit to me, Veron mind linked
Yes it could be a trap, but I doubt it, Quinn but in.
"How did you escape? If you were that overwhelmed?"
"Listen man" said the rowdy teenager. "If you wanna kill us, just kill us okay! Won't be much worst than what we've already been through"
"Shut your trap Collin!" Snapped his brother. "We didn't come all this way just to die. Mom is injured"
"Leroy got a car, that's how we got out" Spoke up the other teen after his brothers had bickered enough. "We were all in the latch our father had built underground when the attack started. Leroy found a car sometime after. Most of our pack were already dead or dying. We couldn't stay"
"We don't know what happened with our Beta or warriors. We just had to get out. But they found us just the same"
"Okay, I'm drawing a blank here with the "they" you people keep refferring vaguely to" Quinn says walking over to my side. "Who's they?"
" The hunters" Celia says.
Veron curses, running a hand through his wet hair. Lightening flashes across the sky once more illuminating the darkened forest reminding us we were still trapped outside. I glance at Quinn as he sticks my side with his elbow.
"Look man, we can't keep them out here" He points with his nose towards the chattering pup. "When everything's calm we can talk with them again. The pup won't make it if he stays like this".
I nod staring out into the open, a thousand thoughts flooding my mind.
" Take them to the pack house and put them in holding. Make sure a doctor attends to them. Especially the girl and pup"
I turn, shifting again the sounds of my bones cracking and realining the only interruption between the sound of thunder.
I watch them walk towards the perimeter, linking patrol of their arrival before hand. Tonight could have been worst, but the night was yet to be over. I sigh, sitting in the grass as I watch my men lead new refugees into our home.
What are the odds that Hunters have already taken down another pack? Was it our hunters? We're they spreading wider? Deciding to go around us? How did they know when they were at their weakest?
What are the chances that my mate is here and human?
That hunters attack is the same night she's found hurt and unconscious?
That hunters have attacked an outside pack across our borders?
That they just happened to find us instead of other packs?
My thoughts are cut short from the bombardment of question from Veron and Quinn. I guess they just realized I hadn't followed.
"What the hell man!" Shouted Quinn. "Aren't you coming?"
"No, I've got patrol tonight"
"Is that safe? Right now?"
"I'll talk to the pack in the morning. For right now, just keep the new group separate from the pack".
"We're not putting them with the humans? Veron asked surprised. Humans get a cabin but not these wolves?"
"The humans are less a danger to us than they are. They can shift humans can't. And they've asked for asylum. Initiation into the pack requires the Alpha's approval. Until then, they stay where we can reach them"
I track until I reach the east border, our patrol head stepping aside as I take my place.
"Everything's clear so far" He reports.
"Look alive boys" I mind link. "We're the last relief for the night and nothing should get through this border. Dead or alive"