Vibrations. That’s what I felt first, before hearing the wolves approaching our land. Hundreds had joined James’s cause and I could feel the air shift as we prepared for battle.
I make eye contact with James as soon as he makes his appearance ahead of the crowd.
As soon as I do, I hear a strong intake of breath and turn to see my aunt Sonja look like she's seen a ghost.
"You" I hear her state barely above a whisper.
I look between them and notice James smirking.
"What's going on?" I yell, noticing James moving his head towards me and finally acknowledging my presence.
"Your aunt just realized who I am" he tells me sinisterly.
I turn to my aunt to ask her who he is, before James interrupts.
"I was your mother's mate Kyda. Me! Before the Moon Goddess decided to fuck over my life and take her away from me and hand her over to your father."
Before I could process what he states, Sonja responds, "You abused her! The Moon Goddess wasn't cruel to you - you were! You were handed a gift of a mate and you almost killed her spirit. It was only right she be given a second chance while yours was taken away. We all knew James. I remember now, seeing my sister come home bruised, but knowing that breaking the bond would be just as hurtful. We prayed to the Moon Goddess for answers, and she provided."
"I was lost without her! The Goddess had no right!" He screams back, but as soon as I register their exchange and realize James isn't denying the abuse, I spring into action.
I shift into my wolf and charge, while all the others follow my lead and begin the war. I lift to bite James, but he's quick, taunting me. The rest of the neighboring packs and our own are keeping the others busy, freeing up my focus to be left solely on James.
"Half-truths seem to be your play James. You left out that tidbit when you accused our Goddess of being evil"
I swipe a paw at his face, making contact and watching the blood ooze from the skin before he growls and tries to snap my hand. I pull away just in time, snarling at him as I circle him.
I feel him prickling at the thoughts in my head and I'm tempted to let him in when I see Max flicker through in my peripheral vision with Damien by his side.
I focus back on James, but hear a whimper that draws away my focus and notice one of his right-hand men have Sonja.
I attempt to run for her when I hear Max in my head "Babe. Trust me and Damien to protect our family. Focus on James. You're the only one that can kill him."
I turn to look back, but James has already left, charging at Max.
"I told you Kyda that I would show you what it feels like to be in my shoes. This is the last that you will see of your mate.
I push myself to run, but I know I'm too late. I see Damien getting pulled by one of James's men and realize Max is now left without protection. I hear the blood pumping into my body trying to push myself, not letting myself show weakness, but James reaches Max first.
A crowd of men surrounds him and Max, pushing Max to the ground as James pushes a paw on his chest, bringing his sharp teeth to Max's throat.
"Say goodbye Kyda"
As soon as his mouth opens, my world goes dark.
The fury that I feel burning within me is unlike anything I've ever felt before. I notice I've closed my eyes and put every single one of my trainings with Athena into play, forcing my mind into James's. I charge through, breaking his mind walls and see him standing in the black abyss before my wolf howls, takes James by surprise, and bites sharply into his neck.
I hear a sharp howl of ear-splitting pain that forces me to shift to human and I open my eyes, realizing it's James's wolf whimpering.
"Shift!" I command him, reverberating the sentence in my mind as well, forcing James to shift to human.
I look around at his army, especially the men who have Max pushed to the ground and sigh in relief noticing that his neck is untouched.
"You've seen what I can do to your leader without touching him. If you don't step away from Max, I'll kill you before I even get close to you."
I see the wolves wearily looking at each other before the ones near him make the decision to shift into human. I look at the field before me and see some wolves still alive, curious, some dead.
"You've been lied to!" I yell out to them. "This man might have told you the Moon Goddess took away his mate, but did he tell you he was abusive to her? Did he tell you the full story?"
I notice some of the wolves hesitate. "Either you leave these grounds and be given a second chance at pack life, or you stay by his side and I kill you all one by one."
As soon as I finish, I hear a cry and realize my aunt is still bleeding. I turn to see Damien is now at her side and I give him a brief nod before I hear Max screaming, "Kyda!"
I turn, but am too late. I feel a swipe across my chest as one of James's men attacks me, leaving me exposed to James himself as he runs over to me. I'm losing too much blood, but I try to focus on the world around me.
I close my eyes again, sending a silent prayer to the Moon Goddess, "Please help me" I state barely above a whisper, before I imagine a bright light of power coming from me, pushing myself into the minds of all the wolves on the pack grounds. I hear howeling, crying, some screaming, wondering what's going on, but I'm too weak to focus on any one particular sound.
I focus my last thought on James and imagine myself in his mind again.
He's angry, limping, but walking towards me in his human body.
"You!" he screams as he charges towards me and while I can feel my physical body unable to move, I feel strong in my mind. As he approaches in our realm, I shift my hand into a claw and grasp at his neck, slicing through his throat, seeing the blood seep out of the cut.
He falls on his knees, a pool of blood forming on the ground.
"I will kill you before you touch my mate. I will kill you to avenge my mother, father, and my pack. And most importantly, I will kill you so you never lay a hand on another woman again."
I feel myself entering his weakened mind, and see a reel of images forming as if I'm looking into his past
I see my mother with him, recognizing her younger self, I see the suffering she faced at his hands. I feel his anger when his mate bond is broken by the Moon Goddess and feel his jealously when she's paired up with my father. The reel is moving quickly, I feel myself slipping away, but I hold on just a little bit longer to see my parents together again and looking at each other lovingly before the cold, dark, world, envelopes me, finally giving me peace.