There was no fucking way we could defeat them all. Hounds, rogues, demons, whatever the fuck they were… there were too many. At least, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to protect Aurora and Ruffles by myself. Not here. Not now.
I grabbed Aurora’s hand and threw Ruffles onto my shoulder. “We have to leave. Now.”
Aurora hesitated, just staring down into the hole, her claws digging into the dirt, strands of hair blowing into her face. The hole dropped off into a deeper cave. Lit with wooden torches, the cave must’ve had hundreds of pathways leading in and out of it.
And, in that cave, there must’ve been over a hundred of Hounds, sleeping in a pile underground. The stench of death drifted into my nose, and I recoiled. Something about them wasn’t right, and I didn’t want to stick around to find out.
Not until I had back-up.
They laid as if they had been set out, ten rows by thirteen. White orbs floating above each of their heads… or maybe those orbs were inside of them. I couldn’t tell from all the way up here.
I pulled Aurora to her feet, but she didn’t seem to want to move. Aurora’s lips trembled. “Mom,” she whispered. I slapped a hand over her mouth to muffle her cries. Among the wolves underground, her mother’s body--the woman I had made sure I killed--was lying in the center, her scent, similar to Aurora’s, was mixed with death.
Some of the Hounds looked to be sleeping, others looked dead altogether--their bones lying in a pile, flesh ripped.
There were other Hounds walking around down there around them, and I caught sight of the man I was meant to kill. Scars on his body, dragon tattoo etched into his skin, dead eyes that seemed to come alive when he saw me the other day. He walked around the sleeping Hounds, said a few words that I didn’t quite understand, and the orbs disappeared into the Hounds’ bodies.
The Hounds came alive, and my heart pounded in my chest. “Aurora, we have to go. We can’t stay here,” I said through the mindlink, so they wouldn’t hear us.
Aurora crouched behind the pile of dirt we had made and looked down. The Hounds stood, as if they were just sleeping and weren’t dead. But… most of them had wounds that were fatal. It didn’t make sense how they were alive.
“More,” the leader growled. “Make me more!”
The group of undead Hounds disappeared somewhere in the cave, and I grasped Aurora’s waist, curling her into me. The Hounds that had been too damaged to be healed from whatever type of sorcery that was laid in a pile of bones. The leader walked up to one in particular and brushed his fingers against the bones.
And that’s when I smelt it.
I didn’t have to see her to know those were her bones in the pile of caracasses. I knew it. Deep down, I knew it was her. And that Hound was gently caressing what he had destroyed, was trying to bring her back to torture me.
A growl ripped its way from my throat, and Aurora tensed. The Hound lifted his nose to the air and stared right up at me. Aurora grabbed my hand and pulled me to the exit of the cave, hurriedly sprinting through the woods.
She sprinted around the trees, weaving in and out, tracing our steps back to her mother’s packhouse. Hoping over roots, ducking under branches, Aurora ran faster than I had ever seen her run before.
The sound of paws hitting the ground followed after us, approaching quicker than I thought. “Aurora,” I said through the mindlink. Ares was itching to gain control, seconds away from turning around and killing this man right here and now. All I could feel was pure rage rushing through every one of my veins. “Aurora, can you shift?”
I closed my eyes for a brief moment, counting the steps. There had to be six. But, at least, it wasn’t the hundred that he had brought back to fucking life.
“No,” Aurora said. “I won’t be able to shift that quickly. They’d catch up to us.”
“Then, you have to run.” I grabbed Ruffles from my shoulder and placed her in Aurora’s arms. “No matter what you hear… don’t stop until you reach our pack. Prepare the warriors, if I’m not back ten minutes after you arrive.”
I shifted into my wolf, Ares breaking through my exterior, and turned on my heel, staring deep into the forest until I could see eyes piercing through the fog. Aurora grasped Ruffles tightly in her arms and defied everything I had just said.
She stopped beside me and stared at the Hounds with me. I growled at her, warning her off, but she didn’t listen. Instead, she pulled her silver dagger from her back pocket and held it in front of her. Ruffles jumped down between her legs, head low as if she was getting ready to attack. “No, we do this together.”
Though Mars wanted her to leave so she would be safe, Ares growled in pride. Our mate was a warrior. Our Luna was a protector. Our pack would be stronger than all the rest.
The Hounds came barrelling through the forest, all of their eyes locked on Aurora. It had taken me weeks to put it together but it was because of the stone in her back. They were attracted to it for some ungodly reason. I stood in front of her, taking the hit of the first three.
Yet their strength far exceeded their strength a week ago. Somehow… some way they had gotten stronger in a matter of days. They should’ve been hurting. They should’ve been weak. But, instead, they were deadly.
I cut through each one… and the ones that slipped behind me, I trusted Aurora to fend off. Amongst the crying and whimpering of the Hounds, I heard Ruffles hissing and scratching at their fur. My gaze travelled around the woods, waiting for more to show up. They did have all those warriors down there.
To my surprise, I couldn’t hear anyone.
But I felt the eyes of their leader. He was watching from somewhere, and my blood was boiling, the ache to kill him growing every second. Ares let out a threatening growl deep into the forest.
“Keep one alive,” Aurora said, standing over two dead Hounds. “We can use him.”
I dug my claws into the third Hound’s neck and killed him, then sunk my teeth into the fourth one’s arm, felt his bone’s break under my teeth, and ripped it right out of his body. The Hound fell to the ground, howling in pain. I shifted and snatched him by the neck, dragging him along.
Whatever these things were… they were getting stronger and more violent. We had to move quickly, if we wanted to survive because it was clear that the Hounds were raising an army… an army of the dead.
But one thing was certain: I’d be back to slaughter that man, even if it was the last breath I took.
A/N Sorry for the late update <3 Happy November!
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