My heart pounded against my chest, and I grasped the dagger tightly to my body even long after we had killed those rogues. Something was wrong. What were the Hounds doing down in the cave? Was that really what Jeremy wanted me to find? Could we defeat them all?
And… Mom. They had taken her body--her ripped up body--and brought her back to life.
It should’ve been absolutely impossible, but it wasn’t. I saw it with my very own eyes.
Ares dragged the Hound onto our property by the one arm he had left. The Hound tried so hard to move around in his hold, but couldn’t. A trail of his blood followed us. We needed to figure this out before they could come attack us again. Because an attack with a pack of Hounds that big would surely destroy this entire pack. Ares was strong and he thurst for blood but his pack wasn’t thousands of zombie-like Hounds strong.
Marcel was finishing the first practice of the day for the warriors on the field. When he saw us, he waved everyone off. “Be back at three this afternoon.” Everyone departed from the field, except Charolette who sat on a small hill and watched him with a scowl on her face.
Ares continued for the prison, and I wanted to confront Charolette again… but I decided not to. This past week I had asked her about twenty times to have the surgery to put the stone in her back but she refused. Over and over and over and I was getting tired of hearing the word “No.”
If she didn’t want it, I couldn’t force her… but that didn’t mean Ares couldn’t.
Marcel walked up to her, jaw clenched, said a few words, then followed after us to the prison. The guards bowed their heads to me and opened the doors. I sighed to myself and followed Ares down the stairs.
Dad still sat in the cell, deciding not to even look at me this time. I tried to ignore him and followed Ares to the back. Ruffles followed me, brushing her fur against my calf. She waved her tail back and forth, staring at Ares as he locked a chain around the Hounds neck and then locked the cell he was in.
Marcel walked up behind me. “One arm?” Marcel said. “You do that, Roar?”
Ares growled at him for using a nickname on me and turned around to face him with that bloodthirsty look on his face. Since we left the cave, Ares had been on edge. I knew the smallest thing would set him off, so I stepped in front of him. “Ares, it’s not the time for this.”
After he calmed down just a bit, he clenched his jaw. “We have a problem,” Ares said.
Marcel leaned back against the stone wall and crossed his big arms over each other. “We have a lot of problems,” he said. He gazed down the hall and nodded to the cell Liam was sitting in. “Like when you’re finally going to let me kill him. Who will become the next beta. How you’ll convince Charolette to use the fucking stone. How we’re going to find Charolette’s father.”
Ares growled. “That Hound did nothing to father her.”
Ruffles brushed herself against my leg again, and I picked her back up, holding her to my chest. She meowed at Marcel and did her infamous look-him-up-and-down-then-look-away gaze. I took a deep breath. “The Hounds are growing their army. One dead wolf at a time.”
Marcel furrowed his brows. “What’re you talking about?”
“What is your damn problem, Marcel?” Charolette asked, hurrying down the stairs. Her gaze was fixed on Marcel, arms crossed over her chest, lips curled into a scowl. When she saw us gathered together, she looked at Ares. “You want to know what he said to me? He sai--”
Ares growled. “Charolette, the only thing I want to know is when you’re having your surgery.”
Charolette fumbled a bit, brows furrowed together, and stormed back up the stairs. I gazed after her, wanting to ask her the simple question as to why she didn’t want it done… but I couldn’t get myself to follow her. It was important for her to have the surgery, but it was even more important to protect this whole pack from an unavoidable war that could kill us all.
Ares sighed to himself, then nodded to the stairs. “Can you talk to her?”
Ruffles meowed for me in response, hopped off my shoulder, and walked up the stairs. I rolled my eyes at her more-dramatic-than-usual ass and followed after her. “You should call a meeting with the other alphas in the area. We need more than our pack!” I yelled down the stairs.
When I made it up to the ground, Ruffles and I followed after a hurried Charolette. “Hey! Wait up.”
She turned around and frowned. “Please don’t try to convince me too. I’ve made up my mind, and just need someone to support my decision.”
We caught up with her, and Ruffles looked up at her, meowing. “Stop it,” I said down to her. “Why are you against it?” I asked. “I’ve talked to Elijah and his doctor. He’s willing to do it. They want to help you get better.”
“Why don’t you use the stone to shift more easily?” she asked. “I don’t need it. It won’t even help me.”
“It might help you,” I said, desperately trying to convince her. “You might be able grow older with Marcel and have pups and--”
She made a gagging sound and scrunched her nose. “Marcel? Are you serious? I would never date him. He’s a man-whore, fucks anything with a freaking pulse.” She gazed at her feet and clenched her jaw. “It’s not like he wants me anyway.”
I snatched her wrist and made her stop. “I know you two are mates.”
Her eyes widened, and she turned around, brow raised. “Did he tell you that? He’s such a--”
“No,” I said. “He didn’t tell me anything. I just know.”
She got quiet all of a sudden, then looked down at her feet again. “We’re never going to be together, so it doesn’t even matter.” She waved it off as if it was nothing, even though I could see the desperation in her eyes and hear it in her voice. She wanted there to be more, and I knew there could be.
After another moment of silence, she grabbed my hand and intertwined our fingers. “Soooo… the Luna Ceremony is soon!” she said, changing the subject. “Are you excited to officially become our Luna?” She jumped up and down and squealed. “I cannot wait for it! We have to go dress shopping! I’ve already had this day planned for Ares’s mate since I was seven.”
“I don’t think you should get too excited,” I said. “I don’t know if we’ll be able to have it. We found Hounds today. Too many Hounds to take a break.”
We walked all the way through the forest until we came to her father’s house. “We will. Don’t you worry. Ares is going to want to properly introduce you as his Luna. Mom always dreamed of it. He won’t let her dream die.”
A/N Read the rest of this book on Patreon now :) Click "Support Me" in my bio!