THE ALPHA NEXT DOOR

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Chapter 60

Atreus POV

‘I’m coming for you my love.’

Time changed in the proceeding minutes. My heartbeat stilled at the vivid sight of my mate bound on the sacrificial platform. Speeding up frantically thrashing in my chest.

There are few things that scare a man like me. Yet in this moment I knew that my biggest fear had been realized. My mate was in grave danger. She needs me. I will never forgive myself if I can’t get to her in time.

After all this time alone…

I just found her I cannot lose her now or ever.

It echoed over and over again in my thoughts; I cannot lose her now or ever. The lingering emotions almost suffocating.

She was strapped and bound in a chair. I could see the Paramount, her witch minion and other shades all surrounding Paloma. The burning desire for in their eyes. The crowd was rowdy and calling for blood.

The odor lusting for blood spewing out of these people. It was such a pungent evil scent.

How nobody caught onto such a massive group of evil and not suspect sooner? I will never know. Though they were in the pocket of the Paramount. I surmise that she was the cause of this.

The rot in this city is severely deep.

A thick stench of putrid air hit me as I drew closer. The crowd was swaying with the push and pull of it’s mass. A bustling hum of voices and chatter was coming from the throng. I caught sight of a few and was startled by the vacant look in their eyes.

...They appeared glazed over. Their pupils looked blown and unresponsive. Yet they pushed and shoved calling for blood in a frenzy.

The area was dark enough only lit by the distant streetlights. They had built this stage in an old park so the little light that was shinning was coming from the distant street. Though I could see the stage itself was lit by sconces of fire.

The need to hold her in my arms was never stronger as I franticly scanned the area to assess my way forward.

Men, what looked like foot soldiers were littered through the crowd. The base of the platforms was also surrounded by these turncoats. Many of whom were still wearing the Bellator Warrior uniform. They would pay for their treachery.

David ran up along side me. He was determined to prove himself. To take back control by seeking out those that caused his fathers death. He was one of many who had suffered because of the Paramount and if we didn’t collectively work together to take her down. Many more were going to suffer in the trail of destruction left in her wake.

I felt the strength of my backup when Charlie and my other warriors began to arrive one by one. It was a powerful moment of trust and brotherhood.

‘Son.’ My father mind-linked me I could feel the urgency in his voice. We were never like the traditional father and son. He practically abandoned mother and myself when I was just a pup. Taking the position as General to the Bellator warriors was too important.

He left my mother and me back in the pack so that I could one day inherit the position of Alpha. My grandfather, my mother’s father the then Alpha stayed in the position until I turned sixteen when he handed over the title to me. Well, you can imagine what that would do to a young boy.

Though we did spend time during summer and holidays the distance in our relationship only grew with time. My grandfather took on the role of a father figure and to this day I wouldn’t want it any different. My father was too dedicated to his position to put his mate and family first.

After becoming Alpha myself I understand that desire to protect and fight for the weaker of our kind. The dedication it takes to be put in a position of power. But the rift was there.

My parents remained bonded, but I could see how the distance and loneliness effected my mother. Especially as I watched her fade away year after year. In the end she became too weak, and a rouge took her life when she was out wandering. The devastation. The hurt. Consumed me until I found Tatianna. And then it happened all over again with her.

Is this history repeating itself? Am I destined to fail the women in my life?

Shoving my way through the crowd. My father’s voice chimes in my head again. ‘What do you want General?’

‘Border patrol just returned. They said the True Alpha has been acting a little strange. It looked like he caught scent of something and followed it into the forest. They are trailing him now.’ He paused for a moment, or maybe it was me. My mind blanking at the information.

‘I am not sure what significance this has to me right now. I am about to rescue my mate from the clutches of the Paramount. Someone you have been working under for how long? Why is it that?’ My rage was beginning to take over, my past grievances with my father bubbling to the surface.

‘I’m going to join my warrior’s and see what going on with the True Alpha. Goodluck son I hope you get your mate home safe.’ He said solemnly then cut me off. Sometimes I don’t know what goes through his head…

There was one thing my father was good for it was battle strategies, defense and war tactics. At least he had given the time to teach me this much… I could feel my chest contract the thud of my heart increase. The need to get to her, my woman.

Remaining in my massive wolf form, my men at my back. Paloma’s friends and some of my father’s warriors flanking me. I push through the crowd with ease. The audience is so drunk on the bloodlust and the evil power that’s creeping from the shades they barely register our presence.

It was all a blur after that, I began to ram my way through the horde. People dropping left right and center. They cheered for the scene on stage. I pummeled onwards, few had the strength or power to go up against me and most backed away until I got to the edge of the stage where a group of warriors stood against me.

I felt enraged with fury when I met the face of the warrior that stood blocking my way. I knew this warrior...

He was one of my father’s right-hand men. Always arrogant. Always behaving with a sense of superiority. Ignorant. Arrogant. But my father vouched for him and his great warrior abilities claiming he was loyal.

The thing was he was second born to an Alpha father. Naturally inheriting the strength of his father with all the power to become the Alpha of his pack. However, his brother was born into the role first. The reason he was here in this city and a part of the Bellator Warriors.

...Just like many others in the same position. The problem being that many were unsatisfied with the role they received. Vying for power rather than worth. They were born to lead and yet they had to spend their lives following others. A perfect pool for a poison to grow deep into their souls.

The venom in his expression was insidious. I could see excitement for the kill grow in his eyes.

I will take great satisfaction in showing him who was the real Alpha around here is. And why the first born is always the one left in command.

My deafening growl brought attention to the surrounding people, and they watched with a sick excitement for the battle that was about to take place.

There was never a chance for him as he shifted going straight for the jugular. I was more agile. Stronger. The impact was brutal as my jaws clamped down on his neck, blood spewed out from the wound while I ripped his windpipe out, painting me in a bright crimson red.

The enemy’s small band of warriors stood in shock for a second as they watched their leader drop to the floor. It gave me all that I needed. Shifting back to my human body. Fully clothed in the uniform of the Bellator warriors with sword and all. My claws and canines still extended.

Two young warriors frozen in shock were the closest.

Wasting no time I dashed across the spaces between us, slashing my claws across their faces blinding them instantaneously. They screamed out and dropped to their knees, crying out in agony while their faces flooded with blood.

The audience became a battlefield as we fought our way through the throng of people.

Another reared up and got into a battle stance pulling out his silver tipped sword. Swinging the heavy beast straight for my head. I dodged and kicked out my foot dropping him to the floor, causing him to fall face down in the dirt below my feet. His sword clanged on the ground after slipping through his fingers. I would be shaking my head if he was one of mine. The clumsiness was just unacceptable for a warrior, I shook my head in disgust as I kicked away his weapon.

“You picked the wrong side. Now pay the price.”

Slashing my own sword across his eyes. I won’t kill them. They will live and go to trial for the wrongs that they committed. Most appear to be young, probably bribed or forced into the position.

Another dozen young men who were dressed in warrior uniforms pressed their bodies up against the platform behind the downed men. I could smell the fear and terror that was coming from them it was such a sweet temptation to my wolf, he wanted blood. But I could see these were only young, they were no warriors, maybe trainees. They probably don’t even understand the seriousness of this situation.

“Alpha.” I turned to see Charlie standing behind me. Quinn, David and the group of Paloma’s friends all fighting through the mass of people.

“Go to your mate, I’ve got this.” He said, his eyes meeting my own. Giving him the nod, I pounded up the steps to the stage. None stopped me I was met with no barrier as I rushed forwards.

I saw Nathaniel approach her, as did that haggard old witch. The Paramount was cackling like a squealing pig, but I ignored her behavior. She was so caught up in herself looking over her body. Admiring the black markings that were etched into her skin.

A deep seated rage blasted forth when I realized they were an exact copy of Paloma’s though they were vastly different too. Black. Rotting. My claws dug into the palms of my hand, feeling the warm crimson liquid drip through my fingers.

The desire to end her now was overwhelming. I stepped closer to her. Stalking my prey but then was brought back to reality when the voice of Nathaniel rang out. “Now time for the sacrifice. I think they called for your heart.”

My head flipped to his position. Then the cries of anger that rang out from my mate made me come to my senses she was the person I was here for. The Paramount’s demise will have to wait.

My eyes scanned Nathaniels actions to see he held my mate in his grip, lifting her up in the air. I saw red, rage consumed me and my wolf as I rushed across the massive platform. Yet, before I could get to her, she stood there with his heart in her hand.

Pride filled me as a dashed to capture her in my arms. Not one person approached while I went to her aid. I could see the shock in her eyes as she looked down on Nathaniel. She was an innocent soul never taking anyone’s life before, there was relief but also distress filled her eyes.

“Paloma.” I said but she didn’t respond. My heart ached for her. I know she is going to feel conflicted about this. Your first kill is always the hardest.

“Love. I’m here. Your safe now.” I said and reached out to hold her in my hands.

However, in that moment a shock ran through me as my hands landed on nothing. I turned around to my horror everyone who was here moments ago replaced by a cackling old crone. That stood crocked and hooded in the corner.

“The Paramount sends her regards.” She sneered clicking her fingers, then the cadaverous bitch disappeared in a cloud of smoke. Leaving behind the revolting odor of rotting flesh. My stomach churned and my heart ached. I was crestfallen...

I cannot lose her now or ever...

I leapt straight from the stage shifting midair into my obsidian wolf landing into the awestricken audience. That were struggling with what they just witnessed.

I could feel my warriors shift and run with me.

‘Your father sent backup; they are locking down this venue.’

I take a quick glance back to see a flood of shifted wolves coming out of the crowd. Pride sparks within with the knowledge they have my back though a sense of dread is building fast.

I can’t lose her. She means too much to me. In only these short few weeks she holds my heart in her hands.

My claws extend with the thoughts of losing her and we shred everything that come in contact with them while I race through the city. I was frantic with panic.

Where would they take her?

Was any of what I just saw real?

In my heart I knew it was; that witch had somehow projected what was actually going on. I could feel her presence and there is no way that they could copy that. Her scent. Her fear. That earthshattering cry. I will never forget it. It cut a scar into my soul.

A panic ensues as I race through the city I don’t even know why but I am drawn to the outer walls I feel as though she is no longer within the city.

‘Son.’ My father calls out in the mind-link again.

‘The path the True Alpha lead us down was to the old sacrificial site. Just off the beaten track on the west end of the woods. I can see her, your mate...

They have her bound on stage. There up to something the witch is brewing at a cauldron. You need to get here, NOW.’ General Ignis my father summoned me. I was never more thankful for his obsessive desire to know everything. It had led him to the one place I needed to be. To my mate…

I know this city like the back of my hand. I spent enough time here during my youth when my father would call for a visit. Spending my evenings and nights roaming the streets learning all the paths alleyways that were unknown to many.

The outer wall towered up ahead. Darting through all obstacles and people I ran to a barracks that was used for training. Pushing myself harder and faster than I had ever done before. Through the court that would usually be filled with young recruits. The others piled in behind, to the exit few knew about. It was used to bring feral young trainees out of the city so they wouldn’t hurt themselves or others.

I cannot lose her now or ever...

We raced through the opening and out into the outskirt beyond the city walls. Onwards to the west side of the woods where I followed the trail until I rounded the old sacrificial site. Those minutes dragged feeling like hours as the ache to be with my mate grew stronger and stronger.

Paloma has long blocked her emotions to me. Though just before she did, I knew her reasoning. She didn’t want me to feel her pain. The only thing that’s keeping me going is that the bond is still there...

She’s still alive… Thank the Goddess.

This location is a far cry from the last. Deep in the archaic forest. Ancient trees towering above us. The tremors of the ground can be felt from the mass of people up ahead. If I thought the last group of the Paramount’s followers were crazed this lot win by miles.

Some people stumble out of the crowd, they hold a similar crazed look to the ones from the first site. Their eyes and faces bearing a feral quality. The pupils extended and dilated. Many covered in blood with the waft of death drifting in the air. It’s a sickening sight as they dance in the blood of others under the glow of the moon.

I scope out what lays ahead I can see the mirroring stage in the distance, though I can tell it has stood here for generations. Unlike the one I just left.

The Paramount is a cunning woman, having thought of every inevitability and set up that decoy. She stands on this other stage shouting out to the audience riling them up into another frenzied state.

It’s a mockery of the Goddess and all that she has gifted to us!

How can they not see, though I wonder is it that they are bewitched or brainwashed. The way the people are acting doesn’t appear normal to me.

Flames from the outer torches light the way.

Staying in my wolf form I weave through the crowd unnoticed. I can sense my father, his warriors and my own moving forwards too. We approach in a stealth formation. The stench of death and decay get more overpowering the closer we come to the sacrificial stage.

The moment my eyes clap on Paloma I feel a sickening in me. Am I too late. The Paramount has just order her witch to do something. The keening cry that Paloma lets out sends a shudder all over my body. It’s the most sorrowful cry I have ever heard.

A thunderous growl comes from the edge of the woods. It rattles through the ground like nothing I have ever heard before. I'm sure it’s in anger for what my mate just lost.

Racing through the people pushing through the ebb and flow. Knocking people over in my stead. Racing up the stone steps.

I see her now…

…She lays there on the floor. Her beautiful little body thrown down in the aftermath of the Paramount’s wickedness. Louise cackles in the background taking great joy from my mates pain.

Though I am still running I feel as though it is in slow motion.

Each step taking too long, each movement not fast enough. Bending down I pull her into my arms my heart breaks for her for us...

Tears well in my eyes as she smiles when her eyes catch a glimpse of my own. Relaxing into me. I hold her bridal style. Her body so weak she can no longer support even her head as it lulls to the side. Her arms and legs hanging loose.

“She’s gone…

Oriel…

She’s gone…” Paloma whispers out through a cracked breath. Then shuts her eyes, her breathing and heartrate reduced to almost nothing.

Frozen I hold her in my arms feeling the life leave her and roar out my pain.

Screams come from the crowd but I pay no head. Roars come from the stage yet I pay no heed. The Paramount screams and yet I don’t look away from her, my love...

Until something wet and slobbery lands on my head and a deep growl sounds above me.

Finally I look away and up.

There...

stands the colossal beast of the True Alpha. His fangs bared his eyes on the target.

We are his prey…




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