Quinn was everything that I thought she would be. She was strong, she was feisty, she was smart, she was ethereal. I didn’t have many memories of her mother, I was only five when she was killed but I felt like I’d know her a long time because of all the stories my father had raised me on. Quinn seemed to be very similar to Claudia, in looks and in everything else.
When Mason had come back to Eastern Ridge to ask for help I didn’t hesitate to offer my services. While Clayton was still breathing, he was a threat to everything that we were and everything that we represented. It wouldn’t be long before my father stood down as Alpha and I took his place and I knew I would feel a lot more comfortable doing that with an enemy like Clayton destroyed.
I looked out the window of our vehicle, we had been driving twelve hours and were now well into the night. Jayce had gathered ten wolves from Fern Creek so this gave us eighteen fighters, including myself. I was happy with those numbers. From what we could gather, Clayton’s wolves weren’t skilled fighters like ours. They were savage and had no fear, but their skill would be limited.
We also had Quinn. I was excited to see her power. I had heard about her display in the training grounds the other day and I knew it was something I had to see with my own eyes. I knew a lot of wolves didn’t like the idea of her being a shifter tribrid but I found it fascinating. I remembered my mother telling me bedtime stories when I was a kid about a magical being that could become anyone they wanted...Quinn reminded me of this.
Now that Quinn and Jayce were mated I couldn’t help but wonder about that extra power that would flow through him. His wolf would surely benefit from everything that Quinn’s bond had to offer. I also couldn’t help but wonder about future children that they might have, would they be shifter tribrids too?
“Thank you again for doing this” Mason spoke up from the back of the vehicle.
I snapped out of my train of thought and turned around to smile at him.
“No need to thank me. You are family, Quinn is family. Clayton needs to die and if I can be part of that then I will gladly serve where I can”
Mason had a sad look in his eyes. As much as he was trying to hide it I knew he was worried for his daughter. Mason knew how dangerous and cunning Clayton was. He also knew that Quinn wanted his blood, we all did, but she wanted it more than anyone.
“We’ll protect her with our lives” I assured him.
“I know you will. I should have been doing that for the last twenty years but instead I disappeared leaving her in the care of strangers”
“We’re not doing this”
“Excuse me?” Mason asked.
“This” I answered, waving my hand around, “you feeling guilty and sorry for yourself. You’re here now and I can guarantee you that Quinn isn’t holding any animosity towards you. You thought she was dead, end of story”
Mason nodded and I turned back around. Even though it was night, the sky was bright. Tomorrow would be a full moon, it seemed only fitting.
Cameron had driven all night, we recently stopped to fill up with petrol and I took over as the driver to allow Cameron some much needed sleep. I knew he was stressed. Beth had been very vocal about not wanting him to go and I understood where she was coming from but as my Beta, it was Cameron’s duty to fight alongside me. There was also no way Cameron would allow me to go into a fight without him by my side, from school yard punch ons to life and death brawls...Cameron was always there.
I drove ahead, the forest had started to become more dense and houses more sparse; I knew we would be hitting Orcann territory soon. Once we were closer to the boundary, that was peppered with lookouts, we would ditch the vehicles and go out on foot.
Mason had come through with the goods and it wasn’t just the three fighters he’d recruited from Eastern Ridge. Mason called me whilst he was away and told me he had enlisted the help of a mage that was knowledgeable in masking scents of shifters. Apparently this mage’s mother had been the one that disguised Claudia’s scent and had helped keep her identity secret for so long. This was a game changer, it meant that we could virtually sneak up on The Orcann Pack without them smelling us coming.
I’d kept this information to myself until we’d hit the road. With everything that happened the last few days something had been weighing on my mind, I felt that we had a traitor in our midst. It seemed that my father and Mason agreed, so we’d decided to keep the details of our plan hidden until we at least started on our travels.
“So all my father has to do is make a phone call to this mage and they will mask our scent?” Quinn asked, trying to get her head around what was happening.
“Yep. Then we can take out the lookouts, undetected, and move in on the compound”
“Wouldn’t the mage have to be in a certain proximity to us do cast a spell? Why don’t they just travel with us?”
I shrugged my shoulders, keeping my eyes on the road and the forest around us.
“A lot of these magic folk don’t really like their identity known, I guess, but your father vouches for them, so that’s good enough for me”
I glanced out the corner of my eye at Quinn, she was fidgeting with her fingers; she only did this when there was something on her mind.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“Who do you think the traitor is?”
“I’m not sure. I’m not even one hundred percent certain there is one, it’s just a feeling” I answered.
I had no solid proof that we had someone in our pack working against us but there were too many things that had gone down to suggest otherwise. For starters, the wolves that attacked the compound knew exactly where to find Quinn and they knew the back way to the pack house. They had managed to get to her without being detected, that was something that I just couldn’t understand...unless someone on the inside had helped.
“Do you think maybe it was Brad?” Quinn asked.
“It had crossed my mind but he clearly tried to stop that red headed wolf getting to you. He was a self obsessed prick but he was a loyal one, I couldn’t see him double crossing me for Clayton”
“He hated me though”
“He hated that you were different, that you were stronger than him. Given time he would have accepted you as Luna just like everyone else”
I reached across and placed my hand on Quinn’s knee, feeling her body relax under my touch.
“If there is a traitor then we will find out who it is and deal with them appropriately”
“And by appropriately you mean rip their head off?” Cameron piped up from the back of the car.
I laughed and threw a bottle of water behind me.
“You’re meant to be sleeping. There’ll be no tired wolves tonight”
Cameron snorted and closed his eyes again. We just needed to make the most out of this calm before the storm.
“Oh Quinn, it’s beautiful!” I trilled as I lifted the delicate chain and pendant from the gift box.
The pendant was a small emerald surrounded with little silver leaves. It was perfect.
“It’s your birthstone” Quinn gushed as she took the necklace off me.
I lifted my hair and turned around so she could put it around my neck.
“You really shouldn’t have, it’s gorgeous”
Quinn and I got each other presents for every birthday, we had never missed one. Quinn had been my best friend since we were babies. Our mother’s met at playgroup and we had been inseparable ever since.
“It’s not every day your best friend turns thirteen. I thought because it’s a special birthday that I’d get you something special...well mum gave me the money, so I guess mum got you something special”
We both laughed.
“You’ve set the bar high now” I giggled, “and you don’t wear jewellery, you’re so hard to buy for!”
Quinn hugged me and shrugged her shoulders.
“You could get me anything and it would be special. I’m just so happy to have a friend like you...that’s enough for me”
“Best friends forever?” I asked.
“Best friends forever” Quinn affirmed.
My tongue darted across my lips as I felt the cool liquid wash over my mouth. I coughed, taking in too much water.
“Easy red, easy now” soothed a soft voice.
It came from a figure in front of me as they held the bottle up to my mouth. I tried to open my swollen eyes a little bit more to see who was there but all I could make out was shadows.
“We can’t have you dying from thirst before our visitors get here, can we?” The feminine voice spoke.
Visitors? She had to mean Quinn. I squirmed and moved my head away from the bottle, letting the water slosh over the floor. If Quinn was coming to rescue me she would be killed, that I knew for sure. Anyone or anything that could do this to another person was a psychopath. Clayton didn’t know me, he had no hate for me but he had shown absolutely no mercy with his treatment of me.
I’d been tortured, I’d been starved. I’d been frozen and burnt. Clayton had enjoyed every second of it. Just when I thought I couldn’t take any more and was going to die, he would inject me with something that would put me to sleep. When I would wake some of my injuries would have healed but some would be just as bad. I always stayed injured enough to not be able to escape, injured enough to not be able to fight back during my next torture session.
“Don’t worry, red, it will all be over soon” the voice came again.
I heard the door open on the other side of the room and the figure in front of me stood up, moving away.
“What are you doing in here? Clayton will lose his shit if he sees you helping her” the male voice called.
“What’s the point of her being dead when they get here? I was just giving her some water”
“They’ll never make it this far anyway, I don’t know why Clayton is keeping her alive. She has served her purpose”
I flinched at the male’s comment and watched as both figures disappeared, the door slamming behind them.
A sob escaped my mouth, my body tensed as the simple movement caused my whole being to hurt. I couldn’t believe that after so long running from Clayton and keeping herself alive, it would be me that inevitably led Quinn to her death. I slowly moved my hand up to my throat, wincing as pain tore through my shoulder. I fumbled around the base of my neck until my fingers grazed the dainty silver chain that decorated it.
“Best friends forever” I whispered.