Chapter One: Infiltration
“Everyone get down!” a voice bellowed. Instantly the sound of bodies hitting the ground echoed throughout the village. Grunts of pain escaping from those who resisted detainment. I dropped to my stomach, gravel embedding itself in my hands and knees.
“Stay down!” another deep voice boomed. I looked over to see one of the men in my pack trying to stand, but the warrior—who was clad in silver armor—pushed him back into the dirt.
We were being invaded by the King’s soldiers. Our pack was small, there was only twenty-two of us. We lived in a tiny village in the middle of a forest in Idaho. We had heard rumors of the King’s men infiltrating pack lands, but we never imagined it would happen to us.
“Send forward all of your women!” the first voice cried. I dared looked up and saw that he was easily the biggest man I had encountered in my entire life. He was as wide as two men put together and as tall as a tree. He was dressed head to toe in golden armour, identifying him as the leader of the soldiers.
“No!” a voice cried. I realised that it came from Mike, he wailed as his mate was sent up towards the Golden Man. I cringed at how heartbroken he sounded, why did they want the women?
“Don’t move,” a voice whispered in my ear. I sucked in a quick breath and looked beside me to see my older sister with her face buried in the dirt. She was the only family I had left. Rayne and I didn’t have parents; they were killed by the Black Luna pack years ago.
My father had been destroyed by a man by the name of Daryn Reynolds. My father had been Alpha and the small group of us was all that was left of the Silver Creek pack. A month later my mother died, she couldn’t survive long without her mate.
Rayne had to step up and take care of me, she was five years older than me and was not equipped to be a guardian at fifteen but she had no choice. Now, seven years later we were in danger again. I heard gravel crunching and flattened myself as much as I could against the ground.
The footsteps stopped and I felt my heart stop with them. Suddenly, my sister cried out in pain. I looked over to see that she had been lifted to her feet by her hair. She had cut all her hair off and now it was in a simple pixie cut that matched her face, so there wasn’t much to lift her with.
“Didn’t I say I wanted all of the women?” The man hissed at her. My sister glared at the man, not saying a word. He threw her at the feet of another soldier and ordered him to take her to the rest.
The man walked over to me and crouched down, “Sit up.” I did as was told; I knew resisting would get me into more trouble. The man growled and I immediately looked up at him, knowing that was what he wanted.
He looked at my face and suddenly froze. All of the colour drained from his cheeks and his eyes widened. “Jeremy! Jeremy get me the picture!” he screamed. A tall, lanky soldier ran over with a crumpled piece of paper in his hands. He handed it to the golden man and stepped back.
“What is your name?” the golden man asked.
“Serena,” I whimpered. The man cracked a smile and raised the crumpled piece of paper up to my face. I didn’t see what he was looking at as I was too afraid to look.
“I think we’ve got her men,” he yelled in victory. Instantly, cheers erupted all around and I was hoisted to my feet by two warriors. I was dragged, my bare feet skidded across the ground, I was sure the skin was being destroyed.
“What do you think Burkley?” The golden man asked. An old man appeared before me, he looked at the crumpled piece of paper and then at my face. His eyes widened as he stared at me.
“It can’t be—after all of this time?” He whispered. He reached forward to touch my cheek but I flinched and pulled away. He lowered his hand but continued to stare at me.
“Do you think it’s her?” the golden man urged.
Burkley suddenly grabbed my wrist and pushed up the long white sleeve. He gasped at what he saw and dropped my arm as if it were on fire. “It’s her.”
More cheers erupted and I was pulled over to a large chariot that was pulled by two large horses. All of the sudden, I was thrown into the back of the chariot that was really more like a cage.
“What about the other women sir?” A soldier asked the golden man. He looked at my face again and smiled crookedly.
“Let them go, we’ve got who we have been look for.” I watched as the woman of my pack were released, including my sister. As soon as their hold broke, Rayne ran towards me, screaming my name.
“RAYNE!” I screamed back, I banged against the bars that held me captive.
“That’s my sister!” She screamed at the golden man. The man sighed, looking annoyed.
“Back down girl, she belongs to another.”
My sister’s temper flared, “She belongs to no one, she is my sister not a possession!”
“This was predetermined before you were born; stand down if you value your life!” The golden man screamed. My sister held her ground in defiance. Alpha blood coursed through her veins, she was definitely not one to cower in fear. She was the type that would take death before throwing away her pride.
“You cannot take Serena as she is not yours to take. What kind of King’s men are you? Since when have the Royal family stolen women from their homes?”
My golden man snarled, “Take her away!” Two silver soldiers reached forward and grabbed my sister’s arms, restraining her.
“No! Serena I will come for you! I am going to get you back! Just wait for me! I will come!” And then they knocked her out. They laid her down on the ground and I watched silently as Margaret—our pack healer—ran forward and crouched beside her.
“Take care of her!” I screamed. The chariot lurched and I found myself moving. The old woman looked up at me and nodded, I knew she would.
I turned around in my seat and rested my head in my hands and weeped. I should have fought harder, but our pack was weak. We were starved by famine and had no strength. I always gave my food to the children, wanting them to grow up strong; it had only resulted in the slow deterioration of my own body.
“Don’t cry, this is going to the best thing that ever happened to you,” The golden man snapped. I hadn’t noticed he was riding with me until he had spoken. The other soldiers had shifted into their wolves and were running alongside us.
I glared at him, “You stole me away from my home, this is the worst day of my life.”
The golden man leaned forward, “You are going to be drowning in riches soon my dear, you will be the happiest femme wolf in the world, drenched in diamonds.”
I narrowed my eyes, “Riches are nothing without love.”
The man threw back his head and laughed, “You will have both. I assure you, in time.”
I leaned back in my seat and folded my hands in my lap. I didn’t want to talk to this wretched man; I wanted to go home to the only family I had ever known, my pack. I could only hope that Rayne would not live up to her promise. I didn’t want her to spend her life chasing after me, I wanted her to find her mate and have a wonderful life. She deserved it. But I knew she would come for me, she protected me above everything else, she would not leave me behind, she would not abandon me.
“Where are we going?” I asked.
The golden man smiled, “We’re going to the Palace.”
“The royal one?”
The man laughed, “Is there another?” I shut my mouth and looked out of the tiny caged window and we flew past trees. No one in the Were world knew the exact location of the Royal Palace. We just knew it was in the heart of our communities.
All around the world each country had their own Royal family in the Were world. And then there was one Royal family that ruled everyone, but no one had ever seen them. Below the Royal family came the blessed fighters. America’s blessed fighters were the White Wolves, or the Pura Lupus pack. Then came the Alphas.
“Why am I going to the Palace? Why did you take me?”
“Because you are his,” The golden man responded shortly. Instantly, my hand fell to the silver crescent moon that was embedded in my wrist. I was so pale that you couldn’t see it unless it flashed in the sunlight, but I was always aware of its presence.
My mother had been horrified that I wore the mark; she tried to scrub it from my skin when I was five. She tried everything, but it never left. We never spoke about it, she always insisted I wear long sleeve t-shirts or wide bangles. It was clear that the mark was a secret, I just didn’t know why.
I don’t know how long we rode for, hours, maybe days. Time seemed to blur together as I mulled over my memories of my past life. A part of me wondered if I was going to die, is that why they wanted me? To kill me? Was I a sacrifice for something?
The golden man said I belonged to somebody, is that what the mark meant on my wrist? Maybe I was being brought to the Palace to be a servant, it wouldn’t be so bad there. I was good at cooking and I had to do a lot of cleaning around the village so this wouldn’t be too big of a change for me.
The rode suddenly got bumpy and I swore as my teeth bit down on my tongue accidently. My eyes stung but I wasn’t sure if it was because I had hurt myself or because I was afraid—probably both.
“We’re close,” the golden man declared. I just nodded and looked out of the tiny window. Still, all I saw was dense forests. I sighed and brought my knees up to my chin. I didn’t care if my feet got the seats dirty, I didn’t care if I was in nothing but a flimsy dress, I just wanted to go home.
The road slowly got smoother until the ride was quick and effortlessly as if we were riding on a cloud. I slowly released my knees and let myself look out of the window. I looked out to see snow capped mountains, forests, lakes and finally a beautiful castle surrounded with a tall iron fence and trimmed hedges.
It was grand and lavish, sending waves of envy through me. Never had I seen a place more beautiful. I practically had my nose pressed up against the tiny window as we sped towards the front gates. The golden man laughed but let me gaze.
Finally, we came to a stop and were instantly surrounded by more wolves. They opened the chariot and pulled me out before patting down my body for any weapons. Once they deemed I was safe they chained my hands in front of me and held onto the chain like a leash.
I stumbled forward as we trudged towards the castle, my mind was buzzing at the sights. To my left was a huge waterfall about a mile away that was nestled just behind the line of trees that surrounded the forest. On my right was more mountains that seemed to enclose the area.
“Name,” demanded the guard at the front door. He was dressed in black armour and had a sour expression.
The golden man stepped forward, “Erik Goldstein of the first line, I am the commander in chief of the Royal Service.” The guard looked at the golden man and sniffed, identifying his scent to make sure he was telling the truth.
“Go ahead. Name.” I realised he was asking me and shifted my weight around.
“Serena Hope, of the uh—Silver Creek pack,” I said nervously. The guard sniffed the air and stiffened.
“Go ahead.” I moved and followed the golden man into the Palace.
“Don’t mind the guard, he smells everyone. He’s got the best nose of all werewolves, he stores smells to his memory, kind of like a guest book. He will always know who you are because of your scent.”
I nodded numbly, everything was a lot to process. “What now?”
“We get ready for the showcasing,” The golden man mumbled. I walked forward, my hands were still chained but that was the least of my worries.
“Is this really the Royal Palace?” I asked. Everywhere I looked everything was extravagant and lavish. I was afraid to breathe in case I might mess something up.
The golden man nodded, “Yes it is. Now, I’m afraid my journey with you is over Miss. Chambers. You will be handed off to Mr. Malack, he will be taking care of you from now on.”
I frowned as the golden man walked away, he was the only person I knew. Even though I hated him with a passion for ripping me away from my life, I felt comfort in his presence. “Excuse me? Miss?” I spun to see an older man staring at him, his silver eyes shone giving him a creepy look.
“Yes?” I asked. I realised that the chains that had been around my wrists had disappeared.
“Come with me, I am Mr. Malack.” I followed the old man, not knowing what else to do. I could have ran but I wouldn’t know where to go. I had no idea where I was, the guards would catch me, and I was too weak to manage much more than walking. I hadn’t eaten or slept the entire ride here.
“What is your name?” The man asked.
“Serena,” I replied.
The man clicked his tongue, “Pretty, very pretty.” He lead me into a room that was more like a studio. I walked in and took a seat on one of the plush armchairs. I felt bad because I was filthy and was probably ruining the fabric.
“Why am I here?” I asked.
The man gasped, “Has no one told you? You must be scared out of your mind!”
I nodded, “Am I here to be a sacrifice?”
The man laughed and shook his head, “No, no. My dear you are here to meet the Prince.”
I frowned, “The Prince? Have I done something noble?”
The man gave me a strange look. “A prophecy was made many years ago about the Prince’s mate being our saviour. Ever since then there had been a reward for whoever finds her first. That’s why Goldstein was out looking, he wants the reward. Why else would the leader of the Royal Service be out of combat?”
“So I am here because...?”
“Because Goldstein thinks you are the Prince’s mate, he thinks you are our saviour.”
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Hey everyone! So, this is story is a part of my "Wolves of the West" series. You can find the other stories on my profile!
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