“Yeah. I think it’s only fitting, right? Mum and Dads are Alphas of South Forest, we’ll be the Alphas of North Forest. It’s poetic.”
I stare at him for a minute before I realise that he’s serious. “Okay. So, who’s the Alpha for North Forest again?”
Ez pulls a face. “Peter Turner.”
“Turner…isn’t he the guy that got in trouble with the council for approving that forced marriage?”
“Yep,” Ez responds.
He opens one of the desk drawers and pulls out a stack of papers.
“Take a seat, this will be a while,” he says to me.
I pull up one of the chairs and lean across the desk. Ezekiel lays out the papers, showing complaint forms after complaint forms that have been filed to the council about Alpha Turner.
“He’s forty-one. He’s been Alpha for the last nineteen years, since his father died. He has a son, who is sixteen, his mate died about ten years ago.”
I pick up one of the forms and scan my eyes over it.
“He is infamous for encouraging beneficial matings, rather than true ones, chosen by the Moon Goddess. He believes that we have the power to choose our mate. He encourages his pack members to reject their true mate if the mating won’t be beneficial, and to find someone who will offer more success in life.”
“What a bastard.”
“It gets worse. He has no females as his subordinates or in his warrior force. The pack has tried to overthrow him twice without success. His only true follower is his son, who defends his father without question.”
“Okay, I don’t need to hear anymore. I’m in. I want him out.”
Ez grins. “Good. I told you that he is the best choice.”
Ezekiel and I have never wanted to inherit the territory off of our parents. We have always wanted to prove ourselves and earn our Alpha titles.
Plus, our parents are nowhere near retiring age. They still have another twenty years of leading this pack and my brother and I want to take over a pack the moment we finish school.
We only have a month left before exams. Two months and we’ve finished completely. We’re eighteen, we’re both itching to be Alphas. It might seem young to some shifters, but I’ve heard of people become Alphas at sixteen.
As long as you are strong, mature and have a level-head, you can succeed. Ez and I balance each other out. He’s the calm, collected thinker and I’m the rash, impulsive doer. We work as a team.
Once we’ve finalised our plan, we get our parents into the office and show it to them. They look over it, pointing out holes and making comments.
In the end, they agree that it is a good plan. They’re worried, of course, because a fight for Alpha status is usually a fight to the death. Most Alphas aren’t willing to hand over their pack.
Ez and I won’t take him on at the same time, it wouldn’t be fair. We will both fight him individually, and probably his Beta or Gamma. We have two months to train. Two months to be the best we can be. Two months until we get our own pack.
The day comes round a lot sooner than I anticipated. After we finished school in July, we visited the North Forest pack. Alpha Turner accepted our visit request, not realising what we were coming to tell him.
We got to see and talk to some of the people. We asked them if they were happy in the pack, how they’d feel about someone challenging their Alpha. At first, they were worried that Alpha Turner had set it up and was trying to trap them. We explained that the two of us were looking to challenge Alpha Turner. The reaction was incredible. They were excited and wished us luck.
We met with Alpha Turner in his office and told him that we were verbally challenging him for his position. Then, we signed the physical challenge contract in front of him. He laughed in our faces. He told us that two teenagers were not going to beat him, an adult.
We remained straight-faced and professional. It was difficult, especially when all I wanted to do was tear him to shreds, but I kept calm, for my twin’s sake. He wanted to fight both of us at the same time, arrogance getting the better of him. We refused and he agreed to fight us separately, one after the other.
A date was chosen. One week from that date. Today, in fact. Ezekiel and I are standing in the middle of the warrior training grounds. The entire pack has formed a crowd on every side, here to watch the event. Our family and friends are at the front, gripping each other’s hands and praying to the Moon Goddess.
Brock, the son of Alpha Peter wanted to fight us, but his father wouldn’t let him. He stands at the side, a furious look on his face. He’s only two years younger than us, but we won’t fight him, he looks too young.
He’s not very tall and is rather slim. A weak Alpha can sometimes breed weak offspring. His size can improve, but his attitude won’t. It’s clear on his face how much he hates us. He is not fit to lead, just like his father.
I will be taking on Alpha Peter first. He can kill me, but I cannot kill him. I have to let him tap out, so that he can go on to fight Ezekiel. Ezekiel will then fight the Beta, who can tap out. This will give Alpha Peter some time to recover. After that, Ezekiel will fight Alpha Peter to the death, and I will fight the Beta to the death.
We wouldn’t be doing this if we didn’t have the confidence we will win. Our parents wouldn’t let us do it if they didn’t have the confidence that we will win.
I look up at the sky and pray to the Moon Goddess to stay on our side. She knows the atrocities Alpha Peter has both committed and condoned. She knows that Ezekiel and I will be fair and just leaders. She knows that we are better suited for this pack and I trust her to watch over us today.
I’m up first. Alpha Peter enters the training area. Wearing nothing but a pair of shorts, he strides in confidently. I pull off my t-shirt and walk to the middle to shake his hand.
He spits at the ground by my feet. “Prepare to die, mutt,” he growls.
He could have thought of something more original, but okay.
The Beta calls for silence and orders Alpha Peter and I to stand opposite one another. We both take on a fighting stance. He blows a whistle, and it begins. Alpha Peter makes the first move. He swings his fist to hit me. I dodge it and give him one of my own to his ribs.
In fights like this, anything goes. Biting, eye-gouging, ball-grabbing, you name it. There are no rules. Alpha Peter plays dirty. He goes for my eyes and my neck with almost every attack. I fight him off and go for his head. I try to land as many blows to his head as possible to disorientate him and make him an easier opponent for Ezekiel.
He bites the top shell of my ear off with his teeth and I cry out in pain. He uses the moment of weakness to land a blow to my jaw, breaking it. The pain is excruciating, but I try and breathe through it. My ear will grow back in a few minutes and my jaw will heal.
I click the bone back into place and launch myself at him with renewed energy, letting my anger fuel my body. I attack him ruthlessly, landing punch after punch on his face.
He falls to the ground and I crush him with my weight, sitting on his chest so that he can’t breathe. I continue pummelling his face, until it is a mess of blood under my knuckles. Faintly, I feel the tapping of his fingers against my thigh.
With a deep exhale, I climb off of him. Alpha Peter gasps and coughs up blood onto the grass. My senses return and I realise that everyone in the crowd is cheering.
I won that round.
The Beta helps the Alpha stumble to the side-lines, where his son tends to him with the pack doctor. The Beta and Ezekiel are up next. I watch them fight, studying his moves to try and use them against him during my fight with him.
It’s not evenly matched. Ezekiel might not be as experienced as the Beta, but he is smarter. He uses his weight against him. He’s faster, and dodges all of his slow, messy punches. It doesn’t take more than ten minutes for the Beta to tap out.
Now, Ezekiel has to face Alpha Peter. My brother looks over at me and nods. He knows he has this. He’s watched him fight; he’s seen how many punches I’ve landed to his head.
Alpha Peter staggers onto the pitch, swaying slightly. He acts on the offense, not defence again, one of his main mistakes. He’s even more impulsive than me.
He stumbles forwards each time he goes for Ezekiel, who easily ducks and dives out of his way. Ez spins around and gets him from behind, kicking him in the back and knocking him to the floor.
He climbs onto his back and wraps his arm around his neck, getting him in a chokehold. Alpha Peter wriggles and tries to fight him off, but his face starts turning red and then blue.
He taps out on Ez’s arm, who falters for a moment. Ez should kill him, but I know he doesn’t want to. Neither of us have killed before. Instead, Ez releases his hold and lets him live. Alpha Peter gasps for breath and falls against the grass.
“You win,” the Beta growls.
He turns to me. “You, now.”
Ez goes to the side-lines, whilst Brock, the Alpha’s son, helps his dad to a chair. The whistle blows and the Beta and I start circling one another. He has learned from his Alpha’s mistakes. He’s not as impulsive. He waits for me to make the first move.
I watch him carefully. He’s putting more weight on his right leg, he’s injured his left one. I fake a hit to the right, he dodges left. I slam my foot against his thigh, kicking him right in his femur. It snaps under the pressure and he cries out in pain.
I swing around and land a roundhouse kick to his face, knocking him out completely. The crowd breaks into uproar, cheering so loudly that my ears ring. My brother comes to stand next to me. We’re both bloodied and bruised, but we’re Alphas now.