I glared at Brax through the gate and he met my glare with equal hostility.
Careful Quinn. Magdalene could be anywhere. Don’t let your guard down.
I acknowledged Jayce’s mind link but something told me that Brax was here on his own. His scent was cloaked but he hadn’t exactly snuck up on us and even though his scent was cloaked I could still smell a faint aroma…nervous sweat.
“Brax. Either tell me why you’re here or I open the gate and let Cameron at you. Your choice”
Brax crossed his arms over his chest and rolled his eyes.
“Tell your Beta piece of shit to fuck off. I’m here on my own, but if you think I’m going to tell you why I’m here…while I stand on the other side of these gates, unprotected, then you’ve got another thing coming”
“What makes you think you won’t need protection on this side of the gates?” Jayce growled.
“Do you want to hear what I have to say or not?”
I watched as Brax tapped his foot impatiently. He was on edge, something had him nervous and I knew it wasn’t our pissed off Beta.
Jayce. We need to bring him in. If he has something to tell us about Magdalene then we need to hear it; if not, then we can use him as a way to get to her anyway.
“Turn around and get on your knees. Hands behind you back”
Brax looked at me and scoffed.
“Yeah. Not a fucking chance love”
I cocked my head to the side and raised my eyebrow.
“As your Queen, I order you to turn around, get on you knees and put your hands behind your back”
Brax’s eyes narrowed and his jaw clenched. A nice big thick vein protruded from his forehead as he fought against my order; but it was no use. With a frustrated growl the wolf did as I said and I nodded for Luca to open the gates.
Just as I was about to head through the gates, Kyanite placed his hand on my shoulder, stopping me.
“Wait” he muttered, sniffing the air.
I copied his action and raised my head to the sky, breathing in the air around me. Then I picked it up, a faint, sweet scent.
“Panther?” I asked, looking at Kyan.
He nodded and headed out the gates.
Kyan. It could be a trap. I linked.
I don’t care.
I followed him out and linked the rest of the pack, telling them to stay put. I could tell Jayce didn’t like the idea but it was non negotiable.
As soon as we stepped out of the compound the smell of panther became even stronger but there was something different about it. It was sweeter than Kyan’s but was also mixed with the smell of fear.
Kyan growled under his breath as he approached Brax, he knelt down in front of him, eyes flashing black.
“Where is he?” He asked between clenched teeth.
My eyes darted between the two. What the hell was Kyanite talking about? Brax tried to move his hands from behind his back but the power of my command proved too strong for him to fight. Instead he nodded towards the forest ahead. Kyanite turned on his heel and stormed towards the trees, leaving me standing confused next to the kneeling wolf.
I wanted to sprint into the trees but on the off chance this was a trap I kept my composure and instead, walked with purpose.
I’d known the scent the second it invaded my senses, it had been my driving force behind this whole mission. As I neared the perimeter I scanned the trees, finally a flicker of movement catching my eyes. I knelt down on one knee and stared ahead.
“It’s ok Mika, you can come out. You’re safe now”
The trees rustled again and I broke out into a massive grin as the small, dark haired boy emerged from behind them. His green eyes glistened as he saw me, relief and recognition passing across his face.
“Prince Kyan!” He cried and ran towards me.
I scooped the cub up into my arms, burying my nose into his neck, making sure he was healthy and unharmed. Satisfied that he was ok, I pulled him back slightly and looked into his eyes.
“Hey there kiddo. Where’s your mum at?” I asked.
Mika looked down, his bottom lip quivering.
“Now, now” I reassured, “Panther men don’t cry. You’re tough, a Panthera Panther. Where’s mum?”
“She’s been possessed by Magdalene”
I growled and turned around as the wolf kneeling on the ground answered me.
“Give me one good reason I shouldn’t just kill you right now” I said between clenched teeth.
“I can give you two. I brought you the kid before he could be harmed and I have information imperative to your cause. Kill me and you’ll only have one of them”
Quinn nodded to two of her wolves and they came through the gates, one grabbing an arm each of Brax’s and pulling him to his feet.
“Take him to the cells” Jayce grunted, “let’s see what this piece of shit has to say”
I sat on a chair in the Fern Creek cells, legs splayed and elbows resting on my thighs. I stared at the wolf chained to the wall, studying his features, looking for any indication that what he just told us had been a lie - a tactful ruse to distract us from an impending attack.
“So you’re saying she played you?” Cassius asked, pacing the length of the cell, hand running through his blonde hair.
“Like a fucking puppet” Brax shook his head and let out a frustrated laugh, “like I said, I wanted revenge for Beth. The plan was to attack Fern Creek, kill the Alpha, Luna and Beta, challenge the next Alpha in line…win…then run this pack the way it should be run”
I snorted, earning a savage glare from the chained up wolf.
“This pack would never follow you” I sneered, “you have no idea what you’re talking about. That witch brain washed you good and proper”
“Jayce is one of the most just and compassionate Alphas in the region” Quinn added, “you’ll not find a wolf here that would say any different. Yes, he’s ruthless but what good Alpha isn’t? Beth got what she deserved…I know you loved her, but she was a traitor. It’s pack law and very black and white”
Brax narrowed his eyes at Quinn.
“Say what you want, tribrid. It doesn’t matter now anyway, does it? Magdalene has her own plan which includes either killing or controlling you all”
“So she can wipe out humanity” I added.
What a fucking moron. Magdalene had played him alright. How could he possibly think that a powerful witch would want to help him get revenge for a dead girlfriend and not have an ulterior motive?
“You expect us to believe that you didn’t know about the whole ‘death to all humans’ aspect of the plan?” Kyanite asked.
He lent against the cell door, arms crossed over his chest. He’d just returned from dropping the panther cub off and Moira’s so she could check him over and get him some food and clean clothes.
“You might think I’m an arsehole but I’m no monster. I’m not into killing innocents. Regardless of the species”
I rolled my eyes and sat back in my chair.
“So that’s why you were part of Clayton’s pack…because you’re a good guy? Come off it Brax. His plan was almost as disgusting as Magdalene’s”
“And that’s why I wanted out of the Orcann Pack as soon as it was safe for Beth and I. None of us wolves were privy to Clayton’s plan. You can believe it or not. I don’t give a fucking shit”
I wanted to believe him, something inside me told me he was telling the truth but he was yet to offer us anything we didn’t know. It was like he had come here in an effort to clear his name, as if we were going to offer him some kind of mercy. After all, Brax had wanted to kill me, Quinn and Cameron…no biggy really.
“What about all the innocent shifters that have already died because of this disgusting plan you and the witch conjured up? The Alpha of Kylo being one of them” Quinn snapped as she stood next to me.
Brax refused to look at her, refused to humour her with an answer. Disrespectful piece of shit.
“Don’t worry babe” I muttered, taking her hand in my own and looking Brax up and down, “there’s a special place in hell for wolves like him”
Brax laughed and I shot him a look.
“Something funny fuck face?”
“Apparently I’m not the only one in this room with a special place in hell…” he snickered, a smug look on his face.
“What is that suppose to mean?”
Brax shrugged and lifted his wrists, rattling the chains that held them.
“Unchain me and I’ll tell—”
Before Brax could even get the last word out I was on my feet, my hand around his throat and his head hitting the brick wall with a sickening crack. I was sick of his blasé and disrespectful attitude. If there was more to his story he needed to hurry up and tell us before I completely lost my temper and ripped his head off. It wouldn’t have been the first time I’d beheaded someone during an interrogation and I knew it wouldn’t be the last.
“You are not in the position to compromise” I growled, “you had better get talking before I get bored”
I slammed Brax’s head back one more time for good measure and let go of his neck before returning to my chair. I grinned internally as he shook his head, no doubt trying to shake off the stars that were darting around in his vision.
“Your tribrid whore has a spot reserved in Hades’ army” he answered, spitting blood on the ground at his feet, “I overheard Magdalene with him this morning. That’s why I’m here”
I felt Quinn’s body tense next to me and it took everything I had to keep my composure. I took a deep breath and exhaled slowly.
“What exactly did you hear?”
“Hades came to pay Magdalene a special visit. It appears she made some kind of deal with him. He has given her extra power, his power, in exchange for her sending your mate to hell”
My stomach turned and the atmosphere in the room took on an uncomfortable shift. If what Brax was saying was true and Magdalene was working with Hades, then we were in some serious trouble. I knew Hades messed with things outside his realm to suit his own selfish needs, most wars were started because he whispered in someone’s ear. But that was all just to create meaningless bloodshed, bloodshed that would send a few sadistic souls his way.
But Quinn was good, she was pure. If she died there was no way her essence would go to hell…unless Hades had a witch to direct her that way.
“Hang on” Kyanite said. He pinched the bridge of his nose and came to stand next to Quinn. My wolf stirred but I bit my tongue and reigned him in.
“This fucking witch has the power of Hades running through her? So what?” Kyanite turned to Quinn, I thought he was going to take her hand but he didn’t, “I know your power. This doesn’t change anything. You can still defeat her”
“And what then?” Quinn asked, “How do we know this deal with Hades doesn’t mean I still go to hell even if I kill the witch? He isn’t stupid, there would have to be some sort of loop hole. He’s a God for fuck’s sake!”
Brax shook his head.
“No, he’s not stupid. Magdalene will conjure a portal, a direct passageway to the Underworld. If for whatever reason she doesn’t send you through it by a deadline then she takes your spot…she goes to hell instead”
“Ok. So all we have to do is make sure the witch is sent through this portal instead of Quinn. We send Quinn into hiding until this deadline passes” I looked to Brax, “when is the deadline?”
The wolf shrugged, not seeming to care in the slightest.
“I don’t fucking know. I’ve just served you all this information on a silver fucking platter. Figure the rest out yourselves. The only reason I told you is because I happen to like humans and don’t want them all wiped out. I couldn’t give a fuck if you all die though and definitely couldn’t give a fuck if the tribrid ends up in hell as Hades’ personal cum bucket”
This time I didn’t even need to get up, Quinn had Brax pinned against the wall in a millisecond, her nails digging into his throat.
“You think telling us this gets you what? A fucking medal? You’re a waste of space, a useless oxygen thief. Tell me why I shouldn’t just kill you now. Why I shouldn’t cut your fucking balls off and let you bleed to death in this cell”
Brax laughed, his eyes flashing with the hatred he had for Quinn.
“Your kitten’s got claws, Jayce. Here I was thinking she was just a pretty face. You surprise me tribrid”
Quinn leant forward, her lips hovering over the wolf’s ear. If it wasn’t for my heightened Alpha hearing I wouldn’t have been able to make out what she was whispering.
“I’m more ruthless and powerful than you will ever know. These looks, these pretty eyes and hair…it’s all just a facade to fool dumb men like you. Under the velvet glove is an iron fist and you will do well to remember that. I am your Queen, you will not disrespect me again”
Brax coughed as Quinn’s nails dug further into his throat.
“Fucking make me bitch” he growled.
And with that Quinn’s nails dug deeper into the wolf’s flesh, his scream being cut short as she gripped his wind pipe and ripped it out of the hole she created. I stared at my Luna, blood coating her arms and a satisfied look on her face. The sounds of Brax drowning in his own blood filled the cell as he collapsed to the ground in a convulsing mess.
“Say hi to Hades for me” Quinn muttered, her voice completely void of emotion.
I was that entranced in my mate that I didn’t even register to the sounds of the compound alarms as they sounded. Then a desperate voice came through the pack link-
Alpha! We’re under attack. The Witch! She’s—