Love Stained

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Chapter 37 - Calm Before The Storm

Jayce POV

Alpha! We’re under attack. The Witch! She’s—

Silence.

My heart surged forward in my chest as the agonising pain of a pack bond breaking tore through my body. I turned to Quinn, the same pain I was feeling also evident in her face. Luca was dead.
I fought through the pain and projected a link to my fighters.

Beta, make sure all elderly and children are in the safe house. Dominic, make sure anyone that can and is willing to fight is ready. Avoid the witch at all costs and if you can, try not to kill the possessed shifters; they are innocents in this fight too!

Quinn turned to me, pain in her eyes.

“This fight wasn’t meant to come to us. We were meant to take it to her, we waited too long”

I grabbed her hand, pressing her fingers to my lips.

“We couldn’t have gone any sooner Quinn. But you’re ready now, we’ve got this. We’ve got you”

Quinn nodded, the pain in her eyes changing to pure inhibited rage.

That’s my girl.


Quinn POV

We exited the cells, taking a moment to survey the carnage around us…except there wasn’t any carnage. There was nothing.
The only sound to be heard was the pack alarm that echoed trough the compound. I turned around and saw that Cassius, Jayce and Kyanite all had the same looks on their faces as me.

“Where is everyone?” Kyanite asked.

I sniffed the air in an attempt to pick up who our closest pack member was, but there was nothing…not even a faint scent to detect.

“I don’t understand” Cassius said, “there’s no one here”



The four of us stuck together as we canvassed the compound. Jayce reset the pack alarm which only made the scene in front of us even more surreal and eerie. The silence was deafening; the once upbeat and lively Fern Creek was now a ghost town.

As we reached the front gate the painful bond break that we’d felt earlier became a reality. Luca’s body lay in the dirt, his neck broken and his face contorted in an expression of sheer terror. The unshed tears that threatened to spill down my cheeks burnt my eyes.

“I’m so sorry Jayce” I whispered as he knelt down next to his fighter, gently closing the lids over his wide, blank eyes.

Jayce shook his head, giving Luca’s shoulder a squeeze.

“He died protecting his pack, the ultimate hero’s sacrifice. In time we will honour him. May his soul rest with the goddess”

“The gates are still locked” Kyanite commented.

I looked up and was surprised to see that he was right. No one had come or gone from the gate, the keys still securely affixed to Luca’s belt.

“I guess an all powerful witch doesn’t need a gate” Jayce muttered, “Cassius. Give me a hand to carry Luca to Moira’s clinic. We’ll bury him later”



Jayce and Cassius carried Luca into the small morgue attached to the clinic and I entered Moira’s office with Kyanite close by my side. There was a bowl of half eaten children’s cereal on her desk and a blue blanket draped over the chair. Kyan picked up the blanket and inhaled the scent.

“Mika” he grunted.

I gazed around the room, nothing was interrupted, nothing out of place. This was not a scene of a struggle but it was evident that Moira and the panther cub had left quickly; Mika halfway through his meal and Moira seemingly halfway through making a cup of tea, the kettle still hot.

“Where are they?” I muttered.

“Do you really have to ask? You know where they are. Magdalene has taken everyone. Maybe you could ask Brax how to find…oh wait! You can’t ask him anything because you killed him”

I glared at Kyanite. Did he really just say that?

“Don’t”

“Don’t what? You let your emotions get the better of you and you killed the only wolf that could have helped us. It’s not like he wasn’t already forthcoming with information”

I wanted to come back with something nasty, some hurtful snipe to put him back in his place but deep down inside I knew he was right. I took a deep breath and looked down at the clasp amulet on my wrist.

“If anything happens to any of those wolves…or that little boy—”

“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that. Quinn, if anything happens, it’s not your fault”

Kyan reached out to touch me but then stopped, his fingers hovering millimetres from my skin. I felt a small stab of disappointment in my heart as I watched him close his eyes, clenching his fist gently before lowering his hand again.

“Kyan, I—”

Suddenly a deafening crack sounded from outside the clinic and a bright flash of light beamed through the windows, it was as if Thor himself had sent a lightning bolt directly to us. The impact shook the building and I grabbed Kyan’s hand, partially out of shock and partially because my panther yearned so desperately for his touch.
Kyan looked down at me for a second before we both snapped out of it and ran to the front of the clinic.
We got outside at the same time that Jayce and Cassius emerged from the morgue.

“What the fuck was that?!” Jayce yelled.

A thick plume of dusty smoke hung in the air, I coughed as I fanned the air around my face.

“I can’t see anything” Kyanite hissed.

I heard Cassius growl, the sound sending shivers down my spine.

“What is it?” Jayce asked.

“Can’t you smell that? It’s Gretchen”

I raised my head, trying to inhale the scent even though the smoke burnt my nose and throat. Cassius was right. It started faint but as the dust began to settle the smell of Gretchen’s scent came through.

Without a second thought, Cassius ran in the direction of his sister’s scent. We all followed and I gasped as I caught sight of her body laying splayed out on the ground beside one of the cabins. Cassius skidded to his knees beside her and grabbed her hand.

“Is she—?”

“She’s still alive. Thank the goddess” he whispered.


Cassius POV

I carried Gretchen back inside the clinic and laid her down on one of the hospital style beds in the triage area. I could already sense her getting stronger and the cuts and grazes that were visible to me on her body began to knit and heal. It tore at my heart seeing my sister so fragile and vulnerable; I may be the Alpha in the family but sometimes I felt like she was tougher than all of us. Whoever did this would pay.

“Here. This might help”

I turned to Quinn as she passed me a glass of cold water. I nodded, taking the glass from her. I held the rim softly to Gretchen’s lips and tilted it slightly back until the water hit her mouth. There was no reaction and not wanting to cause her to choke, I lowered the cup from her mouth.

“Here. Let me”

Kyan suddenly snatched the glass from my hands and before I knew what he was doing he splashed the whole thing on to Gretchen’s face. I growled and Jayce grabbed him around the throat, pinning him against the wall. He was just about to punch him when I heard coughing and spluttering from behind us. Jayce released his hold on the panther and spun around to see Gretchen awake, wiping the water from her face.

“You’re welcome” Kyan muttered.

“Gretchen?” I whispered, dabbing her face with a small towel, “can you hear me?”

Gretchen groaned and opened her eyes to look at me.

“Yes I can fucking hear you. Can’t a girl get some sleep around here?”

Thank goddess she was ok. I smiled and squeezed her hand. I could see behind her eyes that the witty humour was just a facade, there was fear etched in her features regardless of how hard she tried to portray a brave face.
I felt everyone looking at us, no doubt eagerly awaiting my sister’s explanation of what had taken place.

“Gretch…? Do you remember what happened?” Jayce asked softly.

“Yes. Magdalene made sure I remembered everything. That’s part of her plan. You can’t deliver a message if you can’t remember what it is”

“A message?”

Gretchen nodded and winced as she sat herself up in the bed.

“One minute I was on my way to the clinic to help Moira with the panther cub…and the next I was in a dark cave or dungeon somewhere, shackled to a wall. Everyone was there. Cameron, Dominic, Moira, Matt…it was as if the whole of Fern Creek was suddenly chained up inside this dingy space”

I looked to Jayce. I could feel the rage boiling inside him, ready to bubble over at any second. I could understand his pain. He was Alpha and his whole pack, including his best friend and father, were being held captive, goddess knows where.

“It’s ok Jayce. We’ll get them back” Quinn soothed, lacing her fingers with his.

“No. You’ll get them back” Gretchen said, her eyes resting on Quinn.

“Excuse me?”

“The message that Magdalene gave me was to give to you. The shifter Queen. She demands that you, and only you, attend her lair. Jayce will receive his whole pack back…in exchange for his Luna”


Quinn POV

I listened to what Gretchen was saying and felt Jayce’s grip tighten on my hand. I could also sense the tension and unease radiating from Kyanite. Magdalene had this all planned, the witch was smart.

“That’s not an option” Kyanite said, finally breaking the silence in the room.

“I don’t see another option” Gretchen replied, “Jayce, if you saw what I saw…all your loved ones chained up like that…you would know that it’s the only way”

Kyanite growled, his eyes flashing black at the she-wolf.

“You’d like that wouldn’t you?” He sneered, “Quinn out of the way so you can swoop in and take your rightful place as Luna next to your beloved Jayce”

Jayce growled. I rubbed my thumb over the back of his hand.

Don’t bite. He’s just angry. This is not the time for you and Kyan to kill each other.

“Calm down kitty” Gretchen answered, rolling her eyes and swinging her legs over the side of the bed, “Just because your lover girl goes to see the witch on her own doesn’t mean she is going to die; have a little bit more faith in her than that”

My eyes drifted over to Kyan but he refused to look at me. He didn’t think I could do it, that much was clear. I couldn’t say I blamed him, I wasn’t sure if I could do it either. A little bit of faith and support wouldn’t have killed him though.
I cleared my throat and let go of Jayce’s hand, I needed a clear head to think this through and Jayce’s vice-like grip wasn’t helping.

“So, I jump through this portal when it appears and it takes me to Magdalene?”

Jayce went to open his mouth but I put my hand up to silence him.

“Yes” Gretchen answered, “the second you step through that portal all of the Fern Creek wolves will be teleported back here”

“How do we know this isn’t a trap? How do we know this portal doesn’t just take her straight to hell?” Asked Kyanite.

Gretchen shrugged.

“We don’t. But what choice do we have? Quinn is the queen of shifters; she wouldn’t be much of a Queen if she just let them all die, would she?”

My wolf growled. I wanted to punch the smug bitch in the face but as painfully annoying as she was, she was also right. There was no way I would ever choose myself over the wolves of Fern Creek, I just had to pray to the goddess that Magdalene would hold up her end of the bargain.

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