Thorn (Werewolf)

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Chapter Forty-One

THORN

I slow down at the edge of the camp. Devon’s been quiet for a long time, apart from occasionally whimpering and groaning. Sometimes the transition tricks you into thinking that the pain is easing but it’s just warming up to the big finale. I can’t handle seeing her in pain anymore.

Sky is the first to run at us. She places her hand to Devon’s head and asks question after question as I carry her over to a quiet place in the corner. Half of the group is missing as they’re escorting the children safely to the caves. The remaining half are picking out weapons and playing around with the spyware.

“What’s wrong with her?” Kira says.

“She’s in transition.”

Everyone just stares blankly at me and then they carry on talking to each other. Empathy regarding transitioning isn’t something Devon will ever receive from werewolves.

I turn to Sky. “She needs the cure.”

“The cure won’t work,” she says. “It only works if you take it before the transition starts. I thought that you didn’t take it?”

“I didn’t,” I say. “She is transitioning instead of me. It’s a long story and we’ll explain it later.”

Devon pushes her head up and snarls. “The cure won’t work? It has to work. Let me try. Please.”

“What about the painkiller?” Balan says.

Sky nods.

Balan glances at me sadly. “There’s only one batch left. I was saving it for you.”

“Give it to her.”

Balan nods and runs towards her hut. I clock eyes with Lucias who is clutching a weapon to his chest. He is ready for this fight. There isn’t anything left of him except for grief and vengeance.

“Check these out,” Pal says. He lifts some binoculars to his eyes that flash green. “These are awesome.”

“They aren’t toys,” I growl. “And who the hell gave you a launcher?” I charge over and rip it from his lap.

“Come on, that’s the coolest weapon ever. I can blow that mountain to pieces right now.”

“And that is exactly why you’re not having it.” I pass it back to Kira who smirks at him.

“The humans are surrounding the mountain,” Nadia says. “We could do nothing. We could hide good enough to let them kill Cole and his pack.”

“I like that plan,” Pal says. “Why aren’t we doing that?”

“Because our parents and friends are up there!” Sky yells defensively.

Nadia twists her eyes coldly. “You’re one of them. Why should we care?”

“Because we’re better than that,” Kira says. She folds her arms awkwardly. “Not all of them are bad. We should help them.”

“Help them?” Lucias says.

Fuck. Here we go.

“They murdered Daria! I have no intention of helping them. I am going up there to help the humans kill every last one of them.”

I rub my head. “Lucias-”

“Fuck you, Thorn. We know everything. Balan told us everything. Your mate down there is one of them too.”

I glare at Balan as she carries the cup over to Devon. She shies away from my anger and turns her back to me. Devon pours the contents down her throat without hesitation.

“You mated with the curse breaker and you didn’t even give us the courtesy of offering a fucking opinion on it!” he shouts in my face.

“Keep your voice down. Humans still have ears.”

“I don’t care if they hear me. You’re the real threat to this pack.” He pushes his hands against my chest. My nostrils flare as my body twists back. “You’re weak. If you won’t kill her then I will.”

“It doesn’t work like that,” Kira says.

“Well he’s never going to do it, is he? So I may as well try.”

I don’t understand what his plan is here. Even if he managed to get past me—which is unlikely—he’d still have to get through the small army that’s gathering around Devon. It’s warming to know that my pack would protect her without hesitation. Knowing what they do and hardly even knowing her at all, they’d defy someone they’ve spent a century taking orders from to keep my mate safe.

“The curse is broken,” I say. “We’re free. Do us all a favour and disappear.”

“Liar.”

“Is it true?” Kira runs towards me. “It’s broken?”

I glance around and everyone has the same expression. This is what they’ve been waiting for. The words that they thought would never come. All except Maria, who seems to still be processing the information that I have a new mate.

“It’s true. There was a minor loophole. You have a choice. You can stay with me and fight or you can-”

Before I’ve even finished, Maria takes off through the trees. We all look after her, it doesn’t completely surprise me.

“Bitch,” Kira mutters.

“-leave.”

No one else chooses to leave. They clutch their weapons a little tighter and hold their heads a little higher.

“It’s going to be dangerous,” I say. “You’ve waited so long for your freedom. I won’t hold it against you.”

“Look around,” Pal says. “You’re our alpha. We stand with you.”

Lucias chuckles and I snap my eyes back to him. “I always knew that you’d grow a backbone and reclaim your position. I didn’t know that you were incredibly stupid though. The mountain pack are our enemy and they will die tonight.” He points his finger over my shoulder. “All of them.”

I throw my fist into Lucias’ nose. It cracks against my knuckles. He hits the floor instantly and blacks out. I gave Balan and Kira specific orders not to give Lucias the painkiller because I knew that something like this would happen. I didn’t think he’d go down so easily though.

“Tie him to something,” I say. “I don’t care what just keep him out of the way.”

I turn my back to him as three of the guys drag him away. Devon stands up when I approach her. I put my arm around her and I lead her away, much to Sky’s disapproval.

“Your sister is quite protective over you,” I say.

She hums softly. “She probably wants to guide me through this step by step.”

“How’s the pain?”

“It’s strange. I can still feel it happening but it’s just discomfort now. This fever is a bitch though.”

“It’s funny,” I say. “Werewolves have been obsessing over the cure for centuries but maybe this painkiller was the answer all along.”

“No,” she whispers, wrapping her hand around mine. I hiss as her claws accidentally scrape my arm. “Nothing beats having a full night with you.”

I smile at her meaning. “After tonight, we can get that cure and run far away from this place. We can be together every night.”

I turn her so that her back is against a tree and I lift her shirt over her head. Her body is deeply deformed but I find it alluring. I trail my finger up her hard stomach. I can feel her bones poking through. There are bones in places that bones shouldn’t be. Some are breaking while others are growing. I linger on her cracked ribcage, finally frowning at her chest.

“Cole took it,” she says, referring to the seal.

“I’ll get it back.”

“How much longer?”

I move my hands to the back of her neck and slowly graze down her curved spine. It’s piercing through her skin, growing bigger and bigger. I keep on going until I feel the extra bone growing out of her backside. She keeps her eyes on me the entire time. No fear or panic. Her trust in me is something else.

“Not long,” I say.

She nods and slides down to her knees. She thinks that this is going to be a horrific experience and I get that—I felt that way my first time. I was ten when I first transitioned and even though my wolf was small, I still screamed until I almost passed out. But once the wolf is out, it’s the best feeling in the world. I can’t describe it to her, she’ll have to experience it for herself.

I can’t wait to see it. To meet her. Even her claws are already powerful. I place my hand on her arm as she starts panting.

Her amber eyes flick up in panic. “There’s someone coming. I can hear them.”

“Get out of here, Sky,” I growl.

Sky continues to walk towards us. “I can help. You must be so scared.”

“I’m naked,” Devon shouts. “Go away.”

“I don’t care. We’ve all seen each other naked. There’s no judgment.”

“Thorn.”

“What do you want me to do? Throw her across the woods?”

Devon considers it for a moment and then her breathing starts to change. Her legs start trembling before they bulk to twice their size. I start moving backwards, giving her space to grow.

“She’s going to be magnificent,” Sky mutters.

“Are you still here?”

“Like I’d miss this. It’s a sister thing. She secretly wants me here.”

I don’t have the energy to argue with her. Devon no longer has skin, she’s now in the fur stage. She’s seconds away from completing the transition. I smile at her but she doesn’t see it. Her eyes are down, her human sounds are becoming blended with a mixture of small howls.

In the next moment, a fully-grown wolf stands tall above me. Sky clasps her hands and jumps excitedly. Devon is taking a moment to adjust, like we all did. The most frustrating thing—and the thing she’s discovering straight away—is the barrier between communication.

Her golden fur is the perfect blend of blonde and light grey. Sky was right, magnificent she is. Though I didn’t expect anything else. She’s not ready to move yet, to look at me. That’s okay. I circle around her slowly, ruffling my hands through her soft and delicate coat. She allows me touch her, her shoulders rolling back with a shiver. She is bigger than I imagined she’d be. Her wolf isn’t quite the same size as mine but even for an alpha’s mate she’s gloriously taller than the average. Her legs come up to my stomach.

I arrive back at her face and she lifts her head shyly. Her eyes—fucking hell, her eyes. They look right into my damn soul. They are the brightest of all amber. She falls back and sits, twisting her head at me curiously.

“You are the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.” I touch the side of her jaw and she rubs her face against my palm.

“Can I touch you?” Sky says, walking towards her sister courageously. Devon doesn’t reject it. She keeps her eyes on mine as Sky feels her fur. “I’ve never felt another wolf in my human form.”

“Neither have I,” I say.

Devon presses her nose into my throat and pushes me backwards. I laugh as she weights her paws against my chest and licks her tongue against my cheek. She lays down on top of me and I hold her tighter.

“I’ll go tell the others that you’ll be back soon?” Sky says sheepishly.

“Mm-hm.”

Finally, she leaves. All it took was an intimidate moment of happiness to get the teenager to scarper.

I rub my fingers against the back of her head. “I know that I’ll be wasting my breath if I told you to stay away from the mountain but can you please be careful? You’re the only werewolf in wolf form at the moment and humans are known to kill things that they fear.” She lifts herself up and stretches her paws over my shoulders, staring down at me. “I’ll get your parents out of there. But I need you to promise me that you’ll do everything I say. When you’re a wolf it can trick you into believing that you’re invincible but you’re not.”

She continues staring down at me. She might not be able to communicate with me but I understand that look.

“Devon,” I say. “Promise me.”

She bends her head and licks my cheek. I guess that’s her version of a promise. My human nose touches her cute little button one and I press my lips into the curve of hers. She kisses me back for a few seconds before she growls and snaps her fangs at my face. My heart accelerates. The sound she makes is like the wolf equivalent of laughter.

“Not funny,” I say, eyeing her playfully. “Don’t forget, I’m still stronger than you. Even in my human form.”

She leans back, offended by that and accepting of a challenge. She tries to prove me wrong and she bounces her paws back to my chest, trapping me beneath her wonderful and warm weight. I laugh against her. She rubs her head against mine.

“I could stay with you like this all night,” I whisper. “But we need to go back. One way or another, Cole’s reign of terror will end tonight.”

She jumps off me, nodding her head in agreement. I get to my feet, watching my weird and beautiful mate become fascinated with her tail that she tries to capture in her jaws. The spinning muddles her and she stumbles.

I really hope that she reconsiders her choice not to transition again because it’s such a shame to keep a wolf like hers hidden from the world. She deserves to be seen and admired. Alphas will drool over her. Their mates will envy her. Even humans would be amazed by her.

She is powerful. She is mythical. She is charming.

And after tonight, our lives will finally start.

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